Wednesday, May 2, 2007

GPS Enables Us All

I still haven't purchased my first Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. I imagine so many of my close calls hiking out in nature would have been avoided with either a compass or GPS unit. I remember fondly Dad and I emerging from the woods at 10:30pm under a full moon after losing track of where we were and hiking ten miles longer than we expected. Or, hiking south of the equator where I got confused, finally saw the sun setting on the wrong side of the sky, and extended an already ambitious 30 kilometer hike into a 46 kilometer hike (without seeing another human all day).

We get older and supposedly we get wiser. And, the devices keep getting cheaper and more reliable. Better yet, the devices enable this whole virtual earth, bottom up contribution process that is behind half the reasons we should build our community-managed virtual cities now. I haven't thought this through enough yet to eloquently convince you of my position, but as Bonnie DeVarco states in her article Earth as A Lens: Global Collaboration, GeoCommunication, and The Birth of EcoSentience:

Looking closer at current trends around the globe, it is becoming clear that the changing face of cell phones and the E-911 mandate will converge with this new experience of location-awareness, something that is already infusing our youth with a zeal for the experience of continuous geolocation. Due to the popularity of portable GPS units for travelers, bike riders, backpackers, and adventurers to chart their planetary journeys, new organizations and tools are arising. GPS devices are converging with software and game technology to create a new genre of GPS-enabled communication.

Thanks Bonnie - that's a good place to start. Let's make virtual cities the focus of some of these new emergent organizations.

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