GeoCommunity and LocNav; One Talk, Two Audiences

You can argue that it’s cheating or you can argue that there’s a vague degree of ecological-friendliness but sometimes you just end up recycling and repurposing a conference talk deck for more than one conference. So it was with my keynote at GeoCommunity in Nottingham last month and my keynote at the Location Business Summit in San Jose. One deck, two audiences. As it turns out, taking this approach can yield unexpected benefits.

Firstly there’s the UK audience at GeoCommunity, the Association For Geographic Information’s annual get-together and all round geo shindig. GeoCommunity is probably the closest the UK has to California’s Where 2.0, but with a very different audience and a very different accent. The AGI still draws the bulk of its membership from the GIS heartlands of the GI community, although in recent years the association has dramatically expanded its reach into the web, mobile and neogeography domains.

The Location Business Summit, on the other hand is firstly in San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley and secondly has a very pronounced American accent and draws the bulk of the audience from the Bay Area where web and mobile, both from a developer and from a business perspective, hold sway.

One deck, two audiences.

The slide deck is above, plus there’s a PDF version with the talk notes.

As previously mentioned, the GeoCommunity audience hails, in the main, from the GIS heartland. A talk which deals with context, with search, with relevance, with LBS and with maps and mobile got a great reaction and fitted well with the other closing keynote from the British Library’s Kimberley Kowal who put together a gorgeous deck full of beautiful maps, ancient, old and not so old. Steven Feldman has put together a list of these cartographical wonders, if you’re interested. Following up old maps with new, digital maps seemed to be a good segue and bridge between printed maps and digital maps. After the talk, people came up to me and said nice words and overall, the reaction seemed to be that this was an area of geo and location that didn’t normally appear on their professional radar. That’s a sweeping generalisation of course but it was also immensely gratifying.

Fast forward to today; not in the UK but slap bang in the middle of San Jose. Same talk. Same deck. Same sentiments. But a vastly different, though equally good, reaction from the audience. This time the questions and comments focused not on the map, not on LBS but on what the next major step in sensors would be after GPS and on what sources of data LB(M)S needs and lacks.

One deck, two audiences. Even in the same industry, albeit the vague and nebulously fuzzy grouping that we call the location industry, two very different audiences can give two very different reactions. One day, reaction will probably be the same, but today, geo and location really is a very broad church indeed.

Written and posted from Location and Navigation 2011, Convention Plaza Hotel, San Jose (37.3301, -121.8916)

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