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GeoNext Conference review

The GeoNext conference was held in Sydney recently for the Geo Community as an event focusing on location-based technology and businesses. At GLiNTECH we’d been playing in this space a bit - most recently with our _BLiPS - so were interested in some of the general trends in the world of geospatial technology.

We found the event wasn’t specifically a technical one aimed at the nitty-gritty of development but tended to lean more towards high-level discussions about what the technology can do, rather than specifically how it’s developed. Nonetheless, it was of course still very interesting to hear about the ideas behind some of the technologies and the ways people are thinking of using them across many industries.

Naturally, there were talks about the things commonly associated with geospatial technology - things like meteorology and GPS which we’re all now so familiar with whenever we check a weather forecast or an online map. But there were also discussions about how the technology could be used in trends which are still growing (and growing quickly) like the potential of e-wallets for mobile or “frictionless” payments, tracking public transport, monitoring air pollution or ‘mapping’ data that comes from social trends - i.e. applying geo-location to the likes of Twitter.

The data that sits behind these sorts of technologies was a recurring talking point - a kind of ‘data debate’. From a developer’s perspective, having comprehensive data to work with is great - the better the data, the better you’re able to develop interesting new ways to use it. So, the question was raised as to whether large entities - think of Governments - should be opening up their location data to the public in order to promote more innovation and opportunities in this field.

A case - most would probably say a benefit - for accessing public data can be seen in something like Google maps which is now so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. An interesting point the conference addressed was that it’s easy to forget that we - the everyday person tapping away on our smart phone - didn’t always have it that way and that it was actually only relatively recently that things like GPS were opened to the public, rather than restricted only to the military (this being from a US perspective).

Organisations like Governments will no doubt continue to have concerns, some of them legitimate, over the access to the public data, but there are some excellent demonstrations of the widespread good and usefulness of the technologies that can come from having more open data. Either way, it seems the call for more open data will only get louder, particularly when you consider what future innovations might come from the immense amount of data that will be gained through the next generation of geospatial technology (think again of e-wallets as an example).

Also spoken about were geo-location based mobile programs which are being developed to offer convenience to users, where the stunning technology now available offers the capability to convert a plain two-dimensional item into a two-dimensional object. This creates a different perspective on the technology; one that will definitely attract users’ attention and deliver the information more clearly. And when that happens, it’s probably the best outcome for both developer and user.

The GeoNext conference gave enough overview to confirm that the geospace is an exciting one with plenty of change ahead. It’s certainly one that the GLiNTECH R&D team are looking forward to having more fun with.

Thank you to the organisers of GeoNext who invited GLiNTECH to attend the conference.