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Issue Date: July – 2008, Posted On: 6/30/2008

GeoWeb 2008 Conference: Attend. Network. Learn.

Online Exclusive

By Ron Lake

The GeoWeb is concerned with the standards and technology that enable the local and global sharing of information about the world. It’s about the impact of geographic information on the Web as well as the effect of the Web on the acquisition, processing, distribution and utilization of geographic information.

GeoWeb 2008 is the only conference worldwide to deal solely with the GeoWeb and provide a forum to discuss and explore the standards and technologies needed to drive it. Attendees also discuss the associated economic, social and environmental benefits.
The GeoWeb is a convergence of technologies: GIS and the Web, of course, but also the convergence of building information modeling (BIM), CAD, GIS and games.
The GeoWeb is evolving from a variety of directions, including enterprise and pan-enterprise business-process integration; spatial data infrastructures; the move to “Web services” in the IT industry; and the rise of the major search engines, telecom companies and GPS vendors as dominant GIS players.

Active Discussions

All of these “points of departure” will be actively discussed at the GeoWeb conference, and by parties as diverse as national defense and homeland security to “neo-geo” applications for real estate information. The ever-broadening deployment of geographic information has clearly outgrown the term GIS.
GeoWeb conference participants will meet to discuss technologies, architectures and applications as well as the broader intent and philosophical underpinnings of a GeoWeb. How do you see the GeoWeb? As a regional or planetary accounting system? As technologies to assist with a more “green” agenda? As a means to entertain, bind and sell advertisements? As a foundation for urban planning and design? As infrastructure to enable rapid information sharing in a national or regional emergency?
Clearly, the GeoWeb is impacting existing mapping and geographic institutions in ways none of us clearly understand. Will the search engines drive INSPIRE to extinction or provide the foundation to realize its most profound objectives?
A key factor in enabling the GeoWeb is the use of standards. Standards such as TCP/IP, HTTP and HTML were the keys to the first-generation Web. Now standards such as OGC KML, GML, WFS, OASIS SAML/XACML, JSON, RSS and a host of others are key to a new generation of the Web in which user interaction, provision of services and geography are key.
There has been a lot of press about Web 2.0 (and Web 3.0), emphasizing user interaction and user-generated data. The new GeoWeb involves all of these elements.

Technology Convergence

One of the major themes for GeoWeb 2008 is the convergence of GIS/CAD/BIM/games. Simply put, it brings the world of built infrastructure (which is necessarily 3-D) and explicit collaboration into the GeoWeb.
This is a significant extension, as the highest-value geographic information clearly is large-scale information—design information—whether for highways, buildings or transit systems. It also emphasizes the sustainable development of city models, which will help plan, analyze and manage the world in which we live.
To provide focus to these discussions, the GeoWeb 2008 conference offers a rich program of workshops, technical presentations, keynote addresses and invited speakers. Although space doesn’t suffice to cover all of these topics, consider just a few examples:
Want to know what Google and Microsoft are up to? Attend a workshop on Google Weather and KML or one on the new Microsoft geographic technologies. Listen to Michael Jones, chief technology advocate for Google, or John Curlander, general manager for Microsoft Virtual Earth Business Unit, describe their visions of the GeoWeb.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget the traditional world of GIS, and, as always, ESRI has moved quickly to unite with the world of the GeoWeb. Come and listen to Alex Miller, founder and president, ESRI Canada Ltd., explain the role of GIS servers and their new integration with search engines and Web services.
Need a deeper understanding of core XML technologies such as XSLT and XQuery that underpin the GeoWeb? Then listen to one of the world leaders in XML technology: Michael Kay, author of Saxon and a leading writer on XLST and XQuery.
Want to know how BIM and collaboration can impact the AEC sector, then listen to Kimon Onuma, FAIA, and attend his exciting BIMStorm Vancouver session. See where the world of architectural design is headed.
Think that user-generated information is key, but you’re concerned about data quality? Listen to leading GIS thinker Michael Goodchild as he explores these critical issues.

Papers and Contests

The conference technical papers cover a broad range of topics from new technologies and approaches to the application of the GeoWeb to city planning, maritime defense, situational awareness for homeland security, environmental protection and vehicle navigation. A particular theme this year is the convergence of GIS/CAD/BIM, and roughly a dozen papers deal with this topic. This will be the central focus of the conference in 2009, which will feature a separate academic track. The conference in 2009 will be called GeoWeb 2009 – Cityscapes.
GeoWeb 2008 features the first GeoWeb student contest, which was open to full-time students worldwide. The contest seeks to encourage students to contribute to the GeoWeb through software development and theoretical investigations. Two prizes will be awarded at GeoWeb 2008, and the students will have their expenses paid to attend.
The GeoWeb 2008 conference wouldn’t be possible without the support of its sponsors. Platinum Sponsors for 2008 include Microsoft, ESRI and Google; while Gold Sponsors include the Integrated Land Management Bureau of the province of British Columbia, DigitalGlobe and Safe Software. The Silver and Bronze sponsors are Pitney-Bowes MapInfo and ScanEx Research & Development Center, respectively.
GeoWeb organizers would like to thank all of the sponsors for their support in addition to all of the vendors that will be participating.
Of course, no conference is successful without the active participation of its attendees. Abstract submission was up some 60 percent over 2007, and early registration was up 86 percent.
This will be a great conference. Attend. Network. Learn. You won’t regret it.

For further details, please visit the Web at