Introduction to Neogeography

Have you ever been reading my blog and wondered what it is that I'm talking about, or why I'm so interested in everything geospatial (the vast majority of links I add to my del.icio.us bookmark collection use the term geo) and opensource software (especially in relation to the Drupal platform, which I got involved with through work)?

If you have, you may just find the Introduction to Neogeography by Andrew Turner a good primer. It's a great introduction (for those who already have a technological leaning) to the 'new geography', talking about concepts, common data formats, examples you can implement yourself and that sort of thing. It's a 54 page e-book and downloadable from the O'Reilly site.

The description reads

Neogeography combines the complex techniques of cartography and GIS and places them within reach of users and developers.

This Short Cut introduces you to the growing number of tools, frameworks,
and resources available that make it easy to create maps and share the
locations of your interests and history.

Learn what existing and emerging standards such as GeoRSS, KML, and Microformats mean; how to add dynamic maps and locations to your web site; how to pinpoint the locations of your online visitors; how to create genealogical maps and Google Earth
animations of your family's ancestry; or how to geotag and share your travel photographs.

I am glad that Andrew pointed out Drupal as a potential player in the GeoStack he talks about. As he puts it, "[t]he GeoStack encompasses the entire life cycle of geospatial data, from capture to consume using a variety of tools, formats, and applications." It's basically a suite of applications and services that can all speak geography to each other, sharing information with ease using standard formats. As an example, imagine going out with a GPS, uploading that information about your journey to somewhere, that site being able to share its information with sites that are designed to aggregate similar information and then have that available on demand, filtered as desired, to other services that can consume the information.

Drupal can actually play a part in each of these layers of the stack*, from allowing users to enter location information, serve it out, aggregate it from other sites and also be a consumer of that data.

* or will be able to again with a little work to get the newly updated location module and GeoRSS module talking properly with one another again