Map-centric directories from the likes of Google and Microsoft, enhanced with satellite and 3D imagery, are absolutely fascinating. They're also increasingly functional, with all kinds of searchable links.
But is it really clear that they are the future of directories? As things stand, I could see an equation where maybe 15 percent of usage is map-driven, while 85 percent is “traditional.” You don't always need a map, OK?
But the real advances of the industry can’t be ignored. In fact, with the success of Google's API release and others, it is great to see maps integrated into almost everything, such as Outside.in, a place-blogger site. Sometimes, we don't even know that we're dealing with maps.
With that in mind, I like what Mike Dobson from TeleMapics said about Local '07. “Overall, the Kelsey conference was steeped in geography, even though it appeared that the majority of the audience was unaware of that fact. Perhaps that will change over time. On the other hand, Urban Mapping and deCarta were the only geospatial companies with booths at the event. Perhaps that will change over time, too.”
The next big event in the geospatial world is OReilly's “Where” conference at the San Jose Fairmont May 29-30. It gets pretty technical, but they've got a lot of great speakers there including Rich Skrenta at Topix, Ian White at Urban Mapping, Erik Jorgensen at Microsoft, Steven Johnson at Outside.in and James Greiner at MapQuest. Conversely, there are not a lot of people on the revenue side. Can't we find a happy medium between mappers and money people? Maybe at a latitude of 00?