London Geo/Mobile Developers Meetup review

 In location

On Thursday 27th November, around 40 location developers attended the first London Geo/Mobile Developers Meetup at Google HQ in London.

Given my nearly 4 years working with some of the world’s location pioneers at Seeker Wireless, I feel quite qualified to tackle the subject of location and in particular location based advertising.

First up was Gary Gale who is Head of UK Engineering, Yahoo! Geo Technologies

He gave a quick overview of the Yahoo! Fire Eagle initiative (which is a great service and I use all the time)

He explained that Fire Eagle provides a switchboard or broker interface to other location applications that can help answer the following questions:

  • where am I
  • where are friends
  • what’s near me
  • what’s relevant

Next up was Nick Black from Cloudmade/Open StreetMap

Openstreetmap is essentially a crowdsourced google maps (but so much more), and Cloudmade is one of the first commercial companies to commercialise the openstreetmap project.  Nick is a smart guy.

He explained that there are now 78,000 registered on open street map. It is free and online, and anyone can contribute to the project – essentially mapping out the world, one street at a time.

He outlined the 5 things you can’t do easily with online maps

  1. Customise look and feel – you have to hack CSS to make beautiful sites

– let users set their backgrounds and theme colours eg Twitter
– I want people to leave my site with my brand in their mind

  1. Print a high quality map

– hard to print a high quality map from today’s online map services

  1. Access the 3rd dimension

– show me what I can see from here
– How high am I right now?
– hill shading and colouring and great but view sheds are better

(View sheds help you see what you can see from a point – eg plan a walking route to see the sea most of the way)

  1. Display vector data – I can see the road but I can’t feel it

  2. Turn by Turn direction

– with GPS and WiFi I know where I am
– turn by turn direction is limited with today’s online maps

It was them my turn, and in my allotted 10 minutes I outlined the challenges, and opportunities for location based advertising.

Interestingly, on the morning of the presentation, I met with a major advertising agency in London, and one of the things they quizzed me on was “why hasn’t location and location advertising taken off yet”

The presentation (embedded below) went well and I even received this comment on twitter from @sigizmund who said …and this mobile advertising presentation was surprisingly interesting!

Gary has also uploaded some photos of the event, and his own review of the event on the ygeoblog.

The evening would not have been such a success without the tireless work of the organiser Chris Osbourne, so thanks Chris for organising this and for Google for hosting the evening.

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.