Thursday, May 31, 2007

The European keynote

Our day in London has begun with the European keynote presentation, which is being presented in our main room here at The Brewery, as well as being beamed live to the events Hamburg, Madrid and Moscow, and on the web.

Chris DiBona, Open Source Program Manager, began by talking through the history of Google's APIs, starting out with our search API, through to the Maps API, which really landed Google in the development community, resulting in loads of great, creative maps mashups.

Sitemaps was a significant project we released with an Open Source license and Chris spoke through the history of it. It was the forerunner to many of the releases that have followed, including Google Gears, which was announced this morning. Gears allows web developers to take their web apps offline, and we'll learn more about it later in the day.

Chris has been followed by Ed Parsons, our Geospatial Technologist, who began by reminding us of Google's mission statement: To organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. However, as a geographer, Ed had a slight addition to the statement: To organise this information geographically.

As Ed says "everything that happens, happens somewhere" and suggested that 80% of the world' information is geographical - and by that he doesn't just mean maps, but books, images, video, sound etc. The challenge we face is how to display this information. Ed suggested three solution building blocks: Base Geodata, Google Apps and Google's Geo tools. However, the most important thing that is required is you. Because it is the users that are providing new information and are building the applications that are making the geoweb.

(Ed also announced a rather shameful obsession with air travel. He told us that when he first downloaded Google Earth, rather than trying to find naked women on beaches, he went looking for airplanes...)

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