Like most people (well, those that matter anyway), I’m intrigued by the idea of creating a map mash-up (Virtual Earth Interactive SDK is a good place to start).
First time I saw the whole web maps concept though, I thought, wow, this would be great for celebrity stalking (my idea was called BertAlert…long story, but essentially, people could email, web touch, or SMS a location where they spotted Bert Newton, and it would show a constant trail of where Bert had been! Kind of counter-Saddam. Ch10 slammed that idea ;0) or trying to map ones own travels.
But lately, with all the goodness buzzing around with social ping services such as Twitter, I’ve been thinking, most of us store a bunch of info about what we’re doing, where we’re going, and who we’re seeing, so there has to be more to map mash-ups than push pins and gratuitous mashing… right?
Twitter and services like it are cool, but as with most of the emerging webNxt services, they rely heavily on user maintenance. Problem is, as much as I’d love to leverage the interaction model (from me to my socnet), I can’t be stuffed updating all my info. As with most things, I store the most detailed (and therefor, richest base) of info in one app, say Outlook, then replicate that information in other places in reducing levels of quality.
Again, for example, I keep very detailed accounts of my meetings, etc. in Outlook, but then have to update certain team sites with categorized movements (like when I’m traveling to Sydney).
Then there is all my travel info, all stored reliably in Qantas’ or Virgin’s booking system, as are most of my friends who travel interstate for work.
So how do I start to bind in some of these services into critical data to mash-up my own stories? Well, there are plumbing services like Yahoo Pipes starting to emerge, which provide a very important service of moving data around to service endpoints such as Twitter, but alas, there is still something missing.
Again, let me get back to my requirement. When ever I travel, I constantly bump into good friends completely randomly. I’ll be walking out of the lobby elevator, and I’ll bump into a colleague, and the first thing we say is, “What are you doing here? I didn’t know you were coming into town!”. I would love to subscribe (seamlessly and without having to reproduce info) to a service, connect it to my socnet, then have it tell me that based on info it has, and info from my socnet, that there is going to be a meeting point between me and someone I care about.
Or, the other instance. The whole “what I do influences my friends, and vice versa” intrigues me. I mean, I visit lots of little cafes and restaurants, as do my friends. And every so often, I’ll be chatting to someone, and they’ll say, “Hey, have you checked out that cafe?”. Now, either I have, or I haven’t. Thing is, if they discovered a groovy cafe that stocks my favorite style of food two weeks ago (pizza as an abstract example ;>), I kind of want to know that then, not two weeks later. Again, if there was some way to easily track that info, and share it with friends, and have the service to the link up for me, then that would rock. Again, there are some dependencies on certain technologies becoming ubiquitous, like GPS in phones, but you get the gist.
And finally, I want to see all this info on a map. But not always a high res, high quality map, but sometimes, just a very simple, mobile based outline. Like the one someone draws on a napkin, lightweight, easy to understand, completely relational rather than perspective.
Either way, as the layers of the web start to separate, and the concept of moving data from my local high value stores into the cloud, then connecting those stores through pipes with processing services, and finally into intelligent decision making services gets closer, I’m pretty sure tracking down Bert at my favorite pizza restaurant is not too far away!