A few Google Geo Presentations

imageIt’s been a busy year so far and therefore my posting has been woefully slow. Much have my time has been working with Google Earth Builder. This provides a new way of distributing geospatial information from Google into all sorts of clients, providing a true geospatial platform as a service without the need to worry about how many servers or virtual servers you need to support your clients, allowing GIS experts to worry about geospatial information science rather than geospatial information systems. There will be more information coming out about this platform over the next few months and I hope I can talk to as many people as possible about how they may use this to share their data and collaborate with their clients, removing the complexity, headaches and expense that this causes with current geospatial systems. If you want to know more watch the Where 2.0 video below.

More Google Geo Goodness

Where 2.0 wasn’t the only conference recently, last week at Google IO 2011 there was a veritable plethora of geospatial talks on all of the aspects of Google Geospatial. Two talks stood out for people imagewho might be using and sharing geospatial data, the first about Google Fusion Tables and the second on the surprises of the maps API. The latter presentation gives a good overview of some of the new geospatial functions with the whole Maps API that you might have missed over the last year including. Geospatial at Google is a ever increasing area which touches lots and lots of products, that are easy to use and implement for non-geo experts which increases the reach of geospatial data to more people, this talk is a great intro to all of these.

Fusion tables, GIS for normal people.

Fusion tables continues to add more and more functionality that will allow the geo-prosumer to create and share spatial data in record time. One of the main additions has been that of extra styling functions to the product allowing people to create more engaging maps which in turn help convey the message easier to non-geo people, you can get some more details here. If you wanted to know more about Fusion Tables then this talk is a much watch to show how you can host and map geospatial information from the Google cloud without a single line of code, something I would never have imagined possible when I started doing this GIS malarkey in the early 90’s.

Speed, Speed, Speed

A final geo talk at Google IO that caught my attention was one about how to improve the performance of any mapping application using the Google Maps API. I’ve spent a good portion of my career trying to improve the speed of web applications and especially geospatial web applications. It’s good to be armed with knowledge before you even start any development, this presentation hopefully will help you avoid the pitfalls that people go through when starting developing in this area.

If you combine this with articles from the Google Maps website, such as Too Many Markers, then you can hopefully create speedy maps that are a joy and not a curse to use.

You can find more information and sessions from Google IO 2011 at the website here. If you set the filter to Geo you can see all of the presentations that had a geo flavour. Hopefully I’ll be presenting at the Google Enterprise Geospatial day at the end of august. If your into geospatial and Google it will be like a mini Geo-IO. Hope to see you there.

Normal service will soon be restored.

I’ve been increasingly remiss on the updating of this blog, which I’ll hopefully remedy over the next few weeks. I don’t have any more excuses apart from the fact that I’ve been on a never end whirl of meetings, conferences (as delegate and booth babe!), training courses (run by me) and the never ending search for people to help me out. I’ve also been coming to grips with the never ending volume of innovation and products coming on stream at Google, absorbing their nature and understanding their impact on enterprise geospatial.

Google London

What no PC?

The other fact is prior to joining Google my main blog editor used to be Live Writer. I was one of the most PC people you might have known, thats PC as in Personal Computer, not the other one although I’m not too bad in that department as well (I try to minimise the HR violations). It seems that over the last year I seem to have become mostly Mac, that being until my first day at Google I had never even had a Mac or even touched one in anger for over 15 years (since I waged a one man war against them back in my days at Kingston). It turns out they are not half bad.

Mars Edit

Maybe because I secretly like having the option of a command window hat doesn’t run a horrible version of DOS, and actually have to use vi and ssh in my job! Maybe it’s also because I do most of my job in a browser these days and no longer have to have a copy of ArcGIS on my machine. Finally it’s probably the fact the the machine boots up fast, suspends without trouble and doesn’t seem to lag at weirdmoments. Sure it’s probably down to Apples bespoke hardware / software combination but whatever it is it’s been a breath of fresh air and whilst it’s made me tear whats left of my hair out sometimes, once I started to think like a Mac I’m unsure that I can start to think like a PC again (I’m sure I’m going to grow a goatee and get some thick glasses next).

So here I am having found a new easy way to write blog posts on my Mac using MarsEdit. It seems to do everything LiveWriter did without the fact that Microsoft seems to always want to update the whole Live suite all the time including the now horrible new version of Live Messenger, the Mac version from Microsoft is better.

Fast Boot, Quick Suspend

Why don't you!

Just as I find one way to edit posts another challenge falls into my lap, the CR48. Now my next challenge is to find a good blog editor that runs just in the browser and I can conquer the a new frontier. So far I’ve had good experiences with the machine. For much of what I do on the couch (as distinct from at my desk, although it’s not far off there also) is within a browser I want instant on to check emails and websites and instant off when I need to go do ‘something less boring instead’. The CR48 really does those things well, for editing text and using the ‘normal web’ it’s a lot better than an iPad, although for media consumption the iPad still has it beat, but then again that’s not what it’s primarily for.

CR48

What I like most about the CR48 is that it is something that is trying to upset the status quo of something that looks like a ‘normal computer’ acting like a ‘smart phone’. The act of doing away with storage on the device makes it instantly more controversial as people will start to get all nostalgic over defragging hard disks or performing virus scans, updating applications or managing services. It seems like many of our computers have turned into actual servers over time running background processes that seem to make the machine randomly page to disk or kick a background process to max warp (subsequently making your 2010 computer run like something purchased before modems went out of fashion).

Are we living in the future yet?

I don’t know when this happened, but it seems that between my Mac and my ChromeOS device I’m slowly moving into a brave new future when I can start to worry less about about what’s on my machine and more about actually getting things done. When most things you do are being stored in the cloud, you become much less attached to the actual machine your using, it becomes much more of a tool than a priceless piece of technology to be protected with your life less you lose your photos. Hopefully this  ChromeOS video serves to highlight this brave new world in a robust manner, hope to see you there in the near future!