Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Building on the Cloud for Geospatial Collaboration

I travelled down to NCGIS 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina recently to give some presentations in the "Techpertise" track - what a fantastic event! The panels and audiences for each session were outstanding, and the event had an air of 'innovation' around it.

One of my talks focused on "Building on the Azure Cloud" and discussed Cloud computing "Buzzword Basics" (IAAS, PAAS, etc.), how we build on Microsoft Azure and provided examples of the Cloud in action with the WFS geonames prototype and CarbonCloud Sync. But my favorite aspect of the session was discussing how Cloud computing can turn local data resources into scalable open geospatial services - ready to meet real-time collaboration challenges.

Think about it - when people are collaborating work doesn’t happen at steady pace. Computing resource needs change in real-time. This is especially true for geosocial transactions - consider Haiti, snowstorms, floods, fires and even recent social ‘revolutions’ around the world. What the Cloud means is that local data provider resources can turn into scalable open geospatial services - able to accept geosocial updates from many sources and distribute them to the people and systems that need them in real-time.

I also discussed how Microsoft Azure is ideal for startups and small companies - allowing them to battle established 'monsters' in the industry and compete. For example, it was straightforward to port an application like CarbonCloud Sync to the Azure Cloud - saving a startup like ours lots of time and money.

You can check out the presentation here (and I'll post it on SlideShare soon).

- Jeff