Announcing My Retirement (From Mapping Projects)

I am officially announcing my retirement from mapping projects as of today. Today coincides with the start of Where 2.0 which I attended last year. Some may know that I decided not to go this year. Along with Where 2.0, there were also two related events, Google Developer Day and WhereCamp which I attended. Google Developer Day which was free at the time has turned into Google I/O which now charges the equivalent of about 1 iPhone. WhereCamp kind of rode on the shoulders of Where 2.0 as a smaller free unconference for people really interested in geo stuff.

I’ve always been interested in maps. When I was a kid, I would always want to be the navigator with map in hand while riding in the car up north with my family. In boy scouts, I was very interested in orienteering… starting from a given point, navigating to other points using a compass and a map, or sometimes only a compass. Once GPS devices got cheap enough I bought a simple, but proven Garmin eTrex and went geocaching with it. When the Google Maps API came out I got really excited and started developing all kinds of different things with it. I even created a maps subdomain and titled the page Kyle Mulka’s Google Maps. While in college, I worked with my good friend Dan Feldman on a site called liveUgli, which was a real-time study buddy finder. We used the Google Maps API, but instead of the typical world map, we used floor plans of the major study locations on campus. In order to make the site more extensible, I developed two offshoot projects. The first, Gmap Uploader, had the goal of making it really easy to get floor plans into the system. The second, Cartiki, which actually uses the Gmap Uploader, was designed to make it really easy for users to edit the locations in the system.

So, why am I doing this you might ask. Well… there’s a few reasons. The mapping projects that I have worked on so far haven’t gotten much usage. When I was playing around with the Google Maps API, I wasn’t really interested in web mapping itself, I think I was more interested in just playing around with new and cool technology. With the liveUgli, I was interested in making the life of college students better. With the Gmap Uploader and Cartiki, I was interested in building reusable components that could not only be used for liveUgli, but could be used by other developers for their projects. So, I get the feeling, I wasn’t really into mapping so much as the technology behind it, and then the applications of it. Now, I feel as though I have exhausted the interesting and useful stuff (at least to me) in the mapping space, I’m going to move on to other, more interesting things. Hopefully nothing too revolutionary (like the Google Maps API when it came out) gets released at Where 2.0 that will cause me to change my mind.

What am I going to do if I’m not going to be working on mapping projects? Well… I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve, which I will tell you about in more about in upcoming blog entries. Also, don’t forget that my day job at Amazon doesn’t have anything to do with maps, and they disbanded A9 Maps, the only mapping project they had, a while back.

So, if the only reason you are subscribed to this blog is because of your interest in Google Maps, maybe now is a good time to leave. Or, you could stay and read about my new adventures in the next phase of my life.

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3 Responses to “Announcing My Retirement (From Mapping Projects)”

  1. Luistxo (Tagzania) Says:

    We met at that Wherecamp, Kyle, and I found Cartiki to be one of the most interesting things shown there. it’s a pity, really, that it didn’t took off. Does this mean GmapUploader will die? If the code can be shared, or even ported to other platforms (Tagzania no PHP thing, but Pythonic) it could still have a future.

    I’m sure your new directions will be as interesting (at least) as your mapping efforts.

    Me also far from the Geoweek of Silicon Valley, but still attached to maps ;-)


  2. Kyle Mulka Says:

    Luistxo, thanks for the complements.

    I should have clarified that my projects will still stay up one way or another. Neither Cartiki nor Gmap Uploader will die. I still plan to keep them running as long as its not too cost prohibitive to do so. I’m thinking about sharing the core of Gmap Uploader, specifically, the C++ code, built on top of the VIPS library, that turns a single image into a bunch of tiles.

    I’m interested in hearing from people which parts of my projects people would be interested in, either as open source, paid for, or hosted somehow.

  3. Jon Says:

    I’m interested in Gmap Uploader and would love the source code if possible. Open source would be nice, but paid for might be a consideration.

    Currently we have a number of images we’d like to get processed. I submitted one 24 hours ago and it’s still not ready. Perhaps it would be easier if it was running on our own servers.

    I’d like to talk to you about this possibility if you have time. Thanks!

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