Where 2.0 conference

By Lindsay Sill, Project Manager, Calgary

I just got back from attending the Where 2.0 in San Jose. It is a conference that discusses everything having to do with technology and location, making it very relevant to the GeoCENS project.

It was a larger conference, over 900 attendees*, with the majority in attendance coming from industry. I managed to find the small group of academics in attendance, as I think we all fit around one lunch table.

I discovered many of the latest mapping initiatives going on — an extremely competitive market! I suppose that competition fuels innovation. If you want to be successful, you must make a better product than everyone else. I learned about companies I already knew about (ie. Google's plans to launch a modified, more interactive street view map this year) and those I knew very little about (ie. ZoomAtlas, and Foursquare). OpenStreetMap had the best story as to the direct impacts of technology and locations. A thousand people in Haiti contributed to building a map of Port-au-Prince to help volunteers navigate the rubble to find and save victims of the Earthquake. This effort was complimented by satellite image technology.

I had the opportunity to tour the new Audi car with the Google navigation system installed in the dash. It has 3D topography, Google Earth ( which provides three-dimensional satellite and aerial imagery for the entire globe), real-time traffic and navigation capabilities and is linked to Google's search functions. It is set to be released in the Audi A8 in 2011.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in location and mapping check out Where 2.0 next year!

*Getting this attendance number proved to be a bit challenging. Upon checking into the registration desk, I asked the staff how many people attend the conference. They replied that it is too early to provide me with a number. I asked for a ball park, and got the same response. Hundreds? Thousands? I then asked for the attendance figures from last year, given that this is the sixth annual Where 2.0. The response I got was "due to privacy policy issues, we are unable to provide you with that information". I was left speechless. First thing, I wasn't aware that that sort of information was confidential. Secondly, I have planned a few conferences and know that it would be challenging to book rooms and arrange catering without knowing if 100 or 2000 people were attending.