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, 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.

About the author

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth’s tech and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. Originally from the UK, Charlie worked in Singapore before arriving in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up online real estate business, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie ran In 2013, he moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and then worked for the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. He also writes a column for Business News on startups. Charlie sits on the advisory boards of WA Leaders, TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

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  1. […] With the tantalizing smell of hot pizza starting to waft through the air, the last speaker of the evening Charlie Gunningham from REIWA took to the stage and enraptured GeoRabblers with a tale of success, entrepreneurship and geospatial history. From mad Saturday morning rushes navigating the cityscape streets with nothing more than a street map-book and a handwritten trajectory in hand, was born the idea of placing real-estate sale advertisements onto an online map. It was an idea that then set the stage for real-estate websites across the world today. For some GeoRabblers the tale was a fond trip down memory lane, for others a unique chance to hear the history first-hand of the technology that is standard of the day. (Charlie reviews his first GeoRabble here) […]

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