chrishaller's blog

Analyzing Visual Impacts

I just ran into a nice example showing off Google Earth's abilities to analyze visual impacts on the Ogle Earth Blog:

New York hasn't been home to the world's tallest buildingsince 1974, when the title went from One World Trade Center toChicago's Sears Tower. Since then, it's shifted to the Petronas Towersin Kuala Lumpur (undeserved, in my view

The Long Tail

The Long Tail is a phenomenon that is reshaping the landscape of commerce - what influence could it have on eParticipation?

Wired editor, Chris Anderson, unleashed a whirlwind of discussion when his article "The Long Tail" appeared in the October 2004 issue of Wired. He had found a useful way of getting to grips with just how digital technologies can shift the landscape, particular for commerce.

He points out that half of the iTunes or Amazons sales are made bymedia that hasn't made it into the stores. This is the Long Tail, a newmarket in times when production and storage space are close to free.

Can we transfer this concept, and what would that mean on our way from traditional civic engagement to online participation?

Jason Kitcat has spend some thoughts on this on his blog:

The reality obviously isn't that a nation isn't at one level oranother. Different people participate at different levels - MPs do havefairly direct control while many only occasionally partake in theone-way processes at the bottom of the pile. A small number of peoplehave large amounts of influence and a huge number of people holdmassively diverse levels of power. In other words, ff we lay thiscontinuum of participants on its side we have a long tail-type graph.Aha!

The Long Tail of Power

He raises concerns about limited attention spans of decision makers too, that in my eyes are criticial to participatory approaches, that are not directly tied into the decision making process.

Online presentations

Thumbstacks fills a gap on the web, that is so far only covered by expensive services like webex.

With Thumbstacks.com, you can make presentations - like slideshows, oroutlines - right in your web browser. When you're done, you can shareyour presentations with anyone, anywhere, just by sending them a link.Want to see an example? Here's a presentation about us. It all runs right here, in your web browser. You can create yourpresentation, save it, modify it, update it, whatever - then click"publish" and you'll get a link you can use to share it with everyone.The best way to understand is to try it out!

The service is still alpha, but just rolled out a great new feature that actually lets you steer the slideshow, while everybody else follows along online. Combine it with Skype for conference calls, including their new support for webcams and you have your personal webmeeting for free.

Well, add a live video stream (something like camstreams.com) and you could even use it to present your town hall meeting online.


Google buys Sketchup!

That's definitely big news. Google recently bought Sketchup, known as an easy and intuitive to use CAD and 3D Modelling Software. They were the first ones to support Google Earth's file format .kml with a plugin and have since been working on a better integration of their models into GE's 3D environment.

From Ogle Earth: Burning questions for which there aren't answers yet: Will SketchUp beintegrated into Google Earth or continue to exist as a separateapplication? What will the pricing be like? (Currently it's

OpenPlans

The Open Planning Project, a non-profit focussing on building technology to enhance the role of the citizen in democratic society has just released a new online community tool.

OpenPlans, a site dedicatedto helping communities organize virtually to effect real world change,is currently running an alpha testing version of the software here atnew.openplans.org.

OpenPlansis wiki-based. This means that most pages are editable by members ofthe site. Membership is free and it takes just seconds to register.0nce you log in, you may start your own project or contribute to anexisting one. We hope you use OpenPlans to share information, coordinate tasks, and build momentum around your project.

TOPP imagines OpenPlans as a free, hosted, and shared suite of community organizing tools, and we look forward to providing you with an ever-increasing toolkit for getting things done.

Haven't used it myself yet, but the New York Streets Renaissance website looks great. Courious what features they will add.

TOPP also provides funding and leadership for the development of GeoServer,to help create a more open, interoperable infrastructure of geographicinformation.



Google Maps for beginners

Three great articles covering the tech basics of Google Maps, how to integrate it and how to use the API.

Webmapping Tools for Public Participation

Just finished a fifty pager on webmapping tools for public participation, comparing mapserver applications to Google Maps and Google Earth. Take a look at it - it's in German and shortened for the web. Contact me for the full version.

Mapping Service

It's great to see how online mapping is evolving. The Service CommunityWalk.com deserves special attention in my eyes. It is a great way of creating interactive maps, maybe not on a big scale, but definitely useful in small projects, to visualize and discuss local issues etc.

CommunityWalk is a free webapplication which gives you the ability "to share your community withthe world" by adding locations, descriptions, comments, photos, andvideo of locations that are plotted onto an interactive Google map. CommunityWalk can be used as a visual mapping tool for any number ofprojects - documenting vacations, organizing groups, showing routes,planning a trip, and so much more. Each community that you create canbe made public or private.

Here you can find a sample map, presenting you what you are able to do with it. Great offer and it is free!

eDemocracy Workshop2

The presentation I gave on Visualization tools for public participation processes is now available as quicktime movie. An hour long and 40mb big, but includes all the nice live showcases and of course an unresistable German accent. Be patient, I had a slow start...


Continue reading "eDemocracy Workshop2"

Geotagged web content

All the entries of this weblog, that have a specific location are now accessible via map. Since the Google Map plugin for the weblog software I am using has issues in IE, I used worldKit, a great light-weight open source online mapping tool to display the content graphically.



Our tools for online deliberation, especially in urban planning, would greatly benefit from easy integration of location into the public discourse i.e. about proposed master plans.

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