"Better Directions: Digital maps are changing how we navigate our lives".
Hmmmm.... Interesting. I've worked with digital mapping in the past so let's see what we have here. I continue to read and find this...
How did we get here? This technology used to be top-secret government stuff. Then, in the 1980s, McDonald's dumped thousands into buying satellite images and developing software called Quintillion, which predicted the growth of cities and school districts. Ever notice there's always a McDonald's where you'd expect one? The company looked down from the heavens and dropped new franchises wherever it saw the right combination of kids, interstates, and suburbs, using one of the first geographic information systems for business analysis.
Then just today I read an article on News.com that talked about this...
Real estate prime for mashups
Most likely to get venture backing are companies like Zillow.com, which blends a mashup with several other services and home-property valuations and data from different sources. It recently landed a $32 million investment from Benchmark Capital.
Hey! I helped develop that McDonalds thing! Not only that but I helped to develop some of that top-secret government stuff they refer to earlier as well! And I ultimately left Argonne when a map based real-estate Java Applet that I had developed was deemed as uninteresting by Argonne's technology transfer organization!?!
Now this was all a long time ago and it has slowly dawned on me that for much of my career I've had some very interesting experiences but they have almost always been failures to some degree or another. Though I've never actually invented things such as the Internet, Java, Interactive maps, Web browsers, or a plethora of other things I have been around and involved in the these activities during their formative years in some bizarre way or another.
So I decided that this is the right time to go ahead and write about some of my experiences then and now. I realize that this is going to be strictly from my own point of view so it will have some biases and inaccuracies but I'm doing this as a way for me to remember some of the fantastic times I've had the pleasure of being a part of and hopefully amuse others that stumble across it.
In the coming days/months/years I'll cover more background on the McDonalds work, my mapping work at Argonne prior, my involvement in Desert Shield, the time I spent at Spyglass working on that internet and browser thing and hopefully many more stories that are interesting both technically and historically.
Find the original Wired article here.
Find the original News.com story here.