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Enlightened and Uplifted by Geomob

Most compelling GeoMob Story ever?

Winner!  And the most compelling GeoMob Story ever?

Our regular geo get-togethers are always fascinating.  But this time I was both enlightened and uplifted by Geomob! A packed programme of great speakers and a large audience were lovingly hosted at the Geovation Hub in Clerkenwell, London. Together we learned the latest in tech innovations and the most compelling of open mapping applications.

Heathen onslaught against maps!

What no map?

What no map?

Alice Gadney deserves an award.  Her role at the British Cartographic Society and backed up by her business, Silver 7 Mapping, means she’s fighting the good fight to get kids mapping from the age of 3.  And it’s an uphill struggle when the Schools 2017 curriculum (ages 3-18) for Geography does not even mention Maps or Cartography!  Battling against this heathen onslaught she’s deeply involved in making mapping memorable and assuring today’s kids know that “where” is not just an app on a phone.

Uncompromising Design

A living Map in the US

A living Map in the US

Andy Bolton then presented Living Maps. Building on the amazing maps that now adorn considerately placed posts in London and many other great cities, Living Maps is a Digital map platform that exploits the beautifully clear cartography we’ve all become use to on visits to town, but hosts a heap of relevant interactive content that can be drawn down on any of their clients websites. The design is uncompromising, but Andy recognises a much more agile approach is needed in the complex clash of GIS & market leading cartographic design. As SplashMaps is completing work on a global style and system for our customer Lush, it was great to hear another great design challenge and learn from their stories.  Perhaps we could even get these beautiful maps on fabric?

What will the Germans measure next?

Roland measuring everything

Roland measuring everything

It was great to meet Roland Wagner and hear of the Open Station Map project. I’ve worked with Roland in the past.  He’s able to tie a theory to a practice we might otherwise take for granted.  In this instance it was the developing world of “mapping the indoors” and where better to test the theory than in the great train stations of the world. Germans are really pleased with their OSM coverage.  “They’ve nearly run out of things to map” explained Marc Tobias of Open Cage when I met him earlier in the day.  And Roland seemed to have the answer to what would come next.  Mapping the “areas” inside the buildings.  The lucrative hyper local data market will be in demand in the forseeable future as technology has stuck the best sensors in our pockets.  It could become a gold rush and with companies like Deuche Bahn (Germany’s national rail company) deeply suspicious of companies like Google moving in on their traditional territory and their captive audiences, OpenStreetMap provides the platform of choice.  Capturing increasing levels of complex area and footprint data such as columns and shop floor space is now much more possible with inexpensive lazer measuring devices together with the OSM platform.

Roland extended his talk to announce the new GeoIT group and promote Where Camp Berlin.  With Steve Feldmans FOSS4G stickers there were plenty of places to further and connect for a depth view on the tech behind the latest in location technology.

Enlightened and uplifted by Geomob with the most compelling use of OSM ever seen at Geomob? – Our SplashMap winner

OSM contributions grow in these isolated communities

OSM contributions grow in these isolated communities

The there was Janet, Janet Chapman of the Tanzania development Trust. Female gender mutilation safe houses are a necessity in Tanzania. The outlawed practice is still prevalent in rural areas, and many girls seek to escape this cruel torture. 

The connection with maps?  OpenStreetMap is the best option for low population rural Africa.  Schools are opting into the scheme and are updating OSM to create a map of all roads.  Girls can now alert the safe house of their escape plans and a vehicle is deployed to pick them up from the most remote locations with the help of an accurate map. In essence it becomes a modern form of escape and evasion map!

Rural Tanzania is quickly becoming exceptionally well mapped as a result of OSM and it’s use by projects like this and the Ramani Huria project (who also use SplashMaps in community mapping activities).

Janet used the opportunity to call for help with map validation and a issue a plea for unused smart phones that can be used to capture more data in the field.

Amazing statistics: OSM saving lives in Tanzania

Amazing statistics: OSM saving lives in Tanzania

Technical Marvel & Speed Demon

Maps of how long it takes to get to places aren't new

Maps of how long it takes to get to places aren’t new

Mike Flynn’s Time to Anywhere had the honour of a very very rareround of applause as the Time to Anywhere service sped through the challenge of space and time. His system Churns through 1 million requests per call, returning a perfect map of how to get anywhere within a fixed period of time from your origin. 

The system returns the response within a second and is so finding itself in use with estate agents to address those first world challenges of “how long would it take to get Tarquin to school?”.

It’s a seriously clever piece of technology and well deserved the acclaim , but was pipped to the SplashMaps prize by a more compelling story.  Well done Mike!

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