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August 2nd, 2008
GeoWeb 2008: Infrastructure for Interoperability

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The 2008 GeoWeb Conference took place in Vancouver, BC, Canada from July  21-25. This growing event attracts an international audience of developers and technical managers with its strong focus on the underpinnings of the GeoWeb that has continued on from its start as GML Days.

The 2008 GeoWeb Conference took place in Vancouver, BC, Canada from July  21-25. This growing event attracts an international audience of developers and technical managers with its strong focus on the underpinnings of the GeoWeb that has continued on from its start as GML Days.

“The GeoWeb is not some application of GIS technology, nor is it InternetGIS—it IS the Web,” stated Ron Lake, chairman and CEO of Galdos Systems and Chair of the GeoWeb conference.

The event started with two full days of workshops. On these days, attendees were afforded in-depth training with hands-on components for subjects ranging from OGC standards, using geospatial imagery online, 3D geospatial project implementation, and geospatial data quality. These subjects were complemented by presentations regarding specific toolsets from Autodesk, ESRI, Microsoft, Google and the Open Source community.

Three days of conference sessions from Wednesday through Friday, offered plenary sessions with high-level keynotes as well as concurrent break-out sessions. The individual application presentations tended to bend toward implementation details rather than business case. It wasn’t uncommon to see slides of code, and to hear discussions of standards-based approaches, often with good give and take from audience members. There are many approaches to GeoWeb deployments and the attendees of this event were very curious about each others experiences and very supportive of those that are pushing down barriers.

The platinum sponsors of the event were a telling combination of Google, Microsoft Virtual Earth and ESRI. Realizing the vision of the GeoWeb requires a considerable investment in data, software and hardware, and these three companies are at the forefront of that investment. A small exhibit area highlighted other players and sponsors that are making inroads in online geospatial data and services delivery.

The keynote presentations from the platinum sponsors provided good insight into varying strategy. I reported extensively on each of these presentations, and you can view details from each talk at the following links:
Wed., July 23 – Alex Miller, CEO, ESRI Canada
Thurs., July 24 – Michael Jones, Chief Technology Advocate, Google
Fri., July 25 – Bill Gail, director, Microsoft Virtual Earth

This year’s event had the theme, “Infrastrucutre: Local to Global.” The theme expands the notion of spatial data infrastructure with its focus on national and international base maps, to include the details that underpin our urban activities. Plans are underway to expand the conference in the direction of digital city models for next year, including an academic symposium. There’s great excitement in this community to tie together GIS data with online services and 3D models. If you’re interested in getting involved in the technical means to bring this vision about, this conference is a must.

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