By on October 16, 2009


With reference to the Gartner article on Enterprise Mashups among the top 10 strategic technologies for 2009, we would like to discuss what the term “Mashups” mean.

The “WikiWorld” offers us two definitions for this:

  • Wiktionary offers us: A derivative work consisting of two pieces of (generally digital) media conjoined together, such as a video clip with a different soundtrack applied for humorous effect, or a digital map overlaid with user-supplied data.
  • Wikipedia itself gives us: Mashup (web application hybrid), a web application that combines data and/or functionality from more than one source

There’s a clear implication that a mashup is generally a temporary construct, and in the context of our data/information strategy, the place of mashups is in the construction of maps/views which show the spatial relationships between different data/information entities. I would argue that such mashups are generally done as part of hypothesis testing of the sort “is there are a spatial relationship between these two quantities worth pursuing?” or “what data/information is available in the neighborhood of this spatial feature?”

Of course, to deliver mashups, we have to have interoperable services capable of providing views of data in (or on) a common visualization paradigm (e.g. a map) (Almost by definition, a mashup occurs because of the use of interoperable services. While you might achieve the same result – map or whatever – via a different technique, it wouldn’t be a mashup without the underlying assumption that it was delivered via interoperable web services.)