It’s a Floogle!
LIGHT MODE
DARK MODE
Get 1 year from 27.50 €

Digital and paper subscriptions available worldwide

Subscribe now

It’s a Floogle!

The Information Technology and Computer Aided Mapping knowledge centre, Itaca-M, the first of its kind in Italy, is housed at the University of  Florence, uniting university professors and Google experts in creating innovative digital applications for the public sector.   What might sound to some like an oxymoron-'

bookmark
Thu 10 Feb 2011 1:00 AM

The Information Technology and Computer Aided Mapping knowledge centre, Itaca-M, the first of its kind in Italy, is housed at the University of  Florence, uniting university professors and Google experts in creating innovative digital applications for the public sector.

 

What might sound to some like an oxymoron-‘digital applications’ and ?public sector’-seems a modern echo of the Renaissance with the addition of ?Florence’: the goal of Itaca-M is to significantly improve internet and intranet web searches via Google Search Appliances united with Google’s geolocation technology Google Earth and Google Maps.

 

The Google lab will be managed by Paolo Rissone, president of the Centro Servizi Informatici e Informativi dell’Ateneo Fiorentino (CSAIF, the Florence University centre for information technology services); Cristina Mugnai, director of CSAIF; and Margherita Azzari, scientific manager of the university’s department of applied geography. Google and Global Base, a company from Prato and Google Italy Enterprise member, provide support and technical assistance for the project.

 

So, beyond basking in the glow of pride that Florence has been chosen as the location for this first-time Italian project, what does Itaca-M provide to the average person? The applications that the project yields should, for example, identify the nearest pharmacy that’s open; or instructions on where and how to renew a permesso di soggiorno.

 

But many of the apps will be aimed at the vast tourism market, permitting, for example, geolocation of Florence’s vast cultural and artistic heritage, including virtual landscaping. Imagine being able to locate the David at the Galleria dell’Accademia on a smartphone, complete with opening hours and other information, and using that same smartphone to visualize the streets that you are travelling through to get there, just as they appeared when Michelangelo roamed the streets to and from his sculpting commissions.

 

Because the Google knowledge centre involves multiple university faculties, other public sector areas that are expected to benefit from Itaca-M’s work include education, health, municipal and regional services and traffic management.

 

It seems no accident that the centre’s name, Itaca-M, recalls the Greek island of Ithaca, Ulysses’ home in the epic tale of the Odyssey, which recounts his 10-year journey back to the island after playing his part in the battles that felled Troy. Italian bureaucracy is not renowned for its efficiency or innovative thinking, and the Florentine system is certainly no different from the rest. What Google is taking on here is epic and extremely courageous. And undoubtedly the gurus from Mountain View, embarking on an adventure that will be brimming with adventures, will certainly meet with a Cyclops or two en route. Good luck with the ?floogle’: Florence is counting on you to bring it home!

Related articles

COMMUNITY

Transport in Florence: how to move around

Here’s a guide to Florence's transport options, with an overview of the best ways to get around the city and surroundings.

COMMUNITY

How to find student housing in Florence

Florence has a range of homestay accommodations, hotels and apartments for people studying in the city.

COMMUNITY

Vincenzo Lodato: a true renaissance creative

Meet Vincenzo Lodato, a real renaissance man who works at several levels of creativity.

LIGHT MODE
DARK MODE