Location Awareness – GPS can be cool but…..

Technology…the continuing boon of mankind, especially in the advent of wired AND wireless communication. I use four primary wireless communication devices: A Mac G5 Dual processor desktop and/or Mac G4 desktop, a laptop (Toshiba Satellite and Powerbook G4) with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, my Blackberry Curve smartphone, and an iPod Touch 2G. The creation of the Air Force’s Global Positioning System, or GPS has allowed anyone on the earth to determine exactly where they are on the earth. Since then, many vendors have manufactured GPS-enabled devices to harness this technology. Fast forward to today with the many uses of wireless devices and software applications developed for and embedded into cellphones, pdas, etc and you have the capability to now share with the world a very accurate representation of where you are in a very small envelope of time. Many of you reading this use this “apps” on a regular basis: Brightkite, Ubertwitter, Loopt, and tons of others allow not just people on your social networks, but the entire world, know where you are, depending on how you have your communication prefereneces configured for the location awareness app(s) you use. Many, if not all, of these apps allow you to send maps of where you are located based upon associated latitude and longitude coordinates given by the GPS system. You can send photos with your camera enabled device also associating your location. Frankly, I think it’s a fascinating aspect of communications technology that definitely bares its pros.

Last year I read a VERY good article in Wired Magazine about an iPhone user who decided to conduct a little experiment using the location awareness capability of his iPhone. The experiment was very interesting and for anyone interested in the social aspect of location awareness, I suggest it as recommended reading…the article is here.

As freely as it is used, I believe there should also be some thought in how freely one does use it. I’ve heard of many occasions where people tweeted, or otherwise posted there location over some timeframe which yield unfortunate results. One example was a business man who tweeted he was going on a business trip for a week and the location for the trip, only to return home and find his house…..robbed. Coincidence, maybe…but making your location easily aware to the public, along with the ancillary information u provided with it, should at least garner some thought as to what the consequences could be.

On a related note, I recently read a blog post by someone who I consider a super tech girl. (lol) and fellow Twitter user about how the EXIF data that digital cameras transmit (via wirelessly or not) can include the location and time of where that picture was taken (called “geotagging”) depending on if the hosting site of the pic strips out that data. One negative aspect of this is if the pic contained the outside of your house, or even the inside of it, complete with your VERY expensive belongings….you know where I am going with this. I also came across a great article on Lifehacker about how location awareness can change your life.

I love technology and embrace it, but the best uses of technology occur with the greatest exercise of common sense! Just some food for thought..stay hungry.

Thanks for the read….

peace,
F!

About Fresh

Dad/Hubby/Mac Fan/Sys. Engr - NASA planetary missions. guitarist/producer/AFOL/fitness fan/film•TV•sndtrk composer. Python newbie coder. Music by me: http://SFTF.bandcamp.com/Mellowly Cool
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6 Responses to Location Awareness – GPS can be cool but…..

  1. Primadanna says:

    Interesting… Had no idea about the geotagging of pictures… Will keep that in mind when sending out photos from locations I would rather people not have knowledge of… Thanks for the information….

  2. Fresh says:

    ::: Primadanna – Yes, many sites geotag, but some like Flickr (if I undestand correctly) keep only the date and other details about the photo, sans the location. As for other sites, sometimes they include such info *IF* your mobile device is configured to send your location coordinates with the pic. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Kenya says:

    Actually if you look at the “original” sized photo, that location data is still embedded in the image. I’ve been pulling some images from Flickr for testing.

  4. Madeline (aka twitter.com/Saglady09) says:

    Excellent article Doug, thanks so much for sharing. It would behoove people to really take note. Folks should never be so lax as to “give” people a means to:(a) track them down, or (b) know when they are away from their home. Never let your guard down and always use common sense!

  5. neoCarla says:

    I had no idea that the geotagging provided that much info. Thanks for the very insight article and links provided. I’m going to read them now.

  6. Fresh says:

    ::: Madeline – Good points made for sure! You’re welcome

    ::: neoCarla – I didn’t know either until having that discussion then reading the post by Kenya! You’re welcome!

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