WhereCamp 2008

This past weekend I attended WhereCamp, an unconference on all things geo-technology. I had a very fun time talking to everyone and camping in my Google tent.

I led two sessions: one on community-building and socializing with location-aware tools, and another the second day on social practice software, a term Anselm suggested to describe how we’re building Calagator.

Other things:

  • Good group of Portland folks there. Me, Paige, Anselm, Jason and the Platial team, three people from TriMet, in all maybe a dozen of us.
  • I bugged the TriMet team with all my burning questions about the tech side of what they’re doing. I hadn’t realized that they were such a key player in getting Google Transit started. These people need a blog. There’s a info about what they’re up to at http://developer.trimet.org/, and they’re really interested in hearing about anything people are doing with the API. I think I managed to convince Bibiana, the project manager, that they need to host a Portland TransitCamp. There’s some cool stuff they’re working on, and I’d love to see the local community collaborating more.
  • Open Street Map. I first heard about them in 2006 when they gathered people to map the Isle of Wight. It’s easy to take access to geographic data for granted when you’re in the US, but not every country treats it as public property. If you’re not familiar with this project, go read.
  • Andrew Turner and Seth Fitzsimmons led a lively session on privacy. The second half of the notes for this have a great summary of the current state of geo-privacy issues, which we talked through with the six de bono hats methodology.
  • Dave Troy presented a neat way of encoding location data called geohash. It turns your lat/long into a single alphanumeric string. The cool thing here is that as you lose characters from the right side, the sequence remains valid at a lower accuracy, describing a larger and larger bounding box. I could see this being really useful for a site that had location urls matching some collection of data. it’s human-editable enough that people could expand the search area just by editing the url.
  • NNDB does data visualization of the connections between people, that you can browse and edit. Best part: graphing conspiracy theories.
  • Rich Gibson brought his Gigapan camera. It’s interesting to look at the results from smaller and larger spaces.

I think we really, absolutely need to have a WhereCamp Portland. Let’s say in October. There’s just too much interesting mapping and location-geekery happening here to not do it. Who wants to help make this happen?

5 responses to “WhereCamp 2008

  1. Social Practice is a very Portland thing right now…


    I’d love to participate in a whereCamp for Portland

  2. Pingback: Silicon Florist’s links arrangement for May 18 » Silicon Florist

  3. Count on WeoGeo’s support. While we made it to Where2.0 this year, scheduling difficulties prohibited us from attending WhereCamp. However, we have gone in the past, and would love to see something like that in PDX.

    While I can only speak for myself (and our team), I am sure that Andres from Cartosoft would be very interested also. He has floated a proposal of a GISCamp in PDX on his blog in the past.

  4. Hi Audrey,

    This sounds like a great idea. I enjoyed WhereCamp too and found it valuable, although I was not able to attend all of it, and found myself fighting some nasty allergies.

    Anyway, I echo Dave’s sentiment, and you can count on my support as well.

    At some point, it would be great to get a GISCamp going in Portland as well, but it may be some time before enough awareness/support builds within the traditional GIS/geospatial community for that to come to fruition.


  5. I’d come up to Portland if it doesn’t happen during the Escape from Berkeley race.

    We could have a defacto whereamp at Anselm’s new place🙂