Service Aggregation and the California Bike Race


There’s a lot of talk around about the concept of Web2.0 “MashUps“, and the way in which these cna be used in eLearning. Many of us are now well used to the aggregation services of applications such as PageFlakes and Netvibes, incorporating YouTube videos or SlideShare shows into our blogs, or using Flickr photographs in other apps etc.

At the centre of any “MashUp” is the issue of interoperability and standards which determine whether or not the data from one application/system can be read and/or incorporated into another. This takes us into the dizzying depths of talking about Extensible markup Language(XML), Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Application Programming Interface (API) etc.

In an article titled Service-oriented architecture as the backbone for distributed GIS systems, Duane Nickull of Adobe provides a very useful overview of what is involved, focusing particularly on how modern distributed Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data can benefit from the adoption of a common architecture model such as SOA.

An example he gives (illustrated at the top of this post) is well worth taking a look at. It is of Allan Padgett’s Tour Tracker, a software application that allows users to interact with the Tour of California bicycle race. It’s a great illustration of how GIS information can be used in this way, providing a real-time updated view of the progress of the cyclists on a map in the background, and incorporating live video feed, updated Flickr images, and windows for chat and news feeds in the foreground. Very impressive.

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