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Building the Open Metaverse: Geospatial for the Metaverse

On episode four of Building the Open Metaverse, the podcast where technologists discuss building the open metaverse together, hosts Patrick Cozzi and Marc Petit welcomed Nadine Alameh, CEO of Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to discuss how geospatial technology will support the metaverse.

On her personal journey to the metaverse, Dr. Alameh said it has taken two tracks. One, as a mother observing her two boys, ages 9 and 14, grow up as part of a generation that interacts with their friends in online environments. And the other as a professional in the geospatial community, which has been working on realizing the metaverse since its inception.

Dr. Alameh spoke about the mission of OGC in creating standards for geospatial information that are FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and how these will be instrumental in building the foundations of the metaverse. 

When asked by Marc Petit if the geospatial community can meet the technical needs of the future metaverse, Dr. Alameh said that GIS is drawing on a foundation that includes 50 years of progress and experience building tools and products that support critical decision making in governments, monitor climate change, and help the defense, aerospace, and aviation industries navigate the world. Of the community, Dr. Alameh said, “I think you got the global expert group that accelerates what we’re trying to do because we know how to do it.”

“The geospatial community is a great community of passionate people. They've been doing important stuff, but they haven't been in the spotlight yet. But I think with the metaverse, mapping is going to be a very important discipline, because laying things on a map is a great way to access any form of data. It could become one of the primary interfaces, so you guys have an important future ahead of you.”

- Marc Petit, Epic Games

Dr. Alameh went on to explain how the process for developing standards is evolving to be more collaborative and developer-centric. 

In closing, Dr. Alameh expressed hope that the community continues to have productive conversations, advocate for openness, and spread an optimistic message to counter the dystopian vision of the metaverse that is beginning to emerge in the media. “Talking about the use cases and the value of the metaverse in a positive light and the applications matters to me as a professional and a future user of the metaverse, but also as a mom.”

Listen to the full episode and subscribe for future discussions about building the metaverse.