New Mapping Technologies: Stalking Made Easy?
The evolution of web mapping technology has been extraordinary.
Google Maps was one of the very first online web mapping technologies. Created in early 2005, it now dominates in online and mobile web-mapping technology. The power of Google Maps is probably with its route-planning and route-calculating elements that allow anyone with wireless access or even on the go with a smartphone to be have a directional guide. Shortly after Google Maps, Google Earth came along with its incorporation of incredible satellite images, and eventually Bing Maps in 2010.
What makes Bing Maps superb is the use of Microsoft’s Seadragon technology, which allows seamless zooming regardless of resolution or file size that is optimized for online browsing. With this kind of technology, Bing Map users can zoom in with their mouse wheels from a satellite or map view to a point where it automatically transitions into street view, all with little load time. To understand what DeepZoom (based off of Seadragon) looks like in action, check out this amazing demonstration: Hard Rock Memorabilia. Fascinating as that was, don’t drop your jaw yet! Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Microsoft Live Labs releases Photosynth, a software to create 3D views of a particular location that can then be uploaded to Bing Maps.
Photosynth allows for an “augmented-reality mapping technology.” Photos taken by the public can be integrated into the map itself to create a virtual reality with infinite zooming, viewing angles, and even time frames, integrating cartography with imagery, as the developer of Bing Maps, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, puts it. It can even be used in real time, as Blaise showcases in his ground-breaking TED Talk.
And that brings us to the topic of geotagging. Geotagging is the process of linking locations to photos by embedding an extra piece of information (longitude and latitude) into the photo. Eye-Fi is an example service-provider for geotagging and uses the Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) to do so. It has now even been integrated into newer technologies such as the HTC Flyer and Huawei MediaPad. After witnessing Photosynth and Seadragon, one can imagine its unlimited applications with the addition of geotagging, especially in terms of promotions and advertising. However, with great power comes great responsibilities… and great threats. Mythbuster host Adam Savage was a victim of geotagging when he accidentally tweeted a geotagged photo and revealed where he lived.
So this new technology – amazing technological advancement and advertising tool or stalking made easy?