Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thoughts on GeoWeb 2010

I went to GeoWeb in Vancouver this year, and ended up presenting two workshops.

New Features in Google Earth

Going Mobile with Google Geo APIs 

GeoWeb is an interesting conference. It has roots back to at least 2002, where it was a GML conference. It's origins as a GIS conference have colored participation for a number of years. But this year it was more than that. It's clear that most GIS professionals, vendors, etc. have gotten it, the web is important.

Though attendance was sparse, like most conferences this year, the approximately 200 people in Vancouver were enthusiastic and really engaged. I had a bunch of GIS types making their first Google Maps API app in my second session.

And there's spontaneity as well, with new sessions added during the conference.

Google's had a historic commitment to GeoWeb, and I don't expect that to change. There are some key decision makers there, and a fair number of developers as well.

One thing we have to all figure out, though, as a community is how to bridge the final gap between the web and GIS. There's a lot of efforts to do it, but nothing easy. That's the fundamental thing I think the GIS community misses out about the web, it's supposed to be easy. Any truly disruptive technology starts out simple. Maybe that's why Wave didn't work out. And anything that requires an Arc* license isn't easy either.

I'm not saying Google's figured it either, though we're moving there with Fusion Tables and the next conversion features in Google Earth Pro etc. But fundamentally, we need more features and tools that are easy to use. And cheap. Without that, we're not going to make GIS pros into mashup developers.

No comments: