Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Fires & Mashup's

I've been thinking that mashups will break through in some way, and was positing that it would have something to do with property and real estate. Well, maybe the fires of California might be a turning point. ProgrammableWeb, Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb and The Official Google blog, all have lists of different mashup's that are helpful during this emergency. Marshall points out TwitterWhere which presents all the "Twitter messages" from a particular location and pushes them as an xml feed. Again, what is particularly good about these kinds of solutions is that they can be accessed from any browser, and can send sms updates when the network is jammed. I have to raise some concern around the delivery of such messages via sms however. I have personally experienced these kinds of messages coming in a full day late, not something you would like to contemplate in an emergency. Not all phones will be Instant Messaging enabled, and there are issues around prioritising call channels during an emergency, so at best, these unofficial alerting systems have to be strongly overlaid with the "official messaging systems" of the municipality. I thin we are going to see a little bit more data being used as well. By overlaying these kinds of maps with data such as prevailing wind direction and speed, level of traffic on the highways, further predictions can be made about the risk of staying in certain areas and the need to re-allocate resources. For early adopters and technically literate people, these mashups "seem easy to use", but for the man on the street, they are still just not easy enough for the mainstream. It may take someone like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to "push" relevant modules/gadgets/widgets to your front page for them to see true wide spread use.

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