Two sets of notes from the New Geography workshop put on by the Institute For The Future

I wasn’t able to make it unfortunately. From the sounds of it some really interesting topics were discussed. The transformative power of having information available either directly as or tied to maps and geographic location is something I think we’ve just started to realize. Projects like YellowArrow are a great way to raise the visability, but like many technologies this is one that really requires network effects to get going. Most geographic applications aren’t all that interesting unless there’s geographically marked up data to look at. Some commercial sources will output data like that, but of course that’s because they want to make a dime off the customers. Those could be interesting application, but aren’t where I expect the main push to be. I think the location based services really take off when you start connecting person to person. Location based services I think will take a bottom up form, much like SMS itself. Most users of SMS aren’t interested in getting just fresh news or stock quotes delivered to their handsets. Although those are valid applications, the main use for SMS is communicating with friends and colleagues. I think the tipping point for location based services will come when they can fufull the same kind of role. Connecting people to their friends and colleagues. Not to the nearest Pizza Hut.