Web 2.0 is a disputed frame of reference bounding the next generation of web-based, collaborative applications.

Once upon a time (a few short years ago), tech sales-droids touted ASPs (application service providers) as the natural replacement for individual applications. Net-based alternatives for accounting, human resources or even word-processing would be run and managed from centralized locations. Companies or individuals would “rent” rather than buy software. In many ways, it would be a return to the old lucrative mainframe time-sharing.

That hasn’t quite happened yet.

Instead, bits and pieces of these applications sprouted up on the web. First generation innovators, building upon the (almost) platform-independence of standards-based, Javascript-enabled browsers created dynamic client-server applications.

Unlike old-school client-server, both sides of the application ecosystem – desktop browser and HTTP servers – were quite flexible. Building on common standards – XML, HTTP, Javascript – developers were unbelievably agile – quickly adapting to new market conditions.

Second generation innovators stitched together (“mashed up”) these first gen applications to deploy many new unanticipated synergistic capabilities – maps and social data, photos and bulletin boards and video.

Web-based apps are seductive. Features and fixes come in a flurry. Popularity spawns copycats that thrive, spread, merge. Sites, evolving rapidly on Internet time, live or die based on attention-share.

What does that have to do with local activism?

Quite a bit, I believe. A question I hope to explore in-depth.

Today, Yahoo provided a simple tool to combine their free mapping service, Yahoo Maps, , with their free photo repository service, Flickr (an outside acquisition, by the way).

Not a novel service but one that was quite expensive a few years ago – tricky to implement within the last year.

My hope is that by melding two powerful, easily absorbed, sources of data, pictures and maps, I, and many other local activists, will be able to communicate more effectively.

Map below the fold….