The rise of mobile devices has allowed everyone to discover what those of us in public works have always known – geospatial technology is cool! Now everyone wants to know where people and things are and how to find them. Games and other applications are being developed based on location-based information. And to meet this increasing interest, Penn State Public Broadcasting has created a media-based outreach initiative. Their mission is "to expand public knowledge about the history, applications, related privacy and legal issues, and the potential future of location-based technologies."
The U.S. federal government is continuing in their efforts to deliver data with the launch of the Geospatial Platform.
"The Geospatial Platform will be a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services, and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure, for use by government agencies and partners to meet their mission needs and the broader needs of the Nation."
The Institute for Geospatial Analysis & Mapping (GEOMAP) showed up in Second Life late last month on Geo Island – a sim set up by Zeppo Romano for the Geography-Geology Department at Illinois State University. The Institute supports research, education, and training, and community outreach activities.
This build has also been interesting to me for reasons other than its GIS-based content. I found it by searching for GIS in the Second Life search function. After stopping by to check it out, I bumped into Zeppo, a professor at ISU who teaches geology classes on the island for the university. After talking for a few minutes we realized that we are both from the same small town community in Illinois and had actually met in real life.
He also told me our local paper was going to publish a story about his Second Life activities and sure enough about a week or so later, he was on the front page of the paper with the title “Second Life.” I have to admit that I thought it would be some time before our paper put Second Life on the front page, but I am happy to say I was wrong. Our paper also did a great job covering Zeppo’s work in Second Life, and the reporter, Matthew Baker, treated the topic with the respect and serious attention that it deserves. (Zeppo has a copy of the article near the GEOMAP building.)
So I like to stop back at Zeppo’s Geo Island. Not only because of the GIS content, but because it is one of the few places in Second Life that has ties to where I live in real life. And for me somehow that makes Second Life even more real to me.