Ever noticed how you never see some people in the same room together? Various conspiracy theories abound on this theme; that they’re really the same person or that they’re mortal enemies. All complete rubbish of course but maybe there’s some truth in this after all … I’ve never been publicly seen in the same room as Aaron Cope and Tom Coates before.
Benedictus de Spinoza said that nature abhors a vaccum and Heisenberg calculated the critical mass needed for a nuclear reaction so maybe there’s a halfway stage between these two extremes, a geocritical mass if you will.
I really should explain …
When people ask me what it is that I do for Yahoo!, I explain that I help use geography to describe people, places and things.
People are knowing where users are and the things that are important to them. Fire Eagle, Yahoo’s location brokerage platform allows users to share their location on the web, to update anywhere and to choose what you share and don’t share. Tom is the man behind the creation of Fire Eagle and was responsible for leading the (now defunct) Yahoo! Brickhouse team to produce the best location service there is on the ‘net.
Wherecamp ’09 in Palo Alto; that’s “geotechnologist and ATM user” Tyler Bell on the left, myself in the middle and Aaron on the right.
Places are knowing geographic locations and the names of places. That’s the remit of Geo Technologies, my group at Yahoo! and you can see this in the public web service platforms we produce such as GeoPlanet and Placemaker, all linked using the geoidentifier we call WOEIDs.
Things are knowing the geographic context of content. Flickr allows you to geotag your photos, using my group’s technology and in February of this year broke the amazing 100 million geotagged photo mark. If you’ve seen him speak at Where 2.0, Wherecamp or previous Hack Days, you’ll know that Aaron knows the power of geo and has used it to produce something rather unique and special at Flickr.
Geocritical mass (which doesn’t currently show us in any search engine, so you saw it first here) may well be reached next week in the Millennium Broadway hotel in Times Square, New York when all three of us will be in the same place, at the same time for Open Hack NYC, 48 hours of hacking goodness with a generous helping of geo. Who knows what will happen, all I can say is that a trinity of geopeople are coming to NYC and that it’ll be geotastic.