Thursday, December 1, 2011

The 13 percent technology

Despite its wide penetration and multi-billion dollar industry status GIS is still arguably only serving a small fraction of our needs. Mike Goodchild talks about this in terms of the 13 percent technology, meaning that GIS generally deal with outdoor spaces and the average American spends only 13 percent of their time outdoors. This leaves 87% of our time not really addressed by the geospatial technology. While this thesis depends on the scale at which you want 'coverage' (being inside my office still will pinpoint my location as 40°00'02N, 83°00'44W and enable many interesting geospatial services), it is interesting to think about the possibilities offered by full coverage inside houses, department stores, etc. Google now introduces "Take Google Maps Indoors" - the ability to navigate some of these indoor spaces on your Android phone. My favorite example is obviously the IKEA possibilities (have no idea what's with the Spanish musical theme!) but it also got me wondering if store owners really want their customers to be able to navigate the store labyrinths easier. I know of some really clever shortcut in the IKEA stores I frequent and it certainly helps me to not be exposed to all the great things I could buy. Airports, certainly a win-win for all, but apart from that?? Why would mall owners want to help customers to be more effective and spend shorter time in the mall? Anyway, GIS seems to be slated for a quick run to become a 99% technology. That last percent would be some unnamed private spaces where I would prefer a total dead zone.

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