Social network and mapping technology launched

Vancouver– Thanks to a computer science class at Washington State University Vancouver, Internet users can now add custom mapping to the explosion of online user-generated content available. GeoMonkey is a Web2.0 startup company, enabling community-building around the creation and sharing of customized maps.

“GeoMonkey allows users to geo-locate their own content, such as photos, videos, documents and custom routes,” said Orest Pilskalns, the professor who developed the technology together with 10 WSU Vancouver students.

GeoMonkey enables users to customize a map, save it to their own user profile and share it with others or with the general public. For example, users can share pictures from vacation, directions to a house, trip planning or wedding planning details.

“In some ways, it could be compared to other social networking sites, allowing the public to generate an entire database of customized online maps,” Pilskalns said. Ultimately, the database of custom maps will be available for searching by location, keywords, interests and user.

GeoMonkey, which began as Pilskalns’ WSU Vancouver software development class project, is launching a commercial limited liability company Jan. 23 at a public announcement from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. in the Student Services Building, Room 110 (Lecture Hall). Pilskalns and the students will be available to demonstrate the product and speak with media representatives.

The GeoMonkey team has also developed unique functions for automatically geo-locating RSS feeds, mainly news feeds. Users can go to http://www.GeoMonkey.com and view a map of where the news is happening. They can also manually geo-locate news feeds on their own maps.

“This project is a great example of a university development spawning local economic development,” said WSU Vancouver Chancellor Hal Dengerink. “The student involvement helped bring a current, consumer-oriented relevance to the technology.”

There are several patents pending on the technology and concepts used.

WSU Research Foundation provided initial funding to the group via the Cougar Gap Fund, which exists for the purpose of moving WSU innovations from research on to commercialization.

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