Google announced new location services APIs, a new Google Maps and a visual refresh for Google Maps at Google I/O last week. There was lots of descriptive coverage from the mainstream and tech press. But there was very little response from the geospatial community - except from Esri. Who should or should not be excited about the new Google Maps and APIs?
Google has not only become the de facto mapping app, the de facto navigation app, the de facto remote sensing app, the de facto change detection app, etc. It's the de facto National Map, as well. The USGS collected the data (imagery, topo, etc.) but Google monetized it. Is this an acceptable model where the government invests but the private sector monetizes the data? What is the future of privatization of national geodata?
Social media. It can be a great resource, a time sink or a burden for geospatial professionals. What exactly makes a geo individual or organization worth “following” via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+? We’ll share who we follow and try to identify the best practices that make their posts valuable.
Dr. Anthony Robinson of Penn State is continuing development of the first geo-MOOC, a massive open online course titled Maps and the Geospatial Revolution, which begins in July. I spoke with Dr. Robinson in February, just after the course was announced. In part two of our conversation recorded April 16, he shares the challenges and opportunities after working with the Coursera platform, visiting with Esri education team, and contemplating how to assess tens of thousands of students.
There are lots of bad maps. The USGS is crowdsourcing TNM. Apple fired people over bad maps. OpenStreetMap quality is superior to many – even Bing. How important is map quality? To Web users? To mobile users? To the media? To the big issues of the day: national security, energy independence? How much faith do we put in our maps?
At the Creating the Policy and Legal Framework for a Location-enabled Society conference in Boston, Kirk Goldsberry, who is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard, gave a fascinatng presentation with the help of two of his students on the topic of personal geographic data and privacy. Geoff Zeiss provides a recap.