Posts tagged as "geobabel"

Society of Cartographers Redux

To be filed under the "slightly self promoting" department, earlier this year I was invited to speak at the Society of Cartographers Summer School in Manchester, UK. It's always great to be invited to speak at a conference but I was particularly excited by the SoC. The geo world I inhabit is one of data, APIs, platforms and data mining and aggregation techniques. Sometimes the map gets lost in all of this. So it was an honour to speak at an event where it was all about the map. The Summer School was written up in November's edition of the SoC Newsletter which is only available to society members, but with permission I've reproduced below the sections of the newsletter which cover my involvement.

Talking GeoBabel In Three Cities (And Then Retiring It)

You're invited to speak at a conference. Great. The organisers want a talk title and abstract and they want it pretty much immediately. Not so great; mind goes blank; what shall I talk about; help! With this in mind, my first thought is normally "can I adapt, cannibalise or repurpose one of my other talks?". This sometimes works. If there's a theme which you haven't fully worked through it can serve you well.

But a conference audience is an odd beast; a percentage of which will be "the usual suspects". They've seen you talk before, maybe a few times. The usual suspects also tend to hang out on the conference Twitter back channel. Woe betide if you recycle a talk or even some slides too many times; comments such as "I'm sure I've seen that slide before" start to crop up. Far better to come up with new and fresh material each time.

Your Place Is Not My Place; The Perils of Disambiguation

We take the art of geographic lookup for granted these days; type a place name into a form on a web site or feed it into a web service API and hey presto! Most of the time you'll be told whether or not the place name is valid or not and, in case there's more than one place with the same name, either asked to choose which one you mean or be presented with the most likely place.

Most of the time ... but not all of the time.

Which Way To The Town Centre?

The hey presto bit of the process seems at first glance to be relatively trivial but isn't. Just ask anyone who's had to implement a system that handles place names. Actually, the hey presto part is actually two discreet processes in their own right. First of all we need to identify a place, or whether indeed there's a place at all; this is usually called geoidentification.

The Letter W and Hype (or Local) at the Location Business Summit

Each time I give my Hyperlocal or Hype (and Local) talk it morphs slightly and becomes more scathing of the term hyperlocal.

I started to write the talk for Where 2.0 in San Jose earlier this year and approached it from the point of a hopeful sceptic who was looking to be persueded that the long promised hyperlocal nirvana was either right here, right now or was at least looming hopefully on the horizon.

A month later and I had the pleasure of sharing the keynote slot with Professor Danny Dorling at the GIS Research UK conference at University College London and I revisited the theme. By this time any hope of hyperlocal nirvana had pretty much vanished.

Yesterday I took the talk out for the final time at the Location Business Summit in Amsterdam and the elephant in the room relating to hyperlocality had grown into a full blown herd of elephants.

Fighting GeoBabel on Two Fronts

The well known, highly opinionated and occasionally error prone Tech Crunch seems to think there's a location war going on.

A search for the keywords location and war on the site yields strident post titles including Just In Time For The Location Wars, Twitter Turns on Geolocation On Its Website, Location Isn't A War Between Two Sides, It's A Gold Rush For Everyone, What Did The Location War Look Like At SXSW? Like This and Google Escalates The Location War With Google Places.

And Tech Crunch are right, there is a location war going on, but it's not the war that Michael Arrington and crew are thinking of; this war is much more insidious. It's the war against GeoBabel and it's being fought right now on two fronts.