Metagenomics or “community sequencing” is a relatively young science. It’s essentially a research field that tries to make sense out of a big mess and without adequate computational tools to handle the sequence data, a big mess is all that you’ll have. It’s interesting to see how researchers are approaching the problem. I especially liked the slides (PDF 2.1 MB) from Dawn Field’s group, which discuss standards for metagenomic data and a variety of mashups such as using Google Maps for geolocation of samples. Good to see that the Genomic Standards Consortium have a WordPress blog and a wiki.
Some software platforms under development are discussed at Konrad Förstner’s blog.