Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Google maps talk in Sydney by creator

Google maps were originally developed in Australia and one of the founders of the original company, Dr Lars Rasmussen, now a Google employee, is giving a talk at the Powerhouse museum, "From Australia to the World – The Rise & Rise of Google Maps" on 2 July.

It should be an interesting presentation both on how an Australian company 'made it' on the world stage (having to sell itself to a US company in the process) and on the importance of maps for visualising data.

Google maps have played a key role in informing and supporting people through a number of disasters (including Victorian bushfires) over the last several years - picking up the load where government provided services were not able to cope with peak traffic.

Note this isn't a criticism of government emergency services - it's a reflection on how public agencies rely on the private sector to support them, just as the government relies on traditional media to get disaster information out to the community rather than creating its own specific disaster TV channels, radio stations or newspapers.

Governments can use existing online services to support them in the same way - just as the Vic Premier's office relied on a free gadget creation tool, Facebook, Youtube and other free online services to communicate messages about the bushfires.

I think there is an ongoing need for increasing government collaboration with private services such as Google maps and other mapping services provided by companies such as Microsoft, OpenLayers and open street map.

Why should government provide a service where the private sector does it as well, if not better, than the public sector can?

1 comment:

  1. Because building clunky, useless mapping applications keeps whole sections of staff employed