Posted on November 18, 2009

Stay in Boulder long enough and you’ll inevitably find a startup that piques your interest. User generated content is the backbone of social media; from Yelp reviews, to Four Square early adopters are beyond uploading information and on to uploading places. PublicEarth is a mapping tool for user generated content. As an urban planning student Google Earth is great; however PublicEarth works more like a professional GIS (Geographic Information System) tool, yet makes it feel even simpler.

PublicEarth makes adding points, lines and shapes as easy as drawing on a napkin. With shapes and lines, we can add routes, areas of a park or your best friend’s backyard. PublicEarth has teamed with Public Art Review and will to map public art around the world. They've also made agreements to offer full mountain bike ride reports. However, the backbone is users and adding what is important to you.

Public Earth is fully launched & live and free and available to the public. Anyone with Internet access is able to use the site! The commercial value is obvious, come to my restaurant, club or store! Yet allowing users to add regions to maps we could potentially see more of our open spaces reviewed in detail. And with trails and routes, imagine what could be added to our biking or pedestrian network around town.

What do you mean you don’t ride down Walnut and you take the back alley, or you use that path because it cuts through a community garden? I will be watching this site, looking to share it with planners around town and hoping it generates some attention.

Who knows what data will really be valuable, but surely much of it is. Now if all this data just existed in one place…So, please don’t let it be Google, please let it be more open and keep an eye on this local site. They may just be opening up mapping to the masses.

-Ian the intern (and GIS geek)

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