From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

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Mike Liebhold Lecture: The Geospatial Web and Mobile Service Ecologies

In collaboration with ARNIC, Michael Liebhold, Senior Researcher, The Institute for the Future spoke to the Networked Publics group on October 27, 2005 in the living room of the Annenberg Center for Communication at 2pm. 

Lecture abstract: Beyond a growing commercial interest in mobile GIS and location services, there's deep geek fascination with web mapping and location hacking. For several years a first generation of geohackers, locative media artists, and psychogeographers, have been experimenting with web media tagged to geo-coordinates(latitude and longitude) and now a second, larger wave of hackers are demonstrating some amazing tricks with Google Maps, Flickr, and Meanwhile, a growing international cadre of open source digital geographers and frontier semantic hackers have been building first-generation working versions of powerful new open source web mapping service tools based on open standards. Out of this teeming ecosystem, we can see the beginning shapes of a true geospatial web, inhabited by spatially tagged hypermedia as well as digital map geodata. Google Maps is just one more layer among all the invisible cartographic attributes and user annotations on every centimeter of a place and attached to every physical thing, visible and useful, in context, on low-cost, easy-to-use mobile devices. However, while it is interesting to entertain ideas of early financial returns from geospatial web services, we all need to take a deep breath and perform a sober and unhyped assessment of where we are, and what we still need to do to enjoy the economic and creative benefits of a geospatial web. We can't afford a second dot-bust; investments and developments have to be smarter this time. So, in this talk we'll discuss what we need to do in order to build a sustainable mobile web, using the geospatial web as our primary example. Biography: Mike Liebhold is a Senior Researcher for the IFTF focusing on context-aware computing based on a geospatial web, with a minor focus on massively parallel computing. Most recently, Mike was a producer and program leader for the IFTF Technology Horizons "New Geography" Conference at the Presidio of San Francisco. At the two day workshop was aimed at helping technologists and strategic planners from top tier companies and the public to better understand the emerging geospatial information infrastructure. The event included The Fort Scott Locative Experience, a hands-on field exercise for conference attendees exploring a prototype geospatial web combining digital geodata and modern web hypermedia. Previously, Mike was a Visiting Researcher, Intel Labs, Working on a pattern language based on semantic web frameworks for ubiquitious computing., and co-author of 'Proactive Computing through Patterns of Activity and Place', [publication pending]. In the 1980s and early 1990's at Apple, Advanced Technology Labs, leading investigations of cartographic and location-based hypermedia and the launch of strategic partnerships with the National Geographic, Lucasfilm, Disney, MIT Media Lab, AT&T Bell Labs, and others, and then as Chief Technology Officer for Times Mirror Publishing helped launch over 20 professional and consumer web content services, lead very early large scale Intranet designs, and then worked for two years as a senior consulting architect at Netscape. During the late 1990s Mike worked on startups building large scale international public IT services and IP networks for rural and remote regions in China, India, Europe, and Latin America. Most recently Mike has been helping to design and stage collaborative mapping workshops with the Locative Media Lab, a loosely affiliated network of geospatial hackers and artists. Mike publishes his occasional thoughts about microlocal and geospatial computing on his web log at, and aggregates hundreds of new geospatial web-related links daily from perhaps thousands of geeks and users at


Submitted by kvarnelis on October 19, 2005 - 1:34pm


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