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Mikel Maron is from California. He's currently studying at the University of Sussex "Easy MSc", focused on the evolutionary dynamics of ecosystems. He has developed the World as a Blog, worldKit, and the myRadio aggregation framework, and used to work on My Yahoo.
Weblogs and Location, beyond the limits of physical and virtual space
The relationship of the Internet to physical space has followed circuitous paths. Information networks are meant to trascend the limitations of space and our embodiments. Early web communications, say with someone living on a volcano in Indonesia or initiating a process via CGI on a server in Lapland, were thrilling. Yet soon, the medium tried on the hallucigenetic science fiction visions of Neuromancer, and reached a virtual apex in John Perry Barlow's "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" -- "Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live."
The flip side of the narcotic idealism is exemplified by Silicon Valley, the spiritual center of computing and the Internet. Endless office buildings, 2 car garages, and Jamba Juice. Not surprising that such a soul empty place would inspire the creation of another virtual world. Could all the planet's cities and nature erode into sprawl if we were only jacked in. Perhaps after all, the world left behind was worth attention and effort.
Joshua Schachter's GeoURL was the key technological idea around which multitudes of projects have coalesced, and has spurred new geowanking innovations, in a synthesis of physical and virtual space. Mobile communications suggest that physical spaces themselves can hold information, leading to an entirely new urban dynamic and understanding of the meaning in places. Weblog discussions have spilled into meetups and blogtalks, the excitement of the ideas irresitably pulling into face to face gatherings.
My project, The World as a Blog, recombines weblog infrastructure of weblogs.com updates, GeoURL metatags, RSS, and satellite imagery into a Flash application, presenting a continuous real time view of weblog postings around the world. It's evocative and trippy to look at. "It's like eavesdropping on the entire planet." And it demonstrates the power of the map visualization to tell a story, for quick and intuitive understanding of geospatial information.
worldKit is "the World as a Blog in a box", an easy to use and customizable web mapping application. Just as weblogging has democratized sophisticated publishing tools, worldKit aims to democratize GIS and digital mapping. Map annotations are read into worldKit in RSS 2.0 with the "geo" namespace; it's easily demonstrated how to publish geospatial data with popular tools like Moveable Type and Radio Userland. With coming integration of mobile devices, publishing tools, visualizations, and metadata standards, Weblogs are poised to be the technological fulcrum of "geotagging everything".
last update: Friday, July 23, 2004 at 10:32:24 AM-----------------------