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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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July 27, 2007 3:45 PM

See World in New Light Through Online Map-Making

Found two separate but related articles I wanted to share with you all this afternoon.

First up, a great New York Times article about how web applications are reshaping the world of cartography, aka making maps.

It highlights a handful of the tools that are available for both finding and creating maps, while also delving into a discussion of how the old paradigm of maps not being easily accessible and taking too much effort to generate, especially for niche interests, is being upended online.

Serendipitously, today I also came across this listing on Mashable.com of more than 50 tools and resources for online maps.

In this list you’ll find an incredible array of things to do with online maps, including:

- Build custom Google maps to post on your website

- View and/or add to a user-editable map of the world

- Check out a map that reflects current traffic conditions in your area

- Plot out a custom running course

- Analyze a map showing the paths of tornados

And so much more.

One particularly interesting area of growth from a bandwidth-intensive perspective is the increasing number of ways in which to incorporate multimedia elements into a map, like video from a particular location or point in time. Like this site.

At first blush, maps may not seem to demand all that much bandwidth, but that’s just not the case anymore as they're gaining new functionality each and every day.

What I also started to think about while reading through this list and the New York Times article was a conversation I had during my trip to Lafayette, LA when I sat down with Keith Thibodeaux, the parish’s CIO.

During our talk, his GIS—or global information systems, which are essentially maps, though much more detailed and dynamic—guy came in to chat. He began discussing how the government is using GIS systems to do things like track government vehicles in real-time and gain a better understanding of how the different pieces of the city fit together.

While most of the work they’re doing with GIS today involves running the application locally, only pulling in little bits of data from outside sources like the wireless sensors they’re installing on government vehiciles, he shared with me that one of the primary files they use, which includes a high-res image of the parish layered with things like where underground cables are located, is 60GB.

That’s a huge file, and one that will only grow as additional information and higher resolution images are added. It’s also a file that at some point in the not too distant file will likely start needing to be pushed around over the network to remote offices and on-site personnel.

So to make a long story short, mapmaking is undergoing a technological revolution, and as it continues to do so its demand for bandwidth is going nowhere but up, up, up.

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