Last night was the warm up night for GeoCommunity with the first couple of hundred delegates arriving for an evening of impossible quizzes, engineering with spaghetti and marshmallows (see result below), meeting up with old friends and making some new ones.
I found myself in a thought provoking conversation with a couple of long term proponents of GI about whether we make too many claims for the power of geo/location/spatial/place. It seems like a good question to be considering as we start 2 days of keynotes and case studies at this conference. As an irrepressible sales person I cannot stop myself from always looking for the place to insert geo into a workflow or problem but thinking back I wonder if there have been some occasions where the enthusiasm exceeded the real value delivered.
Geo needs to do more than just display a pretty pattern, it needs to provide an understanding of an underlying relationship that can be the basis of some action for improvement. That means understanding why something happens not just where it happens and what to do about it.