Notes from NotCon: Geocoding

So the first panel of the day is over and we’re not waiting in the over-crowded downstairs for the Matt Jones– hosted “Hardware” panel to get going.

My initial reactions to the Geocoding panel were extraordinarily positive – the first project that people talked about was called Biomapping and it was a fascinating concept. Basically the guy talked about using a galvanic skin response detector attached to a GPRS device to start plotting individual reactions to the environment around them. Totally fascinating. Then followed Nick West from Urban Tapestries (note based geo-annotation on mobile phones), Earle Martin from Open Guides (wiki-based open city guides) and a clump of people from Project Z, who seem to spend their lives creeping around in places where they shouldn’t, taking photographs and leaving Indymedia logos. Pretty cool stuff.

I tried to ask a question during the event, but unfortunately was shut down by Chris Lightfoot. For those who are interested, I wanted to know whether or not any of the geo-annotation systems (including but not limited to the Open Guide wikis) were building in any protection against spamming at the architectural level. So many useful and potentially valuable projects in the past have ended up with fundamental problems with spamming (including e-mail and weblogs – and now wikis), the last thing we need is to have a standard of annotating the earth and all things around us that is going to be overwhelmed with adverts for prostitutes, scams, drugs and vouchers for Starbucks and McDonalds.

I’ll try and post up the full SubEthaEdit notes from the first session later in the day. No promises though…

7 replies on “Notes from NotCon: Geocoding”

Are prostitutes calling cards a kind of analog geolocatory spam?
What about flyposting? Or those irritating people with charity clipboards?
Do we accept this because we’re used to it – it’s just part of the ubiquitous noise when we’re out and about in the street. Is the personal ‘myspace’ notion of email or SMS what makes it intrusive?

It’s a good question — I also wish that we could have answered it during the presentation! We’ve thought about it a lot for Urban Tapestries (tho no solutions are implemented in the current version). I’m convinced there’s ways to get around space-spam, which generally fall into three categories:
* trust networks (FOAF, etc.)
* moderation (like Slashdot)
* filtering/searching (think a Google for space)
Also, I don’t think problems with space-spamming will appear until annotation software is widespread and popular…and then at least we can console ourselves with the fact that annotation software is widespread and popular!
There’s more thoughts about this at and (a SF-based app that’s similar, but not mobile)

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