Neogeography. What is it, where did this term come from and how does it affect me? I was readying an article by Michael Goodchild that was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Location Based Services (http://tiny.cc/eE6s7) which talked about how volunteered geographic information and the technologies that support this is blurring the lines between academic/professional spatial scientist and keen amateur. Neogeography is the buzz word that caters to the rise of new geography technologies used by non experts in the area of collecting and sharing information that is spatially referenced.
Reference how many mash-ups are now available with API’s such as Google Maps and Bing Maps. These mash-ups are now common place and contain information that was collected, published and referenced by those who might not have a GIS degree but are quite into new technologies and social media interaction. Apps for Democracy (http://www.appsfordemocracy.org/), Geovation (http://www.geovation.org.uk/), Gov2.0 Mashup Australia (http://mashupaustralia.org/) are examples of Neogeographers who have innovative idea’s making it known to the wider audience.
This explosion of new ideas and use of spatial data is leaving government and private organisations behind in how a neogeographer can be a critical link in how data is collected and disseminated to the wider community.
This got me thinking about how we manage government data and make this accessible to the community. Working in a leading state land agency within Australia the use of data is something that crosses my desk day to day. Time and time again, data becomes outdated, un-trusted and eventually cost prohibitive to bring back up to speed.
Web 2.0; if anything has opened the possibility for government to take a lead role in engagement with the community to leverage the local knowledge of individuals to deliver data that is accurate, stays accurate and becomes trusted. The Open Street Map initiative is a prime example of the community leveraging Web 2.0 technologies to produce a product that is greater than any one government agency could produce. (http://www.openstreetmap.org/)
Government is good at governance and this is the strength government can bring to the table in engaging with neogeographers. There is no value for government to continue to try and absorb with all components of a data value chain. Focus attention and developed the process for neogeographers to access, use and most importantly feed back data changes will ultimately lead to a greater benefit for those in government, thos in the private sector and those who are taking neogeography to the next level.
We are all observers in our local environments. Lets open access to data and ensure that if I make an update to some data that it is easily recorded, absorbed, processed and fed back out into the community.
Image Source (http://conferences.oreillynet.com/where2007/)