Apr 05 2012

Seen and Heard: Location Tech Shines at Where Conference

As location-based tech heats up in social, mobile and local commerce, leaders and influencers in geospatial tech gather to trade tips.

Leah Busque of Task Rabbit speaks at the Where Conference
Lean Busque, founder and chief product officer of TaskRabbit, speaks about the emergence of SoLoMoCo (social, location and mobile-based commerce).
Photo: Kevin Krejci/Flickr

Where you do what you do is growing in importance to the future of technology and business. Location-based technology has exploded in recent years, with startups like Foursquare (which gained traction for location-based check-ins) and Facebook (the leader in all things social) leading the charge.

But geospatial data has been an important part of the web’s fabric since its early days. Remember when MapQuest disrupted the print-based map business by allowing users to map and print out their itineraries? And remember when mobile devices took this trend a step further by enabling real-time, turn-by-turn GPS navigation?

Maps, however, won’t be relegated to history. The future of map data is hot right now, as many app developers and tech companies debate whether to license API data from Google Maps or use data from the open-source OpenStreetMap.

Gathering to discuss, debate and share experiences in all things location, technology leaders attending the O’Reilly Where Conference in San Francisco delved into the big issues. Notable speakers at the event included Ben Milne, founder of location-based payment company Dwolla; Thomas Goetz, executive editor of Wired magazine; and Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering at Google.

One of the big wow moments at the Where Conference came when Google unveiled a Mercedes-Benz tricked out with Android apps, local search and Google Maps. How long will it be until smartcars like this become as ubiquitous as smartphones?

Google Mercedes
Photo: Kevin Krejci/Flickr

Here are a few highlights we snagged from the Twitterverse from people attending the 2012 Where Conference.

Social, Local and Mobile Commerce

Of Maps and Data

Mobile Matters In Location Tech

More Pics of the Google Android-powered Mercedes-Benz