May 2008

David Troy

Twittervision got a lot of attention, sorta explained twitter. A way to show the world in a new way. Similarly flickrvision got a lot of attention. Shown in the museum of modern art. takes youtube videos and puts onto a flash player.

Twittervision local shows more local versions, also flickrvision local coming together.

Got me thinking a lot about all this data I’ve collected, what can I do with it? Photos and tweets in a particular area. Thought about a personal tricorder to see what’s around you, scan your local area. Frankly though it was a large amount of data it wasn’t large enough. Was thinking about what else out there could help this. Too may walled gardens of people approaching this, maybe there’s a way to link this? Came up with

Suppose you land in Chicago, as you’re taxiing you take out your cellphone to find out what’s happening in Chicago, are friends available, events, places you’ve been recommended to go? Only solution is to scour bunch of websites and you won’t be able to do it quick enough. You need to be able to just say “what’s up in Chicago”. Find your friends, find the bar, meet your friends, you can do all that on the way to the gate.

This is a really hard problem, I liken it to being in jail, you get one call, you need to find the information straight away. This is case where you don’t care about maps, you care about proximity.

Problem is there’s a huge amount of information. Google’s geosearch will return results based on a basic page ranking but we don’t know how that works. Maybe we need to do this based on your social graph. All this enhances quality of life, if you can take out mobile and get complete picture of your surroundings.

Maybe it’s not a business, maybe it’s a technology or a protocol. If twitter was invented in 1994 it would’ve been given a port number. So maybe this needs to be a technology or protocol. We need to look at this as not simply a business.

We’re announcing A lot of developers don’t get geo. Developers will give you many different approaches. We need to start a conversation on how to approach problems and agree on toolsets. Don’t want people to try to lock up data to become the facebook of LBS.

Need to think a lot about this, how do users interact with this. Make sure it’s simple unlike OpenID(?) More like Maker Faire, less like IETF.

Need to agree on goals. is a community to bridge geo community with the web. Psychology. Sometimes maps are not great. Location relationship is important. This is a hard problem that we need to iterate on.

“Wrestling with Angels!”

GeoHash, lat lon converted to hash that removes accuracy as you remove digits from the end.

Got lots of important people involved. Get on the google group and get involved. Location Services for Web Developers

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Dev Khare

We’ve heard a lot of good ideas over the last 2 days, there’s a lot of innovation going on in the geoweb, geomobile, geocar, geovoice. Very hot with the investor community today. Look at how existing business opportunities can give us an advantage, and other areas to invest in.

“Geo is Impacting Many Industries”
Tech, Auto, Logistics, Real Estate, Sports, Travel, Telecom, Media, Advertising, Retail

Consumers are paying for technology up front in Auto, in Retail.

These are some examples of the bigger picture.

“Many (New) Ways to Consume Geo”
Laptop, Mobile, PND, Ambient, On person, Marine, Outdoors, Paper

PNDs 30 million to be sold this year, up 30% from last year. Mentioning Dash, Garmin, Tom-Tom, reckons the latter two will announce connected device. Ambient is more bleeding edge. Chumby. All getting connected.

Jumping into the geoweb.
Big players, but smaller companies can succeed in these areas. Geobrowsers, in each of these layers there’s a number of these companies competing. What we look at is the key distribution deals that you can get with the bigger media players.
In terms of entrenched players, Yellow pages can be disrupted. Existing online ad networks can be disrupted, noone’s cracked location based ads. Location brokers. Google is a browser company in this world, with google earth.

Some of the business models apart from advertising: subscriptions, virtual worlds, commerce.

Geo-mobile, GPS chip prices have dropped which is interesting, down to $2 down from $100-200.

A lot of the infrastructure here is entrenched, looking at investing.

30m cars in the US that are not connected, looking at digital cars/geocar a lot. People spend 60 hours in the car each month, more than TV. 70% of radio is listened to in the car. $27B consumer electronics is car. When was the last media company for the car created? Last thing would really be satellite radio. Telematics, voice based services serving the car, can be disrupted by automated voice recognition. People are paying, drivers are paying. Often subsumed into price of the car so consumers don’t feel the pain. Location based advertising is big with the car as you can deliver the person to the door.

GeoVoice – directory assistance is local search in different words. These are all cash cows or telecoms companies and they’re not changing fast enough.

Emerging markets – mobile and voice are growing in Africa, South America, India, China, Middle east. Opportunities are map building, POI databases. People pay in multiple ways, premium SMS, trading “minutes”.

Slide showing many companies being funded/purchased.

Every company in the world needs maps and don’t get the attention that everyone else gets.

Emerging Opportunities on the GeoWeb

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Chris Spurgeon

I’m not a professional historian but I’m a science history junkie. Come back time and time again to the geo-scientists who are unique to this great mix, politics, maths, navigation, others…

Will be talking about 3 hacks that are particularly cool.

Hack #1. Squaring the circle – Gerald de Cremere – changed his name to Gerardus Mercator.
He was an extraordinary artist, made highly detailed maps, one of the best engravers. Also superb if not the best globe maker on earth at the time.

Washington Irving invented “historical fiction” he invented this story that Columbus discovered that the world was round.

Back to mercator – lived in a volatile town, lived around Netherlands/Belgium. Martin Luther came along and challenged the Christian church. Mercator also did the same and was tossed into prison for being a heretic. He literally didn’t know if he was going to be tortured or killed. Fortunately after 7 years he was released from prison. His teachers vouched for him. He learned that to “Always stay on good terms with your thesis advisor”. He returned to his profession of map making, dealt with the issue that cartographers have found there’s an issue that the earth is spherical and maps are usual flat. They found it’s basically impossible to combine the two without distortion. These things are called projections. Mercator invented “the mercator projection”. All projections have imperfections. Mercator’s is that things really stretch out as you get to the top of a map. Why was this so important? What was it like to sail back then? Could you tell direction? Yes – compasses. Could you tell how far you’d gone? Kinda – measure your wake. Could you measure your latitude? Absolutely, by measuring the angle of the sun/stars. Could you measure longitude? No, noone could figure out how. Given you can measure distance and latitude, he used these tools to design a map.

Let’s pretend we’re sailing from London to New York. You start North West and end up South West. If you plot it on a mercator map, it’s a weird curve. If you were sailing you’d need to modify your compass direction and you’d need to know your longitude to do that. What if you draw a line that’s always the same compass bearing, but perhaps isn’t the shortest direction. If you plot that on a mercator map, it’s a straight line. That’s very important for navigation. The calculations to figure out lon/lat to position on a map is essentially very simple. That’s why it’s so often used right now.

Hack #2. Does anyone really know what time it is?

People were literally dying to find out what their longitude is. People were dying as ships crashed because they didn’t know accurately where they were. The British government established a prize to solve this problem. They would give someone 20,000 pounds to define longitude within a single degree. Lots of crazy people came out of the woodwork. One guy said take a litter of puppies, put one puppy on the shore, and one on the boat, if you burn one at noon the other will yelp. If you knew the time accurately between England and the ship you could measure the longitude by looking at the sun. John Harrison was completely aware of this so figured out all he had to do was make an accurate clock. That’s really difficult, especially at sea, pendulum clock won’t work as it’ll swing about. Spring clock will get hot and cool.

He built this clock – H1 – exists at the Grenwich museum. He built the clock over severallyears then went to the Longitude board and asked for a sea trial. They sailed from England to Lisbon using the clock to work out their direction. Worked well but they decided this wasn’t a big enough test. This pissed him off. He improved it a bit, made a few more versions, 4th version of the clock, 25 years later – the H4 – this is a masterpiece, bit bigger than a pocket watch. Goes back to the board and says “lets try again”. They sailed with the clock in a box and can only be wound when it’s in a box to make sure they didn’t cheat. Sailed to Jamaica, Bermude and back. The error was about 1/3 of a degree. “You ever tried being paid by the government?” They make him sail it again so this time his son sails to Barbados. The clock loses a 1/5th of a second per-day. He sails back, this time the longitude board says he has to do it again. By now he’s really getting pissed, but King George Vth hears the story and decides he has to get his money, which he does shortly before he dies.

1. You can look at the world in a new way, the way Mercator did, invent a new way of seeing.
2. Increased precision, increased accuracy changes the way we work. [JMCK: sorry, didn’t quite get this]

History’s best geohacks

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Lior Ron

Showing some observations from Where 2.0.

* Slides are bad (1)
* Simple ideas are good(1)
* Demos are better (5)
* Launches are best! (9)

Started with the base layer, the tiles, satellite imagery, streetview. Canvas on which to load more and more data. We’ve added something pretty simple, businesses, left hand side now shows popular maps/collections, including Places of Interest. This allows me to light up all of the Indian restaurants in the US, maybe the seafood places too, try Steak housees too (loads!). Showing search results as a layer instead of just 10 results at a time.

Now you have a map, you have some businesses. I want a better understanding.. We’re announcing a new layer menu (“More…”), let’s pick wikipedia, now we see all the wikipedia entries in the US. Can click on one, zoom in, can see a snippet from the article. Can also do searches and the icons stay on the map. Burlingame is the second richest county in the state and 14th in the country. Can also see Panoramio photos, that shows all the photos around the world on a layer, can click on them to see what’s there. See canyons in arizona to moonrises in alaska. Can browser the universe, browse the whole world. These are both available in the layers menu on google maps.

Another way to explore this content is in search. Did a search for SFO previously, lets try San Francisco. After every search we see a bubble called “explore” on the left, can see photos, popular searches, user created maps in the area. Clicking on “explore this area shows more information that will be updated as we browse the map. Getting panoramio photos, but also get youtube videos and can see them in context. Annotating and getting a better sense of a place, all from within google maps. More interesting data that is exposed through this ability is the “my maps”. Someone showing the 49 miles city drive in San Francisco. Another my map of the famous Bullitt car chase with lots of information about it. While we browse the map, the info updates. Lots of useful info. Two new ways we’re uncovering that allow the users to view content and get access to it.

Now we have wikipedia on maps, we have photos and video on maps.

Other new content coming is search options, can specify “Real Estate” and see more than 5M listings of real estate data. Can filter the results.

So that’s available today as another type of content available on google maps.

Another option available is “mapped web pages”. Web pages that we’ve extracted data from. Searching for “UFO sightings in united states”, we’ll get a list of web pages talking about ufo sightings. For web pages that are exposing coordinates on the page.

So we have the web on google maps.

There’s one data source missing, we’re asked all the time when we’ll be able to read news on the map, I’m happy to announce that starting next week we’ll have a google news layer on google earth and will allow users to view news in a geographical fashion. Can see the context on google earth. Can click the markers and read the whole article from within google earth.

News can be countrywide, general and very very specific. Here’s the news from Burlingame. The 3rd Burlingame bank was robbed yesterday – links to the second richest county thing from earlier. There’s google news coming out of burlingame too. “Google opening geo-search”, “GIS exec works to unlock hidden geodata” – Jack’s talk from yesterday. Hyper-local news available from next week.

All these datasources coming to maps. It’s not only google maps, it’s google on maps.

The place that this data is talking about is the common denominator about these data sources. We’re launching the ability to view all of the data from in one place. Opened an info bubble about the “Palace of Fine Arts” and it shows all the news, images, all the info. Maps in a bubble on a map. Upcoming events, happening in the palace of fine arts. What’s unique, even if we don’t know about a place, we create a place based on the geodata. We didn’t know about the “Giant pink bunny” in Italy but we managed to make a page all about it. Exposing all the geodata that we have on the giant pink bunny. More data, in more places.

To wrap up, this is all aggregated, we’re very pleased to announce that this is open, meaning that all of this will be searchable from the local search api. Giving an example, a hiker site that aggregates trails on the web. What we can add to this is a search box and we can search the geoweb and see results from all the place, or do a restriction to only a bounding box specified by your site, or to only the content on your site.

Last announcement – top feature requested by API developers – the API is now available as Flash(!)

Google Maps = Google on Maps

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Just thought I’d mention, we’re having major problems with the network at Where 2.0 today so my notes have been lagging heavily. Hopefully it’s going to be better this afternoon, if not I’ll continue to take offline notes and upload them later.

Juan Gonzalez

Planeteye started by looking around at the world of information available in the form of mashups. Heard from Google earlier, already > 50,000 using their google maps api. Can only imagine how many data points are available. Would be interesting if crawler could go and collect the data that’s published.

Google has MyMaps, hear there’s > 9 million my maps created by the public.

Highly structured data that is behind these mashups.

Location information not always structured in this way. Are other methods, like an address. Example from NYT referring to a physical location. Easier to crawl address but presents a number new challenges. This is just as valuable as the adjoining google map.

Problem with addresses is that they come in many formats. When analysing worldwide information you can come across many addresses. Humans can figure things out, but not machines.

We experimented with a number of techniques. We tried low-resolution geocoding. Everyblock mentioned going beyond the point marker. We’re going the same way, with these addresses it’s probably possible to get an accurate location, but easier to get a general location. We’re allowing for that exercise and assume we won’t always know the location.

Not the same as geotagging to a centerpoint, different technique. Improves our chances of managing some geocoding though.

Next challenge is the same place being referred to in many different ways. All the different examples will be referring to exactly the same point. The challenge is how to work out they’re the same things. Location is not enough, have to look beyond that. Telephone, elements of the name, etc. can help with this.

Once we have the ability to match the place we can start defining implicit lengths between the multiple sites referring to the same location. If this goes well we’ll end up with a very large number of data points. Current visualization techniques tend to work in two ways: very large dataset would need breaking down and show a few points at a time – good for end user but doesn’t give context of all datapoints; other approach is to put them all on the map and hope for the best – that quickly becomes useful.

Have the ability to take the entire dataset and allow the user to appreciate it, [using circles that get bigger when there’s more elements around a location]. Doesn’t matter how many points there are, they’re returned at the same speed.

We’re trying to create a travel guide by pulling in all the travel information on the web at PlanetEye

Crawling the web for GeoData

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Jeremy Irish, Groundspeak

Geocaching has been around since 2000, thousands of geocaches. Billion dollar technology to hide plastic containers in the woods. Can use any GPS unit.

Have millions of people using this all the time.

Wherigo – taking geocaching and bringing it into a virtual game.
* A toolset for creating media rich experiences in the real world using GPS and handheld devices.
* Taking adventure games outdoors (“tricking people to go outside an get some sun”)
* Taking mashups outdoors

Unlike traditional computer games: Making people go outside, may factors beyond your control.

Simplify technology requirements.
* Alternate options for determining location
* Reduce need for high accuracy
* Take advantage of the novelty of location

Encourage user-generated content
* Integrate community content
* Take advantage of local experts
* Users will localize the playing experience
* Inspire “Junkyard Wars” design – trying to create an experience out of the location rather than something that works everywhere

Players are manic-depressive
* Physical activity creates strong emotions
* Educate, motivate and reward often (dumb it down)
* Consider your actions with your community

Keep games short
First games where 1.5-2.5 hours, way too long
* Mirror casual game design – lunchbreak games, reward them
* < 30 minutes is best * "Serialize" your game into chapters * Simplify, simplify, simplify. You can't control the player * A player can and will go to any length to finish a game * Unexpected environmental factors * Reward often, punish carefully Encourage players to look up * Interact with real world objects We have people watching to make sure people cross roads correctly * Notify with vibration and sound * Use reference imagery * Reduce reliance on the arrow * Use maps Building momentum takes time * "If you hide it they will come" * Target locally but encourage global play Consider environmental issues * foot traffic * stampede * negative perception of non-players * ... Be aware of legal grey areas Lessons Learned in Location-based Gaming

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Ryan Sarvar

We were here last time doing a BoF session. Now here we are on stage presenting. Making an announcement which will hopefully show some good progress.

Started 2 years ago when I started at SkyHook. Wanted to think about what it means to be location aware. How can we enrich the web with a lot of that information. We launched loki toolbar to make these location enabled channels.

Changed this so that sites can call an API to get location to drive relevant content. Basic API to call the toolbar and do something meaningful with the location information.

This type of information and spec belongs a spec for browser vendors. Want the same experience everywhere, laptop or mobile phone.

We’re hoping that people will be able to write an application with HTML and JS rather than, for instance Objective C on iPhone.

“LocationAware’s goal is to help drive the standardization of how a user’s geolocation is exposed to a website through the browser”

Handles privacy and other issues. Brokers information, they get back an accuracy level, latitude and longitude.

We propose to expose this through the DOM. May also do it in HTTP headers. Also different ways of specifying “air meters”.

API looks very simple. 4 lines of JS to get location with a callback. Polling also available, more useful for mobile devices.

Announcement is that we’re working with Mozilla Labs to create a prototype extension. Available in June. We want to work with how we can do this. How do we ask the user what they want to make available and how do we make it available? Also working with W3C to make a charter for this type of thing.

Really important part is that Yelp will also be implementing the API so that there’s a real user of it available. Hopefully other sites will join too.

LocationAware: Standardizing a Geolocation API in the Browser

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Catt (with Cope)

Talking about going places on Flickr. One specific problem. Want to be able to say where photos are taken. We have this “where on earth” database that has lots of places in it. Really good because people may search for places by different names even if the named areas overlap a lot. It’s not so good for reverse geocoding as you might end up saying the wrong thing. This is really hard. Reverse geocoding gets a lot fewer results from a google search..

At ETech in 2007, photos taken would be said they were at San Diego County Jail.

If people are going to take photos and go to the trouble to geotag them, we should be able to describe the places better.

Reverse Geocoding

“Nearest linear object”

We tried to reduce the type of places to a base set of commonalities. First assume at street level, then go to neighborhood, then locality, county, region, country. About a year and a half into this we’ve decided to go with street, locality and airports, “metro”, …

FireEagle uses something very similar. FE have adjusted their model for privacy regions (if you’re in a tiny town, you’re obvious).

Dopplr has a different model. They go by the distance between San Francisco and San Jose. This is all they need.

Geonames, great, gets it wrong sometimes too.

“What’s going on?”

“Imperfectly transmitted code”

People have different ideas of what things mean.

We work with bounding boxes.

I geotagged a photo in Millerton state park, it said it was in “Inverness” which is on the other side of the water.

Showing a slide with bounding boxes. They intersect. Do lots of iterations to filter them out. We should end up seeing that milerton is local and inverness less so. We adjust the measurements on other parameters, but this one was just wrong. We geocoded Petaluma and fixed it.

We take 78 steps to go through and figure out where this could be.

We have a responsibility to do useful things with our users data. So we’re asking for help. In a few weeks time we’re going to ask “Is this right? If not let us know.”

If people keep telling us that things are not where we thought they were, we can take that data back in and start fixing things. This will hopefully roll back into the system and give us more precise data. Like a beach gives us an idea where the coastlines are.

We’ve spent huge amount of effort trying to get this right.

Going Places on Flickr

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George Filley, NAVTEQ

Incredible being here to see the innovative things coming from us the development company.

NAVTEQ have always been about “Where”. We’ve always been looking to create a single specification that can improve what you’re doing.

Want to talk about the advent to allow location based services to truely come into their own..

We believe we’re in the middle of an information revolution. Where information is accessible to anyone, anywhere, any time. Provides a unique opportunity for developers. The convergence of this information with location and mobility. Will give the next form of the Internet.

“The future’s here”

43% of all downloadable applications were about LBS in Q1 2008. That’s real money and real opportunity.

How do you monetise this? Difficult to do in a subscrition environment. As these applications grow, the expectations of users grows.




Consumers are ok with ads if it’s relevant to context.

Networks and devices are improving, allowing for the ability to create robust reliable solutions driven by advertising. Advertisers are realising this is a viable market place.

Mobile advertising on WAP and some on games.

Our role? We’re an enabler. We deliver unique visuals, landmarks, junction views, stuff, realtime traffic, weather. Gas prices. Changing the nature of what a map is. Individual can walk into a neighborhood and have as much knowledge or more than a native.

2003: Launched LBS Challege for Developers in North America

Have launched similar problems in recent years, will be launching one in Singapore for Asia. – gives you access to our content and the ability for you to update our data. Providing developer guides, webinars, forums, 1-1 technical assistance. Optimise your utilisation of the content and map products we support around the world.

NAVTEQ has always been about Where, we understand the value of location and now understand the use of flexible business models. We want to help you.

Please take a moment to come to our website.

The Future = Location

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