Friday, 30 October 2009

A tale of two cities

Social mapping is the intersection on web mapping and social networking. I blogged earlier on webmaps and mashups, comparing streetmaps between Urumqi, the site of previous unrest in Xian province of western China, and Almaty in nearby southeast Kazakhstan. A friend who shall remain anonymous said they couldn't reach my Slideshare, so I posted a video of same on a Youtube designated channel. Now that they're safe, I post it again here.

(also on my YouTube channel)

The astonishing variation not only of data but also of routing capability, flanges neatly with some discussions raging on the web about improving web street maps. I picked a picturesque place in central Cambridge UK, King's college with its beautiful chapel, where I recently toured its glorious medieval stained glass windows. Those web maps also showed a lot of variation not only in data density and quality, but also in philosophies - vector versus image data, 2D vs. 3D views, fixed vs. panoramic.

(also on my Youtube channel)

While web map improvements are discussed in Europe and America, other parts of the world talk about creating and sharing them. The recent crowd at AfricaGIS ( was down at the time of writing) attests to the relevance of mapping efforts in Uganda by OpenStreetMap, Google and others. The previous rise and recent collapse of the price and availability of commodities and finances put many countries under sever financial pressure. Affordable technologies and implementations may rarely have been more urgent.

Our goal at oilelefant(TM) is to provide an entire system (proprietary software and infrastructure) for the cost of other vendors' proprietary software alone. This not only reflects the newly available technologies, but also our desire to help people help themselves - deliver systems that answer user needs from the ground up, where user needs drive the technology.

1967-1968 Lotus Elan chassis and actual car
public source: Science Museum and wikimedia