Preston: Day 1

Phew! The first day of the residential is over. So, before a large glass of wine helps me to forget everything we’ve learnt today, I thought I better write a few quick notes.

The biggest thing for me was how much technology is out there that journalists should and could be using right now.

I remember being very impressed when playing with Google Earth on a friend’s iPhone – the GPS functions was stunning (Any rich person got an iPhone going spare btw? I’d love one, but can’t afford it!). It was brought home to us today that in just a few months everyone will have mobile GPS on their phones and will start expecting information to be geotagged. We should be doing that now!

Another one was mobile video. Here is another view of Preston (can’t get it to embed) and our lecturer Mark streaming video from his Nokia N95, which is now part of the mobile kit for all Reuters journalists.

Mark’s using Bambuser, which streams driectly to the web. It is still in alpha so, as with Seesmic, I’m going to have to put it on the list to play with later. But it made my head spin to think how easy it is to capture breaking news on mobile video and have it online instantly.

Other good sites to play with: Jaiku and ShoZu.

Right, off to the bar…

One thought on “Preston: Day 1

  1. The iPhone Google Maps locator thing is interesting because it’s not actually GPS. It triangulates your approximate position using cell towers. GPS talks to satellites and gets a very specific result down to the nearest metre.

    What’s interesting about Google Maps is how a lot of the data placed on it is approximate and based on data that wasn’t intended to be mapped in this way. Addresses from phone books, for example, are put through the search engine and compared with geographical data (post code, street name + city). Land marks are identified, etc.

    What this means, I think, is that geotagging your content shouldn’t involve someone sitting down and figuring out the long and lat data for each story. You could prepare a list of geographic keywords (Erdington, Moseley, Wolverhampton) and when those appear in a story flag it accordingly. Similarly you could look for business names, compare them with the Yellow Pages and give them co-ordinates. Allowing for false positives this should allow you to map your stories fairly well and automatically and to provide users of Google Maps, Earth etc with a handy XML file showing where your stories are across the region.

    Or something. Bounder’s been doing more thinking about this that me.

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