Amidst all the Where 2.0 news, there is another conference going on in Carlsbad, California called “D:All Things Digital” where Microsoft had an announcement about the debut of Microsoft Surface, which is an outcome of their Project Milan to develop the idea of surface computing, basically user interfaces that are completely touch-driven. The project was apparently kept relatively secret until its debut last night. What does this have to do with geospatial technologies, you ask? Well, there are a number of videos and photos out there on the internet that demonstrate these types of devices in action, including the very cool TouchTable (which we’ve seen a couple of times ourselves at the ESRI UC). For displaying and navigating mapping and GIS applications, especially in a collaborative environment, these touch-sensitive devices could be really useful.
Microsoft will be offering Microsoft Surface branded devices to 4 partners in November, including Starwood (Sheraton) Hotels, which is planning on installing them in common areas as virtual concierges. Apparently, there will be consumer units in the next 3-5 years, with the initial price to partners at around $10,000 and likely dropping as the devices enter the consumer market. It seems pretty steep, but I believe the price for a TouchTable is more than 6 times that, so maybe not so bad. All I know is, I want one……Share: