Sunday, September 30, 2007

Social Mapping


Once we can bring the potential of GIS past the use of trained specialists, maps have a huge potential for allowing people to compare perspectives and make differently informed decisions.

I can imagine that in the future, I pull up my PDA with a map of the Mission, I ask the computer to display all nodes of information from postings of people ages 21-29, posted between 9pm and 3am, and only nodes about clubs in a 3 block radius from where I’m standing. Based on the experiences and perspectives that have been posted, I “know” that what I read will lead me to where I want to go.

It seems obvious that using this type of new information is based mainly on the trust that the user has with what he is reading. But, if millions of people are posting, how long can he trust the map?

Billions of things are posted on the internet, and I know that I probably won’t find validity in 99% of them. How do I know what I am reading wasn’t written by someone “crazy”? (Be that crazy: conservative, liberal, vegan, racist, "tree-hugger", obviously it’s all my own personal opinion). Also, what about the people that post things that are just plain false or fake?

Seemingly, once it reaches mainstream, social mapping could be doomed to fail. How could I possibly sort through the millions of nodes of mediocrity to find what is relevant, important and therefore trustworthy to me?

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