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Google: The Tyranny of Ambient Location - Ephemeral Maps

Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 3:30 pm


Maps are more used today than at any point in our history. Many of us use maps every day, some many times a day, as access to maps delivered via app on the mobile devices we all carry are as much part of our lives today as credit cards and reading glasses! The term map is itself is perhaps no longer appropriate as the maps are in-fact visualizations of massive real-time databases that mirror the world around us.

There is behind these highly interactive maps a network of services providing a real-time nervous system of road and rail conditions, weather, the temperature of our homes and even how busy our favorite pub is. This system I term ambient location and it will form a key building block of the future smart cities we will inhabit.

But, and of course there is a but, this real-time mirror of the world is by its very nature very different from the world view reflected in cartography and the traditional maps of the past. Modern maps on our mobile phones are ephemeral to the extreme, only representing the world as it is now, rejecting the past to analytical use at best but in most cases irrelevance.

How we have reached this point and to what extent is this a problem and how might we address the issues, are the topics of this lecture.

Ed Parsons has spent more than 20 years working in the world of geographical information systems (GIS), both in universities and in industry with companies such as Google and Ordnance Survey. In 2006, Mr. Parsons set up his own company, Open Geomatics and, since 2007, he has been Google's GeoSpatial Technologist, which includes developing and promoting products such as Google Maps, Google Map Maker and Street View.

All students, faculty and staff members are welcome to attend!

Make sure to register here to show your interest in attending the talk. You can check Ed Parsons previous talks at CEU through the following link:

The Spatial Mapping and Analysis Research Group (SMARG) aims to be a focal point of the University geospatial research and teaching activities. Initiated and hosted by the Environmental Systems Laboratory, the Research Group brings together faculty, researchers and students from various units interested in application of geospatial methods and technologies, such as interactive online mapping, satellite imagery, crowd-sourcing, and mobile technologies.