Sunday, April 24, 2011

Strange Connections

This past week was one of strange connections, when GI Science, friends and family, business and society all seemed intertwined...

It started off with AGILE, no, not this one, but the 14th edition of the get-together of the Association Geographic Information Laboratories Europe. This lead to some confusion, but perhaps we got some of the AGILE (the big one) to appreciate GIS a little bit...

We spoke about mixing and matching open source with closed source work with various samples shown coming from 52North, Research Studios Austria, and ourselves with respect to sensor observation, web processing, contributing to OpenStreetMap, and information discovery.

With the growing amount of information, the desire to filter out what's not relevant is growing as well. What I found one of the best paper presentations at the AGILE conference (the small one), was about Modeling Umwelten following the ideas of German scientist Jakob von Uexküll.

Jakob was no uilskuiken, no matter how similar the two terms may sound...

Jakob's theory states that an organism creates and reshapes its own Umwelt when it interacts with the world, creating a so-called 'functional circle'. This reminded by of Social Circles by @padday.

Filtering information becomes critical in disaster response situations. Some of the presentations at AGILE spoke of semantic filtering of information feeds using the context (dare I say Umwelt?) of the event and its participants. Surprisingly I found my self discussing emergency response using Eagle with my old colleagues at Esri NL.

During the week I crossed more of my Social Circles: meeting an old friend, spending time with Esri NL, and spending a day with my brother and our cousin-several-times-removed at DeLimes.

At DeLimes, we played urban golf with BuurtLab, studied how farms are managed differently, and what makes a local store survive, by actual visits and listening to the people themselves, following the 7S Framework.

When did you last ask a user how what they got actually was what they needed (will a new laptop really help you land a job?).

And so ended a week of interactions with different groups, discussions of software delivery models, management approaches, and catching up with family and friends. New links were established, old links where renewed and strengthened.