Well my first day at WeoGeo actually was the first day of the ESRI UC. Nothing like starting out at the most important GIS conference of the year. My first day at WeoGeo also corresponded with WeoGeo’s first time at the ESRI UC itself.
There has been much written up about the conference, but I thought I’d hit on some of the things that came up at the booth listening to people talk about problems they are having with content management.
First off, clearly everyone knows they can do better with content management. Asking people if they could use help organizing their data is like asking them if they’d like a million dollars. OF COURSE! Sharing data is great and a goal everyone has, but if you can’t get your data organized and figure out which datasets are the latest (or even figure out what was “the latest” last year) you can’t share anything. In fact, I think sharing is the easy part of the equation compared to the management of the spatial data. Of course not everyone can or wants to put their data in the cloud so WeoGeo also offers an appliance that allows you to stick the WeoGeo Library behind your firewalls and keep sensitive data safe.
The other interesting topic that came up was how do you share data in formats that people can consume. Sure, uploading your parcel database is great. Sharing it is great. But allowing people to use the data in software that they are comfortable using is where you really start seeing cost savings. With Safe FME built into the WeoGeo Library and Marketplace, users can transform any dataset into a couple hundred formats. An ESRI ArcGIS user can’t consume GeoJSON without converting it to a Geodatabase first, nor can a AutoCAD user read MapInfo files without converting them to DWG. With the WeoGeo Library, users can request to download those same spatial datasets (Raster or Vector) in any formats you choose to enable.
On top of organizing and sharing data, you also need to set up access to these datasets. Do you want to publish to the world (and maybe monetize them) or do you want to lock them down behind users and groups? Sure you’d love to share data with everyone, but you don’t always own the rights to do so. Being able to grant user access and then take it away when a project is over helps keep that under control.
Of course once your data is loaded into the WeoGeo Library, you can still work with it in many different ways. There is a great RESTful API to allow you to programmatically update users, their groups and their access to datasets as well as work with them while they are there. Everything is scriptable with Python so you can transfer your skills over very quickly to get results from organizing and sharing your data.
So where next? Well if you’d like to try out the Library (which is in private beta), fill out the contact form and we’ll get an invite sent out to you. Browse the wiki to see some of the great features of the Library and Market. Get your data loaded into the Library using the WeoApp or if you are using ArcMap, email me and I’ll add you to our ArcGIS Toolbar beta loader test.
If you are in the Bay Area tonight, come by the WebMapSocial Meetup in Mountain View to see Paul Bissett present the WeoGeo Library and Market and I’ll be presenting at the GeoWeb 2009 conference next week. It was great seeing everyone who had an opportunity to come by the booth and see the demonstration of the WeoGeo Library.
Lastly I just wanted to make sure I posted this video of my son dancing at the Thursday Night celebration. I can only hope YouTube is still around when he brings his prom date home.