Some ruminations after seeing all the previous posts.
There seems to be two issues here. First is the creation of
geotagged/geolocated content. Second, the lack of a platform that makes use
of geotagged content.
While geoURL is a nice and compact way of geotagging content, populating the
coordinates requires more effort than a conventional reference such as an
address. For example, when blogging about a fantastic nouvelle Nepalese
restaurant, its much easier to cut and paste an address from a phone book
look up, instead of trying to give the entry a geoURL. To cut to the chase,
there are many forms of geographic reference that much easier to use than a
coordinate pair. Mechanisms for autogenerating geotagged content need more
This segues into the second issue, the lack of a suitable platform. When you
look at most web mapping sites, what they do is render a set of data into a
map. They are essentially cartographic engines and not spatial engines.
That is, they lack spatial operations that allow folks to use them as a
platform for building the killer app. The OpenGIS standards are directed
towards building a complete platform, which is one reason why they seem
overly complex. For example, there is a discussion paper (long languishing)
on a geocoder interface that can address multiple location reference
While I agree with Allan Doyle and Rob Hranac about the need for standard
interface for geodata and geo-applications, I tend to find that OpenGIS
specifications focus too much on the location aspect to the point that the
location is the only object and other information is just an attribute. I
think this is the origin of the dissonance between the RDF folks and the
Below is a URL documenting a project I managed several years ago. While it
is certainly not a killer app, it does try to implement the concept of what
we called a Location Organizer Folder or LOF using the OpenGIS standards at
the time. The idea was that individuals would be able to send an email, web
page, or any bit of text and have the information geolocated automagically.
The user would then be able to pick out the bits that interested them and
save them into a "folder" which they could share with other individuals.
-->[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Tim O'Reilly
-->Sent: Monday, January 26, 2004 2:37 PM
-->Cc: Clay Shirky; Rael Dornfest
-->Subject: [Geowanking] LazyWeb request
-->In a number of talks over the past few years, I've lamented the fact
-->that MapQuest has never figured out how to become a platform. I
-->thought I'd repeat that lament as part of my keynote at our upcoming
-->Emerging Technology Conference (http://conferences.oreilly.com/etech).
--> (the talk will focus on my technology wishlist.)
-->But I'd like to give my skeletal thoughts a bit more meat, and I figure
-->you guys are the right folks to ask for ideas on how to flesh things
-->Here's my premise:
-->- All of the "killer apps" of the first generation web (Google, Amazon,
-->EBay,) except for MapQuest have started down the path of turning
-->themselves into platforms, rather than just applications -- except
-->MapQuest and its imitators.
-->- What's more, Google, Amazon and EBay all leverage the behavior that
-->Clay Shirky outlined (I think this was in his talk Listening to Napster
-->but I can't find it in the published paper), namely, that the system is
-->architected in such a way users build the database as a side effect of
-->their individual "selfish" pursuits, rather than being paid or
-->volunteering. It's a bit more of a stretch with google, but you can
-->argue that pagerank is this kind of thing. Once again, mapquest and
-->its imitators are the only ones left out.
-->- Of all the internet killer apps, MapQuest is also the only one that
-->didn't become dominant. (maps.yahoo.com is run by vicinity, after they
-->So, my question for you is this:
-->If we were to envision a next generation, collaboratively-enhanced
-->version of MapQuest, or Maps.yahoo.com, or mapinfo, how might we do it?
--> What features would lead people to naturally annotate maps?
-->What hacker work has already been done in this area? (I know there's
-->been some stuff naming cell towers so you can set alerts on them in
-->your phone, and there was the whole virtual london kind of thing) but
-->if we were really to brainstorm an ideal service that made it easy to
-->extend with the kind of rich commentary and added value that you see in
-->Amazon and EBay, what would it look like, and who's doing interesting
-->Thanks for your help.
-->Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
-->1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472
-->http://www.oreilly.com (company), http://tim.oreilly.com (personal)
-->Geowanking mailing list