Maps, mapping and a couple of uses

I have always found open source mapping intriguing.  For example – how does Google shoot every imaginable piece of earth available and make money from it?  How does Garmin and Tom Tom upgrade their maps and allow me to upgrade my GPS every couple of years for a decent price?  How does my Sony A55 SLR know where I am shooting my photo – and why would I care?  Why did I reference my DSLR instead of my iPhone?  (start rant) I can answer that one – if you use an iPhone, you’re NOT a photographer, and most likely, your photos aren’t any good.  It took me a long time to learn how to use my camera and learn how to shoot race cars.  I learnt and I am a Bronze accredited CAMS photographer.  (/end rant) And importantly, if this is what is free – what the heck does Big Brother use?

The theory and commerce behind open source mapping is quite useful.  There isn’t a great deal of information out there on the business models or the theories but there are some useful links in my Delicious stack – http://delicious.com/stacks/view/IMIQNn

In any case, Having open source mapping has created massive industries and really changed the way we get around, the way we direct people and opened up opportunities for the entrepreneur and marketing professional that they couldn’t have imagined in the late 1990s. 

And it will continue to change again in the future.  Google, Apple, Microsoft are all going head to head.  We have the GPS companies going.  There is government and the individual user all in this market. 

It’s powerful.

I’m not going to tell a lie.  I don’t have much to do with open source mapping.  In my role in social media, the closest I have come to mapping is a campus map.  I also live in Australia, a place that has been mapped within an inch of its life.  So I though I would take a place, a big place and have a look.  Lets look at the University of Southern Queensland on OpenStreetMap.

In the mapping world, it is wild west.

As you see in this before shot, we have the building, a green dot to show you the Library and another so show you the post office. 

A couple things here – the post office isn’t located there anymore.  The book shop, cafe, club, banks, ATM aren’t listed.

This is where Open Source Mapping can be really handy for an organisation.  For free and in 15 minutes, you can add much detail to your map.

So after a mere 15 minutes (and really 5 minutes were battling a recalcitrant Flash), we have more detail on this map.  Sure there is a long way to go, but there is progress.  I will continue and show you a product that is far more complete at a relevant time. 

This, however would be very helpful for tailoring maps for visitors, individual classes, use on the website or wherever.  Once upon a time, you’d have to get the maps and draw this yourself.  Now in 10 minutes, you can have a bespoke map for any purpose.

And what of that rant with the camera.  I recently shot the Bathurst 12 Hours with www.racerviews.com, www.lendurance.com, www.flagworld.com and www.dailysportscar.com

This gallery is a selection of the photos.

Now, on this Picasaweb album, you’ll notice a map on the right hand side – detailing where these photos were taken.  Handy to know which corner each photo was taken at – handy so you know what works, what to work on more and handy to show others, to help others.

Here you can see an individual picture and exactly where it was taken.  I love this picture and know in future trips, I need more from this spot.  Now, I don’t have to remember where it was – the corner is marked.

Handy.

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