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Des Moines, Iowa
USA

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Google Maps

Geoff Wood

I work in an industry known as "geographic information systems" or GIS. The concept behind the industry (in short) is that most data has a spatial component and we can utlize that location to analyze and manage that data.

GIS has recently become trendy since the folks at Google jumped in with Google Maps, Google Earth, and even Google Moon (be sure to zoom way in and check the Apollo 11 landing site). However, not many of the users of the aforementioned websites have any idea what they are using is "GIS".

Hope and I were home a couple weeks ago and my youngest brother was playing with Google Earth to move between multiple locations. I tried to explain the concept of geocoding and an addressed ranged road network but he didn't care - he just thought the application was cool.

One neat example of an application that builds off of Google Maps is frappr.com. This site lets a community users chart their spatial locations across the world. I set up one for readers of my little blog so if you don't mind click here http://www.frappr.com/woodtoyourmomsreaders. From there you enter your name/handle and zip code (and a picture if you're feeling up to it). I have no idea if anyone (other than my in-laws) read anything I write here so it may be a pretty empty map. BTW, if you're curious - this application is also an example of geocoding (only its geocoding to a zip code rather than address)