Friday, October 9, 2009

Geo and Social Media

At the National States Geographic Information Network (NSGIC) conference in Cleveland, OH this week, there was much discussion about the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter combining location information in their technology. Twitter announced in August that a lat/long metadata tag based on location of origin would be available soon as an option to people who twitter. The discussion amongst the attendees (state GIS coordinators, federal, MPO, private participants) was at a high level and was not able to make any conclusions on this fast moving technology, other than this: Governments will need to keep abreast of the technology or else get run over by it. Traditionally, government is one of the last to adapt to newer technology and this is not necessarily a bad thing. In a related topic, the term "crowdsourcing" was also a hot subject, with a presentation about OpenStreetMap. Discussion centered on the use of authoritative data and the ever increasing availability of social media location information. I doubt one would want to rely on crowdsourced data to route an emergency vehicle responding to a 911 call. I also doubt that many users of online maps would care as long as they could find their nearest coffee shop. Change is definitely a constant in the field of GIS. Stay tuned...

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