[LINK] Australian know-how helps Google Maps find its way

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Wed Apr 1 00:23:08 AEDT 2009

Lars Rasmussen presents the 2009 Innovation Lecture in Brisbane (30  
June), Sydney (2 July), Melbourne (8 July) and Adelaide (9 July)


> Australian know-how helps Google Maps find its way
> Key parts of one of the web�s hottest properties, the Google Maps  
> technology, were created right here in Oz by this year�s Warren  
> Centre Innovation Lecturer, Dr Lars Rasmussen, his brother Jens, and  
> some Australian colleagues, Stephen Ma and Noel Gordon.
> It is a story with more than a few interesting twists and turns.
> Lars and his brother got to Australia via California. After Lars  
> graduated from Berkeley (University of California) the two Danish  
> brothers were part of a startup during the dot.com boom. When that  
> imploded the two were jobless. So their own web application was the  
> way to go. Lars kindly credits Jens with the idea for developing new  
> mapping technology.
> Lars had done some work in Sydney for his old employer Digital  
> Fountain before being laid off and there was a certain Cuban girl  
> who could not work in the USA but could in Australia. So Sydney was  
> looking very attractive...
> Their self funded company �Where 2 Technologies� started �in a  
> spare bedroom� in Sydney and by 2003 they had developed their  
> prototype for the new mapping technology. Whereas most other mapping  
> applications worked on the basis of entering an address and getting  
> a map, the brothers wanted to use maps a basis for a diversity of  
> geospatial services.
> Then it was off to California to find some money. They did the  
> predictable rounds while maintaining their base n Australia,  
> eventually finding an interested party!
> However, at the last minute, the allegedly interested party changed  
> its mind and instead, introduced them to Google (before the big  
> public listing). Understandably they had to wait while the listing  
> took centre stage, but by mid-2004, the four developers were part of  
> the new Google empire.
> And they were still based in Australia! Their case for staying in  
> Sydney was greatly helped by the enthusiastic response of Google�s  
> international user community to the new mapping technology. The  
> Google Australian and NZ offices now have over 300 people, and there  
> are hundreds of thousands of sites using Google Maps technology.
> Lars credits much of the Google success to the very particular  
> culture of Google that attracts, engages and inspires a variety of  
> people to give of their best. There are 5 key factors to this  
> innovation culture that are well worth considering �no matter what  
> business you�re in� says Lars.  More on those in our next edition!
> Google is one very clever juggernaut � an excellent case study in  
> not only engaging and enthusing your own employees, but also  
> including the wider online community in your development.
> So the momentum is ongoing - there is always more to do� including  
> a single Google world map, which will involve a huge amount of data  
> � a task that will probably never ever be completely finished.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
Ph: +39 06 855 4294  M: +39 3494957443
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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