The last few weeks have been fast paced. Between emergency response, big data migrations, and new feature launches an over arching theme has emerged in my mind. The Web’s demonstrative capacity for adaptive change – specifically the growing geo-enabled components of the Web. Pundits have talked for a while about the emergence of the locative Web, and the GIS world has oscillated on what that means for their community. At times I think it borders on a Kübler-Ross grief model. The middle stages are arguable, but we’ve definitely gone from denial to acceptance.My take away from the last couple of weeks is the convergence of the various forms of location based information, on and off the Web, are converging are rapidly. Disasters often act as crucibles to cause these forces to be accelerated. We’ve seen this in Haiti and now in Chile, where crowd sourced data is playing an integral role in relief efforts. It is a role, though, that complements the traditional sources of geospatial information. The largest impacts we’ve seen is in the fusion of the two sources. The combination has incredible value providing baselines, context and temporal adaptability – resulting in a malleable abstract that can be molded to solve a myriad of disparate challenges. The malleable qualities of the fused locative Web are highlighted in disasters, but they are just as powerful over the long cycle. Platial was one of the iconic instigators to foment location as an integral part of the Web. Di-Ann’s statistics tell the story “5 MM (million maps) have been created. Our members maps are visible on over 500,000 sites around the Web.” “The People’s Atlas” lived up to it’s moniker – democratizing personal cartography at a scale not seen before. Some times the economic cycle and market don’t grace innovation with good favor. This does not diminish what Platial accomplished and will continue to accomplish. The content and community created by Platial has provided a seed for the rest of us to reap the harvest from, and we are all in debt to it. When I say “seed” I mean it literally. The open and adaptive nature of the Web allows us to take the Platial seed and diffuse it across the online world. I believe we’ll see Platial reborn in many new forms as a result. Thanks to late night efforts by Andrew and the F1 engineering team Platial’s data has been migrated to GeoCommons for access and redistribution. You can access Platial data through a dedicated link on GeoCommons. We are still working on details of retaining icon cartography and getting the data all migrated but stay tuned for more detail on the effort.
Welcome to the Esri DC Development Center blog. We write about features of our work on big data analytics, open platforms, and open data, what is new and exciting in the Esri and community, and general industry thought leadership and discussions of geospatial data visualization and analysis.
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