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About Data    |   November 24, 2010   |   By Michael Weisman

WhereCamp5280 Recap: Google, Polymaps and More

Last week I attended WhereCamp5280 in Denver, in addition to the pre-camp “Hookybob”. It was a fun couple days of nerding out with others in the industry, and it was great catching up with old friends and making new ones, while learning a lot at this unconference.

Josh Livini demoed Google's latest geo products.Perhaps the most interesting talk I attended was on Google’s latest geo products with Google’s Josh Livini. First, Josh demoed Google’s custom map styling; something that everyone was interested in, but no one had actually used. (Recently Google added the ability to customize the look of maps in Google Maps API applications.) The Google Maps API Styled Map Wizard presents an easy-to-use wizard to generate custom styles for maps. Josh spent most of his talk on Fusion Tables, a cloud database that recently gained spatial data support and makes creating simple Google Maps applications with your data extremely easy.

Polymaps, a JavaScript Library for making web maps that uses tiled vector data.Another great talk was on Polymaps (http://polymaps.org), a JavaScript Library for making web maps that uses tiled vector data. Polymaps is an open source tool similar to OpenLayers, but designed from the ground up to take advantage of some of the latest browser technologies (I believe it only works properly in Safari, Chrome, or the latest beta of Firefox) such as SVG with CSS styling, just like non-spatial components of a webpage. Geocommons came out with a good example of this just before WhereCamp5280, when they announced a beta HTML5 version of their platform based on Polymaps.

Discussions at WhereCamp5280 on corporate use of OpenStreetMapOther great talks included discussions on corporate use of OpenStreetMap (Esri, AOL, Microsoft, and Safe all have, or plan to have, support for OSM or products that incorporate OSM data), a discussion on making spatial data findable by Google, and of course the conversations in the hall and at the after party were often just as informative as the official talks.

Thanks to Steve for putting on such a great event (apparently in 6 hours!) and to the Battys for hosting the after party. This was a great event, and it makes me even more excited about next year’s State of the Map and FOSS4G which are being planned by many of the same people involved in WhereCamp5280.


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