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Are Geospatial Tools Supposed To Bring Us Closer To Place?

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Andrew Turner (FortiusOne), Rachel Weidinger (TechSoup Global), Marnie Webb (TechSoup Global), Hillary Hartley (NIC Inc.)
Location: Regency Ballroom

In a sustainable world, with stronger ties to locality, what role should the geospatial web play? This panel will scan the bleeding edge of location-based tech projects, critiques them on social and sustainable factors, and pushes them to do more to help people connect locally. We’ll discuss the best ones, and publish ideas and to-do requests for all.

In a time when the web and other communication tools allow us to move to the edge of the media network, and shift our allegiance to de-massed media, the parallels in other economic spheres are striking. Just as media has been transformed by the freedoms underwritten by the web, web-based social tools will lead to equally radical and parallel changes in other parts of the economy, as people opt out of globalized systems driven by unsustainable principles of unchecked growth.

In this panel discussion, will highlight recent geospatial projects, trends in localism, and sketch out a map of where we think these tools are going—and where they should go.


Photo of Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner


Andrew Turner is the CTO at FortiusOne, the company behind GeoCommons, a geospatial visualization and platform. He co-founded Mapufacture, a personalized geospatial search and aggregation system that was acquired by FortiusOne in August 2008 in order to combine real-time feeds with large GIS datasets. Andrew is focused on collaboration and user-generated content around location and time. He is actively involved in open-data projects such as OpenStreetMap and VoteReport, as well as open-source projects like Mapstraction and GeoPress. He regularly speaks at conferences on the benefits of open-source software and geospatial standards to communities and organizations. Andrew wrote the O’Reilly shortcut “Introduction to Neogeography” and “Trends in Where2.0” business report in Spring 2008. He is also published in MacTech and Make magazine on his home-automation hacking.

Previously, Andrew was an aerospace engineer building airships, spacecraft and real-time immersive simulators. He received his B.S in Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Virginia and his Masters from Virginia Tech.

Andrew Turner is the co-author of Beautiful Mapping .

Rachel Weidinger

TechSoup Global

Rachel Weidinger is a hope shelterer who lives in San Francisco. These days, she’s happy to be a Senior Consultant and Marketing Director for the brilliant team of web strategy consultants helping nonprofits save the world at Common Knowledge, as well as a partner at Stowe Boyd’s /Ground project. She has provided marketing and strategy to orgs delivering computer training to Latina immigrant women and cargo-carrying bikes to Africa, helped stabilize a nonprofit for tech-loving teachers, created innovative landfill diversion and public art programs, developed audiences and revenues for contemporary art and food museums, and along the way happened to accomplish a giant pile of market research.

When not geeking out on how to save the world with technology, you can usually find Rachel in the kitchen making marmalade or pies. Her bookshelf has been sorted by color since 1999 and she reads voraciously, no matter what hue the spine is.

Marnie Webb

TechSoup Global

Marnie Webb is the co-CEO of TechSoup and has been a part of the team that launched and runs NetSquared. NetSquared highlights the innovations of individuals and groups using the web to create social change. The project hosts an annual conference and manages the community-driven NetSquared Challenge Award.

Marnie has worked with nonprofits and non-governmental organizations for the last 20 years. She is a frequent speaker on technology and communications topics for nonprofits and schools. Marnie blogs at Ext337. She’s @webb on twitter.

Photo of Hillary Hartley

Hillary Hartley

NIC Inc.

Hillary Hartley is one of the foremost authorities on government’s use of emerging technologies. In her role as Director of Integrated Marketing for NIC, Hillary shares her design and Web 2.0 expertise with 21 states and hundreds of local governments.

She also created and oversees NIC’s highly successful partner portal and produced the 2007 eGovernment Leadership Summit, both of which are exclusive resources for hundreds of eGovernment leaders across the country.

Prior to NIC, Hillary operated an independent design consultancy and was the art director for

A frequent speaker at a wide range of technology-related events, Hillary is a blogger, San Franciscan, photographer, and Citizen Space coworker.