I attended my first GeoRabble the other day, a kind of BarCamp for GIS geeks (mapping technology folk). I’ve always loved maps, from my early days at school poring over the intricate Ordnance Survey maps (“what’s the distance from the post office to the school house Gunningham?”).
Set upstairs at the Leederville Hotel, attendees get a few beers on the bar tab, pizza and hear 10-minute presentations from 5 people. Anyone speaking for more than their time got buzzed off, and no one could mention their company or have any branding on their slides. It was for the love of mapping technology only.
Five very different presentations too – the CEO of Landgate spoke about the amazing times we live in, an ESRI guy made the point that we don’t just “do maps”, we “solve problems” and put up an amazing map showing cyclones around Australia over the past century. It looked like an exploded straw hat. No cyclones in Perth I was glad to see. But plenty up over the north west shelf. Another speaker bemoaned the lack of understanding in the wider industry for “what we do”, and showed how when doing tax returns there is no option for their job. A couple of Canadians showed some 3-D spatial fly throughs of their PhD work, and I spoke about the history of Aussiehome.com, which we reckoned was the world’s first interactive map based property site, developed 7 years before Google Maps. By coincidence, one of our first GIS techies was listening, and I hadn’t seen him for 13 years.
It just goes to show what cool tech stuff is being created all over Perth – plus their passion for what they do. 100 attendees from a specific corner of the tech industry, meeting at a bar once a month or so to listen to what various people have been up to. As one of the few non techies there, I was happy to have been invited and get a glimpse of what the clever GIS folks are up to.