What is LocationTech?
This is an article I wrote a while back and was published elsewhere. I wanted it published here too. I am one of the Founders of LocationTech. These are my words and perspective on what LocationTech is. Thank you for your time and attention to read it. –Andrea
Simply stated, LocationTech is a community of people who care about place.
Each participant brings their own unique inspiration. After travelling the world and hearing their stories, I’ve decided the strong common value is to help society be the best it can be. What does this mean?
Each perspective is unique. I have heard smart and passionate people talk about better urban planning, better stewardship for nature, better safety and security, pursuing knowledge, advancing the state of the art, teaching & learning skills, entrepreneurs & intrapreneurs building their businesses, people who just want to tell a story, and more. These ideas give us purpose. We would strive for them no matter the tools and technologies we have.
While we would strive for them no matter, better tools and technologies make it easier to achieve our goals. Collaborating helps us do more, faster, better, and with less risk.
There are practical aspects to the group like great geospatial software under open source licenses, collaborative infrastructure, good governance, intellectual property review services for the software and data, great events around the world, warm camaraderie & networking, challenging but rewarding internships, and more. These things are wonderful, but they don’t bind the community together. What unites us are the desires to collaborate and to do so under the same model.
The software libraries at LocationTech provide fundamental implementations of data types, algorithms, indexing, data management, and similar features that enable more complex operations. These components underpin everything built on top of them.
Technology change has created an inflection point for geodata. Mobile devices, social media, retail transactions, and more generate a tremendous amount of data. The volume, variety, and velocity of data is ever increasing. The high performance geoprocessing services enable orders of magnitude faster processing velocity and storage capacity. These services change the rules of what can be done.
Data has become crucial. A considerable amount of geodata is commodity. This is to say that it is not a source of competitive advantage if it does not differ from organization to organization. Collaboration based on a common pool of data makes sense. The data commons is a new initiative for sharing open data.
Tools to provide distributed and intelligent version control allow for mobile devices that have just the right data, but can update it based on context or to incorporate updated information. Flexible and easy to use version control features enable useful multi-directional workflows.
The visualization components turn data into rich user interfaces. While they do often enable maps, they also enable models, charts, graphs, and others. They do so on mobile devices as well as other platforms. The off-line abilities of the mobile libraries, combined with version control allow much greater flexibility.
Each of the components can be used alone, or together to develop more complex systems. They can be built into proprietary or open solutions. Collections of components help can be used to unite big data on the server with small data on mobile devices. They enable rich & intuitive user interfaces and help solve interesting problems.
This is what we need to achieve our purpose and to help society be the best it can be. This is LocationTech, and everyone is welcome.