The Where2.0 conference this year was a great success for me. What The Hell 2.0 am I talking about? Read all about it here. If you still don’t understand, it’s an annual coming together of map technology geeks. I’ll write about the conference in a lot more detail over at VizWorld, so check there for the more techy bits, but now I talk about wicked cool stuff.
Along with the regular talks, workshops and brainstorming sessions, there is also a Where Faire, in which “research, academia, and yet-to-be-discovered entrepreneurs” display their projects and we stand around and talk to them with a cocktail in hand. Tom Longson’s Open View Project really stood out this year because the concept is simple-brilliant and community-oriented at once. From the OVP site:
Seeing what [Google] had done [with StreetView] was inspiring, but I wanted to be able to annotate parts of the panoramas, to build my own services around it, and to take pictures of the places Google didnâ€™t go. Instead of creating panoramas of asphalt, I wanted to capture places with people, create interactive panoramas of events, trails, beaches, ice skating rinks, the places where people actually go. The OpenView Project is just this, a way for anyone to create interactive panoramas, and share them to create a new way to view the world … if thereâ€™s anything Iâ€™ve learned in the 27 years Iâ€™ve been alive, itâ€™s that being part of something is far more exciting than just being a spectator.
And how do Longson and his team accomplish this? With the Trike – a recumbent bicycle and a daisy chain of cameras – of course. It’s all Open Source with instructions.
Jay Longson (my brother), Brent Heyning, and I [have built a] panoramic camera on top of a recumbent tricycle, weâ€™ll be able to cover a huge amount of distance, and get the chance to create interactive panoramas of bike trails, boardwalks, farmers markets, concerts … the Burning Man art festival. Instead of just using Google Street View as a spectator, weâ€™ll be building a creative commons of snapshots in time of places all over the world. Weâ€™ll be publishing instructions to show you how to do it too, and building an open source service to act as a clearing house for the data.
These folks aren’t amateurs. They had to make the cameras work in unison and look at all this other heavy duty equipment they use to create panoramas.
Check out their posts and panoramas from Burning Man. Social Animal’s 360 HD technology and output for Hollywod is amazing, but their blueprints and methods aren’t open source. And SA’s booth didn’t have a fun-loving Scotsman in it called Haggis.
Can you imagine a better venue for the Open View Project’s Trike than the Krewe du Vieux or St. Anne’s parade? Or Jazzfest? Or any gathering in the city? We have to get these guys to New Orleans! Or, even better, start our own New Orleans Open View Projects. That’s what giving away technology is all about, right?