Monday 4 April 2011

Who said history or surveying had to be boring?

My friend Brent Jones' video is worth watching only for his tongue-in-cheek humour. I thought only Cambridge dons remembered that Newton deemed longitudes NOT calculable! But then along came that clockmaker Harrison, the tinkerer who beat the thinker, as accurate watches made longitudinal calculations possible.

Note how prize money was a motivator then as now - the British Parliament offered a £10,000 prize for an accurate watch for that purpose almost 300 years ago - that adds up to £750K, €900K or $1,25M today!

And today along comes Volunteer Geographic Information, VGI for short coined by Michael Goodchild, a Cambridge grad himself - the more things change... - eloquently covered in that video as well as the web and the press - unfortunately around recovery efforts from natural and man-made disasters - this has the potential to turn data acquisition and ownership on its head.
Let's call it constructive technology rather than disruptive technology.
This blog is dedicated to the amazing new tools available 'for the rest of us' tinkerers with a little bit of time, knowledge and enthusiasm to display information in beautiful maps that promote discourse (after hours mostly) - I read that somewhere in the British Library exhibit Magnificent Maps. My latest effort is posting East Anglia Fenlands historic geography on the UK academic ShareGeo site - I'm listed as 'unattached' even though I suggested 'VGI', I guess the term hasn't caught on yet...

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