Thursday, March 18, 2010

Travel 3.0

My wife and I are planning a trip to New Orleans at the end of March, and I'd like your help in planning our visit. This is partially for a conference, and partially because it will be my birthday.

More on that in a minute.

First, let me take a moment to talk about maps.  They've plotted the skies, the seas, and the land in between. They shape how we see the world.  They are powerful tools, not to mention incredibly useful.

As a fan of road trips, I have many memories of lugging an enormous spiral bound road atlas around, plotting routes to get from point A to point B. With the advent of GPS, I find I use paper maps less often.

[As a sidenote, paper maps - particularly when they are outdated and thus less useful - make for lovely wrapping paper. Always a hit.]

Crowdsourcing maps is a relatively recent phenomenon that has gained tremendous traction. OpenStreetMap is looking to you and I to make a thorough map of the planet.  WikiMapia has a similar goal.  Of course, it's more than just keeping track of new roads and businesses.  Ushahidi showed just how quickly people can create a map of in times of crisis.  Open Green Map lets you share, and learn, where ecological, cultural, and civic resources can be found.  Very handy when you are looking for a bike rack, among other things.

For a compelling visual of the volume of individuals contributing their knowledge, check out Tim Berners-Lee's recent TED talk on open data.  At 3:34 he touches on OpenStreetMap, complete with a spinning globe.

So, what does this have to do with my upcoming trip to New Orleans?  Everything.  My traditional method of getting the lay of the land involves asking friends and colleagues for advice and suggestions (let's call this Travel 1.0).  Last summer we went on an extended road trip in the Pacific Northwest, and rather than paper maps we simply did some pre-trip research via the web, and took our iPhones and a portable GPS (Travel 2.0).

This time around I'm upping the ante.  Travel 3.0.  I've started poking around the Wikimap to see what others have contributed.  The reviews in particular are very helpful.  I've also created a Google Map for my trip, and am inviting anyone to provide input on what we should check out.

View New Orleans March 26-28 in a larger map

What do you know and love about this city? Please let me know!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

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