Friday, September 23, 2005

Annotating the Planet and Google Maps
by Ron Lichty

'We're turning the world into a wiki -- if it's wrong, go log in and correct it yourself.'

Must-read: Future Salon's blog coverage of "Annotating the Planet and Google Maps", a talk at the Accelerating Change conference in Palo Alto Sept. 17 by Jon Udell, lead analyst at InfoWorld, and author of O'Reilly's 1999 book on Groupware, one of the forerunner terms to today's social software.

His own synopsis: "We are turning the physical world into a Wiki, and real landscapes are becoming virtual surfaces for collaborative annotation."

Future Salon's reviewer's synopsis of Jon's talk: "With services such as Google Maps, the physical world becomes a canvas. Jon gives varied examples of Gmaps applications and muses about the location-aware future and how memory is tied intimately to place. He contrasts Amazon's A9 use of professional photographers to provide images of city and town block views with where the future is going: the do-it-yourself creation, annotating, tagging collective. 'We're turning the world into a wiki -- if it's wrong, go log in and correct it yourself.'"

Take the link on the Future Salon blog page to go see the "Google Map of Keene, NH", where Jon has created a brief tour of his hometown, starting with the tree where squirrels built a tree nest out of flags, a feature he's told friends about but never before been able to show anyone. "The physical world becomes a canvas."

For a second set of observations on hacking Google Maps and the implications of annotating the planet, check out Jon's own weblog, where he concludes, "But if the Web has degraded our experience in some ways, it has utterly transformed it in others. Nowadays we're not just using the Web, we're colonizing it."


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