Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where 2.0: World Heritage Mashup in Venice!

As previously anticipated, we plan to hold a mashup fest to celebrate the coming of age of the Venice Project Center when it turns 21 next fall.
This blog entry is aimed at the participants of the Where 2.0 conference currently under way in San Jose. We are looking for comments and reactions to these ideas from the conference participants.
As part of our celebration we are planning to release and remix all of the data that we have accumulated in our databases from 1988 until today such as: traffic counts, tides and bathymetry measurements; catalogs of public art, bridges, and docks; recordings of endangered Venetian sounds including over 100 bells and much much more. We are working with Kaliya Hamlin the founding facilitator of Mashup Camp. She has designed and facilitated over 75 unconferences for professional technical communities - one of her communities is innovating the identity layer of the web.

To attain our goal, we are therefore planning a series of highly interactive, collaborative events to bring together people from diverse disciplines: geospatial data visualization professionals, academics, historians, art historians, artists, anthropologists, archeologists, environmentalists, urbanists, social scientists and citizens from all walks of life. We are planning to work with the UNESCO World Heritage program to upload all the geo-data sets to make them accessible online with the goal of inviting all of the geo-hacker community to engage with the data - and Mash it up!
Our first event would be this fall (November 2009), bringing to together a selected core group from the Where 2.0 universe to fully exercise the datasets and thus demonstrate the potential that lies therein both for Venice as well as for other UNESCO World Heritage sites where these techniques could be exported. These pioneers would seed the community and define the mashup challenges. About 6 months later (June 2010) a larger group will gather in Venice to celebrate the best mashups and crown the winners of the challenges. Here is the idea in a nutshell:
  • Leverage the 20 years of research conducted by WPI students at the Venice Project Center together with
  • other publicly available data and
  • make the data and maps available (via open APIs) to the conference participants who will then
  • mash-up, manipulate and interconnect these datasets with other web-accessible information to create web applications that one can
  • visualize on web browsers and on interactive multi-touch tables that will allow participants to
  • simulate a variety of scenarios of future socio-economic development and/or natural or human-caused emergencies in a way that will
  • assist local authorities in managing and preserving the urban infrastructure, heritage and overall quality of life in the city using techniques that
  • can be exported to other UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the globe
We foresee two conferences in Venice and a follow-up in Santa Fe:
  1. a preliminary gathering in November 2009 to bring together a select group of the topmost geohacking, urban planning and heritage preservation experts with the goal of determining the technical and logistical direction of the idea on a global scale and to demonstrate its potential with “real” applications of immediate practical use for the City and for UNESCO;
  2. a larger conference in June 2010, open to the public to test the concept with a wider audience and to become the model of future UNESCO heritage information management conferences around the world, possibly using the world cafè model;
  3. a follow-up conference in Santa Fe in May 2011 to begin the worldwide dissemination of the idea.
Where 2 next? Whither Venice?

Please comment below to give us feedback on this initiative.
We appreciate your input and hope to see you in Venice!
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