Every trip begins with a map. Here, at the Where 2.0 Conference, the consensus is every search engine query, and maybe every piece of web content, should begin with a map. Proof is the few projects and devices listed below; they are taking maps into uncharted territory.
Greg Sadetsky from the Canada-based Poly9 Group worked with Wild Sanctuary, a group of audiophiles that record nature sounds from the wildest places on Earth. As you spin the globe, listen to wolves in Canada, killer whales in Johnstone Straight or loons in the Adirondacks of New York. Turn up your speakers and plan on spending 30 minutes on this site; there are dozens of sound clips to titillate your ears.
Vincent Tao of Microsoft reports one-third of all web searches are to find local information. So it’s no surprise that Old Blue is now one of the biggest map makers in the world. They’re recording images down to a 6-centimeter resolution with a 220-megapixel cameras (see maps.live.com). For you metric-challenged readers, that's detail down to 1.5 inches. Most of the focus is on major cities now, but I suspect it will trickle into backcountry imagery too.
In other geo-trends, Nokia says up to 60 million consumers will carry GPS-enabled mobile phones this year (Nokia is also the biggest manufacturer of cameras, and in the process of buying the biggest map company in the U.S.).
Bug Labs has developed modular hardware so customers can build their own geo-centric device like a GPSphotoShooter or Accel-O-GPSer.
The brains behind Geotate.com have streamlined how devices record GPS content, which no doubt means we’ll see more cameras with GPS chips inside, like the new point-and-shoot from Altek. Could we see boots or backpacks with built-in GPS too?
Google’s John Hanke announced that ESRI, the market leader in GIS software, will support the standardized .kml file format in their next software release later this year. This monumental move merges the world of old school map makers and new school web developers. This means easier access to trail info stored in propriety GIS databases. So websites, like ours, will be able to create more centralized trail repositories and give readers better local trail information. More trails!? You won’t hear us complaining.
-Kris Wagner, Map Editor