Where Africa and Technology Collide!

WhereCamp 2008 Rundown

I’m glad that I decided to stay the 2 extra days following Where 2.0 in order to attend WhereCamp 2008, held at Google’s offices. Frankly, I don’t think you could come up with a better venue. Dusty, Ryan and Anslem did a great job of pulling it all together. We lacked for nothing; WiFi, food, beverages, good conversations, and talks.

Mikel leading a discussion on time

It was a real trip to be amongst some of these true geo/mapping gurus, which led to some great discussions. A few memorable ones:

  • The 4th dimension: Time
  • Are the big map providers (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) destroying the mapping ecosystem?
  • Using ham radio for location using APRS
  • Open Streetmap on how to get better data and simplify the user experience

Of all these discussions I was most interested in the one on “time”. It’s one of the areas that we felt made Ushahidi so much more usable, and so we’re trying to figure out ways to make it even more useful in the next iteration. Time is one of the few variables that hasn’t been well represented in map visualizations, but I think this year will see that change significantly.

And, of course, the lightning rounds were a lot of fun. Each person had 5 minutes to talk about whatever they liked. We heard about everything from geocaching games to visualizing crime via heatmaps, to NNDB’s mapper tool that allows you to map relationships between people and things.

Google Tent

Google handed out tents for all of us, so there were quite a few who camped out in the open area over night. Great way to keep people around, and a fun little item to remember the event by.

[more images on Flickr]


  1. So did you stay in your tent on site? No photos? Mapping using ‘time’ would be VERY interesting. I’m excited to see what may come of adding the new dimension.

  2. so what are the upcoming tools for time in maps? I obviously have a horse in this race (http://code.google.com/p/timemap), but it would be good to know what else is out there – say, for example, if Google was about to release something new to make further work irrelevant :)…

  3. are you still in MV?! It’s my first week at Google. Awesome!

  4. @Nick – We’re not sure. That’s why the whole idea of how to use/represent “time” in maps is so exciting right now. Stick with us and help us figure it out!

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