Crowd Sourcing India Internet Mapping Mobile Web 2.0

Social Mobile Mapping (Mapiki)

With Google’s release of Google Maps for Australia, I am hoping Google Maps India isn’t going to be that far away. Being a complete outsider to Indian roads and traffic, it would be a very welcome addition to our list of expat related sites and tools that we’ll be relying on after we move to India.

I know the challenges of putting together Google Maps in a place like India. I’ve been to the tiny little alleys that are at least 400 or 500 years old. I’ve also been to what was farmland 6 months ago and today is a luxury residential development outside Bangalore. In a country where the streets are thousands of years old and where farmland and undeveloped land is changing so rapidly, it will be an immense task to keep the data updated. However, could this be the perfect place for an experiment in Social Mobile Mapping or Mapiki? This is the term that I’m going to use for what I think could be a tremendous addition to the social web.

Imagine an application that will redraw maps based on GPS transmitters and SMS text messages, submitted by none other than the users of the mapping application. In a place like India, a rikshaw driver can pull out his mobile and type in a message and sms it to a service that will instantly display on the map the changes reflected by the rikshaw driver. Of course, this can be gamed but so can Wikis. The question is, can the wisdom of crowds provide cleaner more accurate mapping information just like it has helped to create Wikipedia?

For now, however, at least I can get driving directions in New Delhi.


The Knowledge Society

Here’s a great article by Venkatesh Hariharan. He examines India’s tradition of knowledge sharing and how the subversion of this knowledge sharing has left repurcussions still being felt today. This is a must read article for anyone, especially those you believe that intellectual property must be protected and hoarded or it will be detrimental to the IP creator’s existence. As Mr. Hariharan noted, “Though no one has a proprietary lock on yoga, it is still a thriving $30 billion business in the United States.” | A society that shares: India’s tradition of knowledge

Intellectual property. It’s one of the defining terms of the 21st century. The recent knowledge symposium, "Owning the future: Ideas and their role in the digital age" deconstructed the term "intellectual property" and examined the assumptions beneath it. Since the event was being held in India, it seemed appropriate to examine intellectual property in the context of Indian traditions of knowledge.

Set Your Presentations Free!

How many presentations do you have locked up on a disk somewhere? Most of us never get around to doing much with our presentations other than emailing them to a few people or printing them out as handouts.

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation from Amit Ranjan, author of Webyantra, and the head of Uzanto’s New Delhi office to a wonderful service they were unveiling – SlideShare.

SlideShare isn’t a presentation creation tool. For presentation creation, take a look at Zoho, OpenOffice, Microsoft PowerPoint, or Apple Keynote. SlideShare allows people to upload their presentations (Microsoft PowerPoint and OpenOffice Presentation files are supported) and share them with the world, much like YouTube and Flickr have done for video and pictures, respectively.

The folks at Uzanto will be releasing the ability to share presentations only with specific groups or email addresses in the next month or so. At the moment, all presentations are publicly available to every one. SlideShare has the ability to display presentations on a blog or any other web page with a few lines of JavaScript, much like YouTube allows videos to be displayed on a blog. SlideShare allows you to have a permalink to a specific slide within a presentation or to the full presentation. SlideShare allows you to tag your presentation with keywords that you think are indicative of what the presentation is about. You can search other related presentations based on tags, as well as find the most popular presentations based on the most tagged keywords. I think SlideShare has a very clean and easy to use interface.

SlideShare Home

SlideShare Home Page

SlideShare Upload Page

Presentation Upload Page

SlideShare Tag Pages

Tag Cloud

SlideShare is currently under an invitation-only beta. However, you can add your name and email address on their website to get on the next batch of invitations. I still have a few invitations left and if anyone is interested, feel free to leave me a comment and I can send you an invitation (first come, first served).