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The Next Generation Of Maps

Maps you can move in. Big, deep, 3D changes coming to the world of digital cartography.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Japan. (Google Maps)

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Japan. (Google Maps)

Time was, a good map was rolled out in captain’s quarters on a rolling sea or a king’s table far from the front.  Splotched with gravy.  Embellished with mermaids.  A grand, rough approximation of the world as we knew it.  Flash forward to the smartphone in your pocket, the apps all over, the future rushing at us, and we’ve got maps gone wild.

Cartography on digital steroids.  Maps loaded with terabytes of data.  3D maps.  Maps you can zoom over, zoom into.  Walk through.  Now Google and Apple are squaring off over the next great map frontier.

This hour, On Point: maps gone wild.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Steven Levy, a senior writer at Wired magazine and author of In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.

Darin Jensen, a cartographer and Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley.

David Heyman, cartographer and co-founder of Axis Maps, a group that designs custom and interactive maps for the digital age.

From Tom’s Reading List

Slate “Is Google worried that Apple’s defection will substantially reduce its user base, and, consequently, the advertising revenue it gains through maps? Does the search company fear that it could lose its place as the online mapping leader, a position that has long been one of its competitive advantages? Is it concerned that Apple might build a better, more useful maps app?”

All Things D “Apple has been hard at work developing its own in-house mapping solution for iOS, and now it’s finally ready to debut it.”

CNN “Google and Apple’s race to develop new mapping techniques sparks new concerns over privacy issues.”

Slate Review of the “The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See.”

Slash Gear “Currently, Google Maps does not list waterways is active routes that people can use to move around nearby cities. The charity in charge of the UK waterways will work with Google to identify all access points to waterways and to identify bridges and tunnels. The goal is to allow people who live near canals and waterways to be able to access them as travel locations via Google Maps.”

Photos

Video: Google Glasses

Check out this video from Google demonstrating their Google Glasses project, which integrates several Google products.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Drew (GA)

    From Tom’s Reading List

    Slate “Is Google worried that Apple’s defection will substantially reduce its user base, and, consequently, the advertising revenue it gains through maps? Does the search company fear that it could lose its place as the online mapping leader, a position that has long been one of its competitive advantages? Is it concerned that Apple might build a better, more useful maps app?”

    Ummmm, I’m going to make a wild guess here Farhad Manjoo and say yes.

    Why ask a boatload of questions you already know the answer to and that contribute nothing to the article? Talk about redundancy.

    • Brothersower88

      Asking broad questions that most will agree with, is a marketing technique that encourages the target to get on the band wagon. 

      • Drew (GA)

        That was precisely my point. Glad to see you took my meaning despite my inability to effectively spell it out. I have trouble with that (spelling it out) the majority of the time. Glad we’re both paying attention.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    No doubt one of the negatives about Apple’s mapping solution discussed here is the lack of the same amount of detail as Google’s maps, for example, subway stops in New York. Of course, when Google maps was born it didn’t have the detail it has now. My guess is Apple will be adding that detail over time and we can always use both Apple’s and Google’s maps until that happens.

    • Drew (GA)

      Well all of us that have smart phones anyway. Mine is a dumb phone and I could care less about app progression.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        Drew: “all of us that have smart phones anyway”

        Actually, all of us who have iPhones. No doubt Android will continue to use Google’s solution and Microsoft’s phone will probably use Bing and their solution.The point is that mapping and locating things we care about is a very large part of mobile computing these days and while this move by Apple may not affect you, it affects all iPhone users and there are quite a few of us.

        • Drew (GA)

          Nice reply, I intended no offense to iproduct owners.

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            No offense taken. Just trying to keep things straight.

  • Vanessa, JP

    What an intro Tom! I freaking love you!

    • kj

       i quite agree. you are a fantastic host, Tom. keep being awesome as much and as long as you can.

  • Taylor Hutchison

    I hope this discussion is more about modern mapping/GIS than about Google vs. Apple.

    • CB

      Is GIS still pretty modern?  We used it 30 years ago with ESRI’s very early software to site alternative/renewable electrical generation/transmission facilities for a large California electrical utility.  GIS was definitely cutting edge then.  Still now?

  • Markus

    I wonder what “good enough” is for phone or tablet maps? It might be that Apple doesn’t need all the detail that Google has to become as popular. Ease of use and having the basics may trump all the in-depth fancy stuff for day to day use. However, for special cases, such as hiking or canoing, you get a specialized app.

    • Adks12020

      In my experience, cell phones are useless while hiking and canoeing..at least when you’re actually in the wilderness.  The signals aren’t strong enough to get out there, especially when there is heavy tree cover.  I have a specialty GPS with a mapping program that actually works out in the wilderness.  If they could put that technology into cell phones it would be awesome though. I’d much rather have one device.

      • Markus

        I do the same thing with cycling and use a specialized GPS device. Signal is probably not quite the problem as with hiking, but because it’s a specialized device has benefits of waterproof, cycling specific data, turn by turn instructions, etc.

        But I’ve seen the iphone mapping apps gradually close the gap and wonder if these will eventually drive the specialized devices out of this area. Hiking may take a lot longer because of signal problems.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Possible Emergency Use?  NOT dependable, but possible.

  • AC

    i love all the new features on maps! i started with keyhole and now use google earth and google or bing – i love them all and always use this when i’m about to travel to a new place…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You had access to Keyhole Satellites?   You’re NSA?  NRO?

      • AC

        keyhole used to have free public software, it was very new at the time (2001-ish?), it must have been picked up and specialized….i always wondered what happened to them
        what’s NRO ?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          NRO is National Reconnisance (sp?) Office.  Keyholes have been around since the 70′s, but I didn’t know their info was released public.
             Government Alphabet-Soup is confusing, probably even to the Alphabet Soups?

          • AC

            maybe it was just a start-up at the time using the name because they thought it would be a cute ‘connection’ to satellites. i don’t think it’s the same thing you’re talking about….
            i thought i heard they were the base for google earth because it was about the time keyhole disappeared then earth showed up, but i don’t know what really happened to them….

          • robinottawa

            Got bought by Google to make KML, I think.

  • Vanessa, JP

    This totally reminds me of M.T. Anderson’s novel, Feed.  Highly recommended.  Advertising completely catered to your preferences, monitoring your every browsing move and reacting to it.  Raises big issues of privacy and consumerism.  Scary stuff, to me.

    • AC

      this sounds like a book i’ll put on my list!

  • Aaron

    It seems to me that while technology is useful, we are rapidly losing a connection to the world around us as a tactile and sensual place. Years ago my father created a series of popular hiking and canoeing maps covering the Adirondack Park in upstate NY. While he relied somewhat on USGS benchmarks (metal plates hammered into rock), nearly all the “on the ground” work was done by actually hiking the trails. The templates for these maps were also lovingly made entirely by hand. Algorithms are no substitute for experience.

    • Vanessa, JP

      completely agree. take off the technology and experience your surroundings first hand.  

      • Adks12020

        no doubt.  it drives me nuts when I’m 10 miles into the woods on top of a mountain on a beautiful day and i see people noodling around on their cell phones…I leave mine in the car..always.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I carry mine for cases of Emergency.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          I carry mine to post images. It’s fun to do it in real time vs waiting until I get home to unload my digital camera (which I also do).

        • robinottawa

          How did you get out there? Drive much. Leave your car at home before your phone.

    • Adks12020

      I hike in the Adirondack Park frequently.  I wonder if I’ve used his maps?  I know I’ve wished others had.  Last summer I ran into 2 groups in one day that were trying to figure out where to go using their cell phones…which obviously didn’t get a signal…they probably could have used his maps…haha.

    • robinottawa

      Interesting topic. Satellites take pictures for us to help us visualise where we are. We’ve gone from living and dying in a single village and having no idea what or who was over the mountain, to having a vague idea about the entire earth – at least that it is there and that people are different in different places. (Remember when the hippies forced NASA to publish the “whole earth” photo? :) To me, this graduation is no different than the pony express -telegraph phone - sat-phone development. We each have more knowledge and access to information than ever before.

      But, yes, satellites also take away the need to navigate by senses alone, but that experience has simply become an option for anyone, rather than a necessity for everyone.

      I also think it’s important to have a raw experience with nature, but I doubt we’re getting that just because we hike without a phone (hiking shoes, gortex clothes, car to get there, park management, etc). I believe in parks and wild spaces because we have to have them, in abundance, in order to have a healthy planet. As for getting away, good luck. Come to Canada where 3/4 of the land is people, and emergency response, free.

  • AC

    i wonder if soon we’ll be able to customize the info we get; like the historical data, or geological

  • kj

    could you please address the psychological implications of this kind of technology? i recall hearing some interesting commentary on npr recently about the negative impact of technology on the cognitive development of children, and i suspect similar effects will come to be recognized in coming years on adults as well. it seems to me that we are living less and less in the real world, and i suspect that there are effects from this that we are not yet fully cognizant of. might we be causing ourselves needless harm and suffering? can your guests comment on this?

    • robinottawa

      I think we could say the same for books vs story telling. Every technical advantage changes the game, and no one can predict the overall changes that coming generations will face. I’m frankly more worried about getting to far away from having security of food in my/our control as everything we consume, including water (and air?) becomes a commodity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicole-Charlot/41508021 Nicole Charlot

    It seems that with every decade, more and more of William Gibson’s cyber fiction comes true. Looks like I’ll be able to buy the Molly Millions tech eyeglass implants pretty soon at your nearest L.L. Bean. Unbelievable.

    • AC

      i love william gibson!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nicole-Charlot/41508021 Nicole Charlot

        An amazing mind. Decades ahead of his time.

  • sloop

    I think some of what we lose is the sense that the journey is important in our life, self and world discovery in finding your way  – ask, push some buttons and you are told information immediately what to do, where to go.  I wonder how people like Joseph Campbell would characterize this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Given the prevalence of new map tech, its ease of use, and the ability to get where you want to go without really thinking about it, what worries me is that people will eventually lose the ability to read a map in a traditional sense. It seems like just another step on the road to complete reliance on technology over our own judgement.

  • AC

    i love my waze – but, in talking to a police officer, i don’t report where cops are anymore. he said sometimes they could be waiting for a possible kidnapped child and we’re warning the criminal when we do stuff like that! goes to show it really does depend on the shoes you walk in, i would never have thought of that on my own!

  • Alison

    I hate using digital maps and GPS navigation.  While it makes it easier in the short run to get to a specific location, but i don’t actually have a good sense of where i am or how i got there and it makes me feel lost.  I would much rather find where i am going on a map and then look at what is around me to know where i am and where i am going.

    • Emitr

      Maybe they will make an app that lets us get there without GPS, but if we signal or start to make a wrong turn it corrects us and then lets us go on our own again until we start to make another mistake.  That way our brains would do the learning, with only training, when necessary, coming from the computer.

      • robinottawa

        I do that already. If I’m lost or in a hurry, I might supplement my own navigation by checking my location once in a while. If I really need to get there quickly, I’ll sometimes use the turn-by-turn navigation. But I always use it as a tool, as needed.

  • Peter

    The digital timepiece has taken away our sense of a place in time, it is lacks the relative aspect of looking at a clock face and seeing where in the day we are.  Are digital maps going to take away our sense of place by telling us which turn is coming up next, instead of showing us on a paper map where we are in relation to other places?

  • AC

    she needs waze, it’s free and you can draw in the correct roads to update the database!

  • Markus

    I heard the comment about losing the knowledge of geographic space. I see the opposite. If your map tells you what’s surrounding you such as history, events, geographical elements, who knows, you know a lot more than just by driving through it. Also, I’ve found that by using these devices on my bike, I can avoid busy streets and get where I need to with country roads. And I can share these routes with others.  

  • AC

    didn’t you have a guest recently who was an anthropologist who said the natives she was living with thought she was slow because she couldn’t understand the way they gave directions; she knew left/right behind or infront. they on the other hand drew an arial ‘map’ in their heads and used degrees….? can’t remember the specifics, but it shows we can be flexible

  • LMR

    One reason that GPS does not work as well in the country is because the house is often far away from the road. The GPS apparently locates the house and then identifies that point on the road that is closest to the house. This may or may NOT be the end of the driveway. A friend used GPS to find our house in VT and wound up about 50′ past our driveway.

    • Mapper

       Actually that’s not the case. Addressing is based either on street centerlines or site address points (in the the case of most it’s centerlines). The location of your address has nothing to do with where your house actually is, but is based on where your house number is “interoplated” in that segment’s range of addresses. This can get skewed  based on the range. For example… Id the street segment range is 100-199 and your house is address #150 then your address is going to appear halfway on the segment. So if the address range is off, or if addresses are not evenly spaced on your road then it is not going to be exact.

    • 123

       You are confusing the terms.  The GPS works fine, it knows exactly where you are.  The underlying GIS layers and data sets and/or address ranges are what are in error

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Name something that CANNOT be used for GOOD, or EVIL?  Many, if not all of these map apps, can be used either way!

  • Gary Trees

    Tom, Great Topic.

    One really impressive utility of augmented reality is in it’s use in a manufacturing environment.  When a computer is dictating and visually reporting where the next part in an assembly process is located, the technicians job becomes much easier.  This is a huge benefit in a manufacturing environment where many different, yet similar parts, are being used in an on-demand basis. 

    Bringing this full circle to the topic of mapping; the only way that any of this is possible is to have entire factories mapped in three dimensions.  Really impressive stuff is in store for the future of manufacturing.

    Cheers!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    MCE, MASS CORONAL EVENT!  Electromagnetic Pulse!  Jamming!  Hacking!  Solar Storms!
       ANY of these could wipe out your ability to know where you are going, and where you ACTUALLY are.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I left out Signal Dead Zones, and Areas of Massive Strength Signals, and Areas of Massive Numbers of Signals.

  • Gretchen

    Trying to offer directions to lost tourists in Boston use to be very difficult but now I love taking out my iphone showing them exactly where we are and offering a simple visual way to get them to where they want to go.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Recently had two trips to medical centers for my daughter and tried using Googlemaps, Mapquest, even had a GPS, just to see if they would help. They all suggested the shortest route, but knowing the area from prior visits, the shortest distance would have added 30 – 40 minutes in actual travel time as they would have sent me through congested areas, and there was a lot of turning, and in some case they were just plain wrong.  I went the ways AAA mapped out for me on a TripTik years ago, and while it’s a couple miles longer, both places were 95% on one roadway, then a right and another right and TADA, front doors. 

  • Roy Mac

    Why bother going anywhere when you can just dial up a live stream and view it from the comfort of your own couch?  Go outside and risk getting panhandled or rained on?  Just spend your money on gadgets and to hell with transportation or wardrobe adjustments or contracting some strange disease that your internal ecosystem (see yesterday’s topic) has forgotten how to deal with…

  • Dave in Kentucky

    One of the panelists discussed mistakes in Google maps and said, “Just tell Google to correct the map location.” My home street was incorrectly shown and I went through the process of getting it fixed. There’s nothing easy or quick about it. I finally found the clearinghouse where Google gets its map info and submitted a request for a fix. It took nearly a year for the correction to show up, with no feedback to me at all…

    This brings up an important question in my mind – who owns all of this mapping information? If my street or house is shown incorrectly, I have little power to change it. On the flip side, what if I don’t want every person on earth to locate and see my house? What if the satellite or street view images show me or my children too? Did anybody get my consent before taking the images and publishing them to the world?

  • Jaki Reis

    I have been using a GPS for two years now for my work which takes me to 5-10 new and different locations each day.  My response on the first day I used it was chagrin:  I knew how to get where I was going, but I had no idea of where I was on the planet, so to speak. Because I use it so much, I began to rely totally on it and lost my ability to make detour decisions, even on roads in NYC, where I grew up and used to know like the back of my hand. Now, two years later, I find that I am “evolving” and have begun to be able to employ my old location skills again, even while using the gps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

    Thank you for having this very important conversation. As the most recent caller made clear, we live in a time of a growing gap between basic geographic literacy (which is in decline) and ever-more sophisticated geotechnologies. 

    This is a very timely discussion, as the Massachusetts Legislature is currently debating a bill that would provide for a thorough discussion of geographic literacy and education in the Commonwealth.

    Senate Bill 2194 would create a commission to look into this very important issue.

    http://massgeo.org/geo_bill.html 

    Incidentally, as the current speaker mentions, although private companies are responsible for many of the advances in the mapping interfaces, we can thank the public sector for the underlying data.

  • John Wolf

    Is this an aspect of what Jean Baudrillard was worried about in “Simulacra & Simulation” (a strong influence on “The Matrix” as well) where “reality” becomes an increasingly obscure term?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jhayesboh James Hayes-Bohanan

    Thank you for having this very important conversation. As the most recent caller made clear, we live in a time of a growing gap between basic geographic literacy (which is in decline) and ever-more sophisticated geotechnologies. 

    This is a very timely discussion, as the Massachusetts Legislature is currently debating a bill that would provide for a thorough discussion of geographic literacy and education in the Commonwealth.

    Senate Bill 2194 would create a commission to look into this very important issue.

    http://massgeo.org/geo_bill.html 

    Incidentally, as the current speaker mentions, although private companies are responsible for many of the advances in the mapping interfaces, we can thank the public sector for the underlying data.

    • TTG

      You are right on!  Geographic literacy–in all its aspects–should be one of the most important topics in education.  Everything happens somewhere–and the somewhere matters!

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    In regard to the woman caller that mentioned kids not knowing how to read maps – Back in Jr high they have whole map section with the blue pulp booklets. Do they even still do that anywhere?  I whip out a map and kids look at it like they would a dial on a rotary phone, “WTF is that?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/buttereye Carol Southern

    You know what I would really like?  A map/GPS for Chicago O’Hare Air Port!  1. to find the terminal, & 2. to find my way back to the correct parking lot, the correct entrance, & my car!

  • TTG

    Check http://www.StrataLogica.com to see new map technology for schools.  Kids love maps and geography delivered this way–they can author and collaborate to customize the map content.

  • Webbizz

    hi Claude from China..do you think these new apps take away from the adventure in travel and discovery?

  • Roy Mac

    Probably the main reason I like NPR is the lack of commercial presentations.  Imagine my disappointment at today’s show; nothing but product placement.

  • Jude Connelly

    I certainly believe that people have a heightened sense of disconnect with the age of digital maps, but moreover I believe it all comes with the use of the map. I am a very geographically aware person, and I feel that having a digital map with me at all times via iPhone allows me to see where are, and it gives me an even better sense of what the true geography is around me!

  • BAS

    Just listening to this as a recorded show this evening I wish I was hearing a correlation type question (after querying our co-evolution with the billions of bacteria in our internal eco-systems = a day or so ago – re loss of resiliency to disease) to asking  if our pineal glands that have evolved to direct us spatially will lose their accumulated survival values and perhaps other unconsidered intelligences.

  • Priscilla

    Listening to your show in the car since I live in one of those places that has no cell phone, no high-speed internet, no GPS, and no NPR on the radio (even though we have a fabulous public radio station!). The listener with the horse farm has an important message about gaps in coverage, but there is a serious safety issue as well.  The current GPS systems will NEVER – I repeat NEVER – tell the user to simply turn around. They always go for the “four right turns” or “four left turns” or the moral equivalent.  Our neighbor’s daughter was coming to our house (in the country) a few months ago in the dead of winter, missed our driveway, realized she was lost after a few minutes, and asked her GPS to help her get to our house, not knowing whether she had passed us or not.  Even though we were less than a mile back from where she was, the GPS never once told her to turn back and instead kept taking her farther and farther into the mountain foothills, on ever more dangerous roads. Thankfully she had the presence of mind to stop, get out her emergency gear from the trunk, curl up under a couple of blankets, and wait for daylight.  Out here, GPS is worse than neutral – it’s dangerous!  Thanks for listening.  Priscilla Weaver, http://www.saltmarshranch.com, faithful listener to JPR.

  • Ann

    I love reading maps.  All maps. Including Google maps.  I use google maps in teaching and think if students are taught how to use and understand maps, it adds to their appreciation of the world. 
    That said, I am concerned about the misuse of internet maps.  I was stalked by a complete nut case some time ago and if he knew how to use e-maps and was able to locate me, I would not be alive today. 
    As an educator I do not in any way wish to limit access to knowledge, however I think there should be some kind of controls individuals can place on the application if they wish to exclude specific individuals.  Is this kind of safegards available?

  • MichiKiwi

    As someone with a GIS degree who works with historic maps for a living, and also someone who has embraced GPS and smart phone map technology, I have two major concerns about the overwhelming reliance we’ve developed on digital mapping. 

    The first is the loss of ability to properly read maps.  I suspect that at least 50% — probably much higher — of people who rely heavily on GPS units, and even Google maps, to get themselves around would be completely bewildered if suddenly their technology died and they had to pull out an old paper map and navigate by it.  I’ve seen reports of many people who took their GPS units into the backcountry for walks, and then couldn’t get a signal and got lost because they had no clue how to follow a topographic map (if they even bothered to take one with them).  That’s tragic and sometimes fatal.  Technology should never be a total replacement for old school know-how.  Those same people are also losing the ability to relate where they are with what is around them at a moderate distance.  Pull out an old topographical map and suddenly you see you’re 1/2 mile from a river or beach.  Pull up google maps, type in an address, and you get a few blocks.  Personal GPS units are even worse.

    Secondly, I am deeply saddened by the decline of cartography as artwork.  Google maps will never contain painstakingly hand-drawn compass roses or fanciful textwork for place names and features.  Google 3D will never require the talent to craft the rock faces and hill shading that goes into a fabulous, eye-popping map of the Alps.  The more we rely on digital mapping, the less the demand becomes for the art of cartography.  I enjoy using GIS, but I would’ve given my left arm for a class on cartographic design skills during my university days.  Those are becoming increasingly rare.

    As an aside I don’t like classifying digital mapping as cartography, because if anything the digital maps we work with today don’t require true cartographic skill to create.  They require database understanding to create.  The art of cartography is in not only in accurately drawing a map, but in the design of features and textures that convey tremendous amounts of information.  Information that digital maps have no interest in (or need to) present.  Cartographers also are expected to be able to select the and tailor the quantity of information presented by a map to give it the most value.  Point and click toggling of layers is practical, but requires no finesse or understanding of how those layers can complement and detract from each other. 

    • robinottawa

      It’s not just cartography art and spatial sense that’s in decline. It’s all art and many senses. The problem, I think, is bigger than maps. If we manage to keep the electricity on for another generation, who knows how people will manage to keep society democratic rather than I/me/my.

  • Gereau

    I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 5 years.  Having an iPhone for the majority of my time living here, and relying on the Maps app to make my way around, I never actually learned the city very well. It’s only from riding a motorcycle (no GPS!), and forcing myself to memorize where I’m going that I finally feel like I have a grasp on my location at any given time.

    • robinottawa

      Heh – but I bet you haven’t yet stopped using books and learned how to tell stories again, or stopped using cars and started walking again. There are many things we don’t do, and we don’t know what we are missing. It will always be thus. What is more important, I think, is that we (I) understand how these things affect my ability to work and my freedom to participate in demmocratic society etc etc. I think privacy issues like tracking are more important than having some of my spatial sense dulled.

  • Scott Galetka

    I work in government and have worked in the private sector in the past doing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and have worked with Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Many people people interchange the terms. GIS is the data layers and maps. GPS is the use of satellites to track your location on a map.
    As a government agency we use GIS in may departments, E-911, Land Records, Taxation, Conservation, Zoning and Forestry. It’s very important to daily operations. We publish our own data for the public because we generate the data and have many private business users such as Realtors, Surveyors, and Title companies. http://www.bayfieldcounty.org/BasicBayfieldCoMap/ and http://www.bayfieldcounty.org/map/ These are very different from Google or Bing because it is specific to the area and is important to have the correct data. The private firms would not be able to keep up with the changes and that is why some of your navigation systems usually give you the wrong directions. For the most part local data is the best but is fragmented in different file formats and smaller geographic areas which is difficult for the Googles of the world to use the data and why they have created their own and may have errors because of the inconsistencies in the “official” road name and information from other sources in which they gather it for consumers to use.

  • Emitr

    I can imagine apps that throw up location decoys, so that when, for example, a child tells her father that she is going to a friend’s house, she sets the app to project her location as being at the friend’s house while she actually carouses around the city.  So, I think trust will continue to be fundamental to relationships, regardless of technological advancements.

  • Emitr

    Your discussion caused me to imagine something so much more fascinating than the images taken from the Google street-level car.  What if every human (or at least billions of humans each) carried around an omni-directional camera, and data processors made real-time, three dimensional virtual views of everything visible to all humans at any given moment, with gaps filled in with views of those spaces which humans had viewed in the past.  This would give us something close to an omni-present view of humanly experienced space, in real time.  Orwellian, but useful.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

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Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

 
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

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Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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