Mittwoch, 21. Januar 2009

gps to impress

Wired have reviewed 10 exciting new developments in the 'GPS Revolution'.

GPS is no longer simply the annoying voice in your car, it's branching out to attract the iPod generation with a series of applications you can download on to your iPhone, Blackberry or whatever else it is business students carry around these days. Unsurprisingly, most of these applications offer some form of navigational assistance, such as warning you of speed cameras, finding taxis or waking you up when you reach your destination (not advised for drivers). My two favourites demonstrate the versatility of use that GPS has to offer today's tech-savvy iPeople. Follow the links to download.

Impress a gullible person with your knowledge of astronomy using GoSkyWatch. This has nothing to do with Rupert Murdoch's new advertising campaign, instead it uses something called an '
internal accelerometer' to help you identify constellations and measure interstellar distances. All you need to do is point your phone at the heavens. Palm-top space-travel.

Caught short? The wonderfully named SitOrSquat tracks down public toilets in your vicinity and displays them on a GoogleMap, complete with user ratings. Soon, if you have a portable printer, you'll even be able to download and print your own toilet paper (patent pending).

To be honest none of them can really claim to be revolutionary, unless the revolution liberates us from our labours to such an extent that we head for the streets to play city-sized games of tag. GPS is the ultimate technology in matters territorial. The final step in global exploration, the 20th Century sextant, it scans the planet and renders it in grid format. Along with satellite imagery and advanced internet mapping systems, it's one of our godlike technologies, allowing us to remove ourselves and view our actions in 3rd person perspective. But as opposed to the others it also offers direct spatial control rather than just analysis. The 'GPS Revolution' won't be about finding toilets or dodging speeding tickets, it will be a complete transformation in public and private travel. Automated units guided with precision by satellite; no crashing, no queuing, pure efficiency. New forms of settlement and land managment may emerge as GPS streamlines our transport systems. It could become logistics nirvana, overseeing all movement on earth, guiding us unerringly along our ever expanding, ever accelerating networks in a state of perpetual harmony. Yet to date its most high profile use continues to be an excuse for war crimes.

Image from Defence Industry Daily.

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