geography + the future

Coleman McCormick


vp :: spatial networks, inc.

mapping products company

clearwater, fl

using / making geo technology to solve problems + answer questions

some things we build:


data collection mobile app platform


an iOS app for simple, fast editing of OpenStreetMap

over 60k edits to OSM


enough about me

where we're headed in geo

geo is ubiquitous

maps as default interfaces

people are location sensors

datastreams are geospatial

so geo is important

3 themes

collaboration + sharing

community growth



new tools for collaboration

new tools enabling

new data

new users

new contributors

inviting active participation by community

[some examples]


code collab platform

not just for code anymore

code →
documents →

version control →
content publishing →
data warehousing

clone → edit → pull request → merge

data becomes a living resource

not just a file download

distributed, versioned storage for map data

geogit shp import fire_hydrants.shp
# make changes in GIS
geogit add
geogit commit -m "Added new hydrants"
geogit push fire_hydrants_master

Lowering the bar for making / using geographic information

this is cool

smart + passionate people can volunteer help

gov't engaging citizens

(more on this later)


community growth

geo is
to new industries

real estate



humanitarian aid

communities are sprouting up, bringing new people into the fold




these informal venues invite new people with an interest in geo

cycling, kayaking, hiking, skiing, hunting, running, camping

etc, etc

OpenStreetMap → community of millions of mappers

collaboratively building a map of the world

free to edit, free to use

OSM is democratizing spatial information

contributors get to make the data + use the data

making mapping social

+ across the internet

burgeoning use in gov

portland trimet

cleveland parks

national park service

usf tripplanner

expansion of the geo community

making GIS part of everyday lives


education + geography

less about where geo is headed

but where we could + should be headed

let's make geography a part of education

teaching geo in

elementary, middle, high school

something is missing

what other tacks can we take to teach youth?

teaching with zombies

(+ improving OSM)

creative, unconventional approaches to teaching mapping

latch on to things kids can respond to

this is just scratching the surface

we're in a unique position to capitalize on new expansion of geo technology