[FoRK] [fantom.planet@gmail.com: RE: [Geowanking] mapping philosophies?]

Eugen Leitl < eugen at leitl.org > on > Sat Jul 15 04:51:28 PDT 2006

The whole thread is great, but I'm stopping now.

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From: FANTOM PLANET <fantom.planet at gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 23:16:37 -0400
To: geowanking at lists.burri.to
Subject: RE: [Geowanking] mapping philosophies?
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook 11
Reply-To: geowanking at lists.burri.to

"It would make a nice Wired article to put four people, one from each
generation, side by side, and have them tell their stories."

Yes, and I would make the recommendation that rather than just interview
generations, interview different geowanking cliques.  You have your PHP &
Ruby developers, your spatial database guys, your Google Earth people, your
open source software guys, your "traditional GIS crowd" (mostly ESRI users),
your location-based services guys, and your data collectors/archivists. (I
just happen to work in a large map library.)  If you asked what geography,
geowanking, or location means to these groups of people, you're going to
have VERY different answers.  

I could see at Where this year that the ships were passing in the night.
Traditional GIS'ers commenting on their blogs and discussing their
frustration with "pushpin maps."  The slippy map/collaborative atlas guys
ignorant of the GIS'ers concerns for precision. The spatial database guys
asking how they're going to have to connect to different apps and where data
is going to come from.  In essence, from what I saw at Where was that
bridges needed to be built, conversations needed to be had, an collaboration
to an extent had to happen.  I'm assuming that it did and within the next
year I'm also hoping that we see something with a big impact on our
multifaceted community.

Anyway, I'm big fan of the collaborative atlas stuff and map libraries. . .
(Wherever they are?)

GeoMullah
http://fantom-planet.blogspot.com



-----Original Message-----
From: geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to
[mailto:geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to] On Behalf Of Lars Aronsson
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2006 10:47 PM
To: geowanking at lists.burri.to
Subject: Re: [Geowanking] mapping philosophies?

Annalee Newitz wrote:

> I'm in the early stages of researching an article about map hackers 
> for Wired magazine -- I know the term "map hackers" is vague, but that 
> will change. What I'm wondering is whether folks here have been 
> inspired by any particular philosophies or theories of geography in 
> their work? Is there a Norbert Wiener or Lawrence Lessig of the 
> geowank world? Somebody who is geeky but also policy-minded or 
> philosophical, whose ideas have inspired you to make map tools or 
> build geolocation tech?

In the micro/home/personal computer revolution of the late 1970s, it was a
whole new bunch of people that entered the field of computing.  Some knew
about computers already, but many did not.  
And those who knew the old mainframes best stayed with the mainframes and
didn't join the revolution.  The new micros were so small, that they seemed
to be nothing but toys to the old pros.

This is what Clayton Christensen called "The Innovator's Dilemma". 
His book takes the view of the producer/seller and not the sociologist, but
it's the same phenomenon.

This is what we're seeing with these new "mapping hacks" too.  
The map hackers are PHP and Ruby programmers, not cartographers.  
In fact, there must be at least two generations of revolutionaries between
the old cartographers (who graduated in the 1960s without having touched a
computer) and today's map hackers: First the traditional GIS people (who
graduated in the 1980s), then the free software GIS people (who bring Linux
and GRASS, but work with cartography on a professional scale).

It would make a nice Wired article to put four people, one from each
generation, side by side, and have them tell their stories.
How did "line printer maps" change mapping in the late 1960s?
What did the skeptics say?  Who were enthusiastic about it?
What drove the University of Minnesota to develop MapServer, and was it
related to the Gopher menu system?

There are free software GIS people clashing into openstreetmap.org all the
time, like birds that fly into a window pane.  They know the Minnesota
MapServer, GRASS, gdal, and map projections (like a bird, that knows how to
fly).  The original OSM crowd doesn't really have a clue about those things,
but they (or should I say
we) are building free map data (like, this is a window pane, you cannot fly
here).  Dig through the svn.openstreetmap.org source code and tell me when
you find anything that resembles GIS software, data structures and
algorithms.

Timesharing operating systems and e-mail were developed in 1965.  
The Apple II was introduced in 1977, twelve years later.  What theory of
timesharing or e-mail did the Apple II users have? Is it even possible to
love the Apple II if you know what timesharing and e-mail are?  It took
about twelve more years before Mac and PC users got e-mail.


--
  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
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