Annotating the Planet
Jon Udell writes:
In the very near future, billions of people will be roaming the planet with GPS devices. Clouds of network connectivity are forming over our major cities and will inevitably coalesce. The geoaware Web isn’t a product we buy; it’s an environment we colonize. There will always be markets for proprietary data. But the real action will be in empowering people to create their own services, with their own data, for their friends, family, and business associates. Google Maps isn’t just a service, it’s a service factory.
Radical openness is the key. It’s been only two weeks since it launched and already the colonization has begun. Thanks to open XML data formats and open Web programming interfaces, people have figured out how to animate routes, create custom routes with their own GPS data, and display GPS data in real time.
What’s Google’s secret? Web DNA and no Windows tax.
When the world becomes a 3D bulletin board, anyone can post a message to a latitude/longitude/elevation coordinate, and anyone else can read it. But the most interesting scenario involves the sender and receiver actually being at the location, albeit at different times. Here’s a mundane example. You’re in the woods, you see a bear, you report it. Conversely, you’re in the woods, and you check your immediate surroundings for recent bear sightings. There are zillions of scenarios like this one. Individually none is a killer app. But collectively they’re huge.