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Collaborate.org Generates Geospatial Data for the Masses
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Posted On June 6, 2013


At this year’s Future in Review conference (May 20–23 in Laguna Beach, Calif.), Intelesense Technologies CEO Kevin Montgomery, senior research engineer at the Center for Innovation and Global Health at Stanford University, demonstrated the beta version of Collaborate.org, “a tool to facilitate the exchange of information and resources through a global, interactive user community. This community is perpetuated by people who explore, create, and contribute ideas through advanced, built-in tools such as open portals and our 3-D GIS program InteleView. Collaborate.org makes worldwide communication effortless, so we can all work together to make the world a better place!”

What Is Collaborate.org?

Collaborate.org is a platform designed to make it easier for government, academia, and industry sectors that are working on the web to experience a global way to share data, interact, collaborate, and network. Aggregating powerful collaboration tools into one platform, Collaborate.org enables users to reach out and connect with others, upload and share videos and data, discuss and collaborate to improve data in an open online environment, and manage projects and work together to make a difference.

A worldwide geospatial data infrastructure—with server farms in Silicon Valley and cloud-computing access to data cached worldwide in Virginia, Ireland, Japan, and Brazil—allows the system to work as well as it does. Along with rich map data aggregated from wireless sensor networks, GIS data, and satellite and aerial imagery, the Collaborate.org suite of collaboration tools features customizable dashboards, blogs (for discussions) and notebooks (i.e., wikis for document sharing), task lists/assignments, folders (for storing and sharing files), color-coded calendars, a newsfeeds reader, and videoconferencing.

Intelesense Technologies’ InteleView allows users to browse 2.2 million layers of geographically located real-time visual data, such as all the tweets in the world, all flights in the air, all major ocean-going vessels, or a university’s incoming and outgoing email, all in real-time. Based on NASA’s open source, spatial visualization platform, it’s essentially Google Earth with the ability for users to contribute data or modify code.

The toolkit was developed by engineers from Stanford University, NASA, and other groups in Silicon Valley to address the gap between individuals, groups, and resources from a local and global perspective and to coordinate efforts designed to tackle the challenges facing society today: environment and conservation, defense and security, municipalities and the public sector, and education and research. Collaborate.org portals can be configured for open access (OA) by the Collaborate.org community or closed (members-only) groups, or for getting different groups together to work for the social benefit of a community, which is perfect for disaster relief efforts such as its use in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

While in beta for about 6 months, Collaborate.org is free to use, accessible via the internet using any personal computer (PC or Mac), smartphone, or tablet (Android or Apple). The company’s FAQ page proclaims that it is “exploring a multi-faceted approach across subscription models,” including possible incentives for using and sharing the site.

“As humankind faces environmental, social, and other challenges in the future, we will be required to coordinate efforts and share resources more than ever before,” according to the website's FAQ. Collaborate.org provides the infrastructure to make this possible, “as a global online community where people can share their experiences and expertise, leverage their resources, and work together to accomplish truly Great Things.”

About Intelesense Technologies

Intelesense Technologies works to provide high-quality, globally integrated monitoring products and services that are used for environmental, public health, and other data collection, display, and visualization. Its mission is to use technology to protect and to preserve the environment and ourselves because of our interconnectedness. Collaborate.org’s tag line sums up its mission succinctly: “Connect. Share. Change the World.”


Barbie E. Keiser is an information resources management consultant located in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

Email Barbie E. Keiser

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