The Economist published an article this week about the emerging architecture of geoweb and Google Earth. It says that downloaded 250m times since 2005, "Google Earth is turning into a map of historical significance".
The article also mentions the combination of virtual maps with other sources of data in mash-ups. (According to Google, its maps are used in more than 4m of mash-ups)
Here is the list of mash-ups mentioned :
- housingmaps.com : san francisco apartment listings from craiglist.
- platial.com : free mash-up tools for bloggers (also called "autobiogeography")
- zillow.com : to create maps of home prices in America
- gasbuddy.com : petrol prices for USA and Canada
-exploreourpla.net : global warming and climat change
-heywhatsthat.com : diagram of mountain peaks
It's also said that the incorporation of satellite-positioning technology into mobile phones ans cars could open the floodgates. That was already demonstrated by Socialight, a mobile location aware application that allows you to take notes about places you go by in the street so that when your friends go around the same place get notifications on their cellphones about your notes.
So that's why the head of GE adds : Taken further, the map becomes a portal on to life itselfs. And the only thing that can hold it back, is the rate at which society can adapt.