Metapost: Ogle Earth goes East

Cairo’s been a lot of fun these past two years, but now I’ve been asked by the Swedes to move to Shanghai to set up two new websites aimed at the 300+ million Chinese who have gotten online this past decade.

One site will be informational, a localized version of in Chinese. The other will integrate with the Swedish pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010, and here we hope to have some cool 3D web technologies on show.

Besides Shanghai’s famed food, the other reason I really want to go is the fact that this century’s longest total solar eclipse, on July 22, 2009, has Shanghai as its bull’s eye. I have yet to see a solar eclipse, so I am not about to let this one get away (weather permitting).

File:Solar eclipse animate (2009-Jul-22).gif

What are the implications for Ogle Earth? When I started this blog back in the summer of 2005, I had rather more time on my hands. That hasn’t been the case for a while now, but my new job will be full-time and then some. I mooted closing the blog, but the fact is that I really enjoy writing many of the posts. So here’s what I am going to try to do:

From now on, Ogle Earth will only focus on the geopolitical implications of all this neogeography — censorship attempts by governments, citizen activism, humanitarian and disaster relief, science outreach, and of course mainstream media failing to report all this accurately:-)

I will no longer be writing posts that link to other exciting neogeo developments on the web, nor write up newsworthy product announcements. Unlike in 2005, there are now plenty of blogs that do an admirable job of covering this space, not least by the likes of Google and Microsoft themselves. I can’t guarantee, however, that I won’t occasionally post about jaw-dropping new technologies or tools I come across.

I hope to be able to write one or two posts per week, but since the relevant bloggable events don’t follow a quota system, neither will I. Also, the next month will be really busy, so please bear with me.

13 thoughts on “Metapost: Ogle Earth goes East”

  1. Congratulations on the upcoming move Stefan! I know you like immersing yourself in other cultures. This should be a real thrill. I also envy you the opportunity to see the eclipse! Good luck on the weather for that.

    I look forward to hearing stories, and seeing GE content (photo panoramas, GPS tracks, etc.) from your travels in Southeast Asia.

  2. Stefan:

    You’re an inspiration to those of us whose aggressively peripatetic days are in the past…

    I like the refined focus of the blog: GE has plenty of feature-evangelism these days, but its stunning growth in a few short years put it at the center of the debate of how we understand and misunderstand “place” and geographical context.

    And the louder drumbeats we’re hearing these days re the distribution of public data is intimately tied to the ever-easier-to-use mapping platforms.

    So you might think you’ve comfortably narrowed your bailiwick, but you’ll be kept busy enough!



  3. Sounds exciting, Stefan, and your blog’s new focus area seems ever more important by the day with each new confused attack on information freedoms. Good for you, Sweden, and the People’s Republic of China. You might want to know that Google Translate supports conversion between Swedish and Chinese. ;-)

  4. Thank you Stefan. The kind of articles you want to continue writing are important for the world. Online mapping, and the vast amounts of information and power related to it, is becoming a more important part of people’s lives. It’s good to know that you’ll be watching, and reporting. I look forward to reading Ogle Earth for many years to come.

  5. Congrats and thanks for not closing down you blog, Stefan!

    Your focus on the geopolitical implications of neogeography is of huge interest to me and I very much look forward to continuing being an avid reader of your blog.

    Have a look at if you become increasingly interested in digital activism.

    Thanks again!

  6. Hey Stefan, I like your blog very much. I mainly read it because of the stuff you will not focus anymore. But I will stay tuned. Have a nice time!


  7. Good luck and all the best with your new move. It should be a interesting experience.

  8. Thanks for this post and the information about the solar eclipse. We (my husband and I) have been in China since mid Feb. and the only problem we have is that the Google earth maps of the province we live in is so old that we cant find anything in the city that we live in. JinCheng in the Shaanxiprovince

    Shanghai, Beijing, Hongkong,and Some of the other big cities are updated at a regular rate.

    Enjoy your stay and thanks for the interesting blogs and keep up the good work

  9. If you have never seen an eclipse – you must not miss the one in Shanghai. I saw the one in Turkey a few years ago. My advice is to head out of Shanghai to a rural spot where you can get to a high point with a 360 view. Better yet, find a place where you can see some landmark (like a mountain) 10+ miles away.

    The 360 view will give an appearance of sunset on all horizons, which is really wild. And the mountain in the distance (best along the progress of the path) will go dark when you are still light and will light up when you are dark.

    Just get out of the city. The lights and buildings will distract from experiencing the unique feelings of a solar eclipse. And tell everyone you know to join you. Its one of those things you MUST do at least once – even if it is very hard to get it all together.

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