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Survey the Location Technology Frontier at Where 2.0, a New O'Reilly Conference

June 7, 2005

Sebastopol, CA--Location-aware technologies combined with mapping and other data are poised to create a whole new class of web apps and services. Hackers and researchers are mashing up Google maps with everything from Craigslist to Chicago crime stats. Automakers are incorporating restaurant addresses into their car's navigational screens so drivers can spontaneously find sushi. Maps are becoming an interface, helping us to visualize and access other forms of data. Call centers, insurance agencies, transportation companies, and retailers are finding unconventional internal uses for location technologies too.

But where is location-based technology leading us in the larger sense? And while it's fertile ground for hackers and researchers now, where's the business model beef? Where 2.0, a new O'Reilly conference taking place June 29-30 in San Francisco, brings together the people, projects, and issues at the center of this technological frontier to debate and discuss what's viable now, and what's lurking just below the radar.

"Where 2.0 will make it obvious that web developers are the new market for geospatial tech," observes conference co-chair Nathan Torkington. "Map systems, satellite imagery, and yellow page information are all being made available to web hackers, with major corporate players in a race to offer the best platform to these developers. The GIS industry is watching very closely to see how this plays out."

Microsoft MapPoint general manager Stephen Lawler has joined the Where 2.0 speaker roster and will discuss Microsoft's mapping and location strategies, and tools for businesses, developers, and consumers. "The Where 2.0 conference is an excellent forum for the mapping community to discuss the future of mapping for businesses and consumers. Our goal is to continue to break down the barriers associated with location technology and offer a wide array of products and services that help people and businesses be more effective."

Other notable speakers and topics include:

  • Mary Foltz, director of Location Solutions Product Line Management for Nextel, identifies obstacles to the mobile development platform
  • Stephen Randall, co-founder of Symbian and CEO of LocaModa, discusses mobile marketing
  • Paul Rademacher, creator of the Google Maps-craigslist mash-up
  • Entrepreneur and researcher Ramesh Jain demos his current project (launching soon) that serves as an internet portal to events and the media they generate
  • Greg Sadetsky, who mashed-up Google Maps-Yahoo! Traffic
  • Panelists from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! face off over local search, moderated by John Battelle
  • New Zealander Philip Lindsay, who wrote the Google Maps Standalone Mode and myGmaps, is leading the charge for developers to build their own mash-ups
  • NavTeq's Bob Denaro describes how NavTeq drivers travel every street in America to gather the road and route data that every online web portal uses
  • JC Herz presents the system she built for intelligence analysts to order satellite photos and tag and annotate them for other analysts
  • MIT's Nathan Eagle, whose soon-to-be-released research project collected 500,000 hours of data on cellphone use, calls, locations, applications, etc., will tell us what they learned, and what it reveals about us
  • Balaji Prasad from EDS explicates in-car location based services like OnStar and NeverLost
  • Open source geo tools hacker Tyler Mitchell tell us what apps and services are available right now--free of charge
  • Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! have joined Telcontar as conference sponsors, another indication of increased activity and interest in the location and mapping space. The conference's exhibit hall will showcase state-of-the-art systems, tools, and services pouring into the location arena.

    Where 2.0 also features the Where Fair, a science fair-style event that gives participants a first-hand look at a few of the intriguing location-aware technologies before they go mainstream. Fair-goers can discuss the ideas behind the demos with the creators, and learn how these unconventional new technologies can be adapted into existing business strategies. Where Fair projects are being drawn from research labs, academia, and yet-to-be-discovered entrepreneurs.

    Conference co-chair Nathan Torkington of O'Reilly Media, Inc. and co-chair David Sonnen of iSpatial are building a conference program that allows participants to quickly grasp both the current state of affairs and the far-reaching effects and implications around these transformational location-based technologies and services. Where 2.0 is a ripe opportunity to meet the people behind the innovations and see projects that have the potential to fundamentally transform how location information is viewed, interpreted, and delivered.

    The O'Reilly conference line-up also includes ETech, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference; the O'Reilly Open Source Convention; Web 2.0, co-hosted by Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle, and co-produced with MediaLive International; the O'Reilly European Open Source Convention; and the MySQL Users Conference, co-presented with MySQL AB. O'Reilly conferences bring together forward-thinking business and technology leaders, shaping ideas and influencing industries around the globe. For over 25 years, O'Reilly has facilitated the adoption of new and important technologies by the enterprise, putting emerging technologies on the map.

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