Locative technologies, Where2.0
There is very soon the Where2.0 conference in San José, CA. Lots of promising stuff are going there. Judging from the description, Mike Liebhold's presentation seems to nicely wrap-up what going on so far in the field of "locative technologies/services":
Beyond a growing commercial interest in mobile GIS and location services, there's deep geek fascination with web mapping and location hacking. After several years of early experiments by a first generation of geohackers, locative media artists, and psychogeographers, a second, larger wave of hackers are demonstrating some amazing tricks with Google Maps, Flickr, and del.icio.us. Meanwhile, a growing international cadre of open source digital geographers and frontier semantic hackers have been building first-generation working versions of powerful new open source web mapping service tools. (...) Out of this teeming ecosystem we can see the beginning shapes of a true geospatial web, inhabited by spatially tagged hypermedia as well as digital map geodata. Invisible cartographic attributes and user annotations will eventually be layered on every centimeter of a place and attached to every physical thing, visible and useful, in context, on low-cost, easy-to-use mobile devices.
Location is not about geography. The most important thing isn't the space you're in -- the coordinates -- but the place you're in -- the people, ideas, and interactions between them. Indeed, space is just a gateway to place: we need the coordinates to compare to other coordinates, but what we care about is proximity. The good news is that while for now the coordinate technologies like GPS are mainly available in mapping devices, there's already a great proximity technology out there, deployed in literally hundreds of millions of cell phones: Bluetooth.
And of course, some of the challenge will be described, for instance in Map Spam 2008: A Sanity Check by Michael Bauer:
The Utopian view of a world where social networking, geo-location, and mobility converge to deliver a rich, multimedia database of micro-local content is debunked. All in the spirit of fun, this presentation will apply a dose of reality to a ubiquitous mobile world. The realities of spam, tag abuse, and predictive following apps are profiled, to highlight the issues we ignore at our peril.
Why do I blog this? because my research is directed toward the understanding of such technology usage (from the socio-cognitive point of view). I think these talks efficiently describes the characteristics of the locative technology scene in 2006. What is interesting is that it addresses not only location issues but also its context: software that should support social practices (social software :( ), a real world in which things can fail and where spam exist...
There seems to be still lots of project about location-based annotations and friend-finder. I am wondering about 1) whether they are effectively used 2) how they are used 3) whether there could be innovative scenarios and usage. It seems that both are now the most commons examples, the "intelligent fridge" of the locative community.