Today the Summer Camp was blessed with a visit from Dr. Michael Goodchild from UC Santa Barbara. He was in town to speak at our colloquium w/ ESRI on VGI and what it means, but our class got to spend an hour with him discussing what else he’s been working on besides VGI. And no Andrew, I didn’t give away all your VGI secrets.
It sounds he’s interested in re-visiting how we do metadata. It depends upon VGI and the state of current technology from what he alluded to. He spoke of tags and ontologies and how the technology already describes what the data is for really well. What metadata today really doesn’t tell us—if we ever bother to look at it or write it—is how it has been used, what it’s good for, and how uncertain it is. And he went on to talk about how accuracy is out dated for today and how uncertainty is really what we’re wanting to know. So he sees the change in the world and wants to apply it so the rest of us really aren’t living in a world of paleo-metadata standards.
The other thing he spoke of was really about gazetteers, and he speaks of changing how we look at naming places. It takes a bit of VGI to do this. He and I went on about the First Law of Geography in terms of how persons volunteer the information around them. He speaks of involvement, ownership; I brought up the human need to justify our existence. What I should have recommended was the use of “Generation M: Me, MyMaps, MySpace” in his talks to describe this, but he’s the doctor… I’m not. BTW: I used that in a talk at the UC about two or three years ago.
We got on the topic of social networks and space and that was really interesting. Again, the First Law came up and I brought up the “compulsion of proximity” (pg. 257) about how people flock to like people. He also talked about how early mapping of social networks geographers would distort the physical space, but that really doesn’t represent the connections well and is kind of a poor—but fun—use of visualizing information via geography.
It was an hour well spent. Actually, he made me wonder why I was at Redlands getting a Master’s versus getting a PhD at Santa Barbara. He did praise Redlands as one of the best programs for what it is, with being a year long and having the resources that ESRI provides. Redlands might be the only year-long program? Also, he recommended talking to another one of his students who was working on something similar, so that is always helpful.
Then later this afternoon it was time for his presentation at our colloquium. It went really well. Jack was there for those of you who care. He went into a number of things that the whole social software world discusses, but with the focus on geographic information. He talked about the difference between authoritative versus assertive sources in mapping. Brought up how Don Cooke calls himself a “paleogeographer,” but how the only difference between him and the neogeographers is that their shirts are untucked and his isn’t. He used Open Street Map, Wikimapia, and Google Earth as examples.
Overall, Dr. Goodchild gave a good presentation about where the geospatial world is and asks what’s going to happen next and how is it going to effect us all.
I apologize that this post doesn’t capture everything, but it’s something.
Now, where is that UCSB application form?