Evolution and Emergence of LBS

The challenges of LBS are incredibly interesting, and seem to me to encompass what many of the challenges within GIS are today: the limitations of the hardware, and the limitations of the user.  I particularly liked the term “naive user”, implying to me not just that the user doesn’t understand, but that they are adaptable to the technology available.  This coincides with the idea that context is important for LBS because of how the data is displayed and how people are taking it in.  The language, the visualizations—user interface seems like a highly evolving and necessarily important field.

Previously in class we were discussing how maps are evolving to meet the needs of users, as opposed to having users bend to the will of the map, so to speak.  I see LBS as a form of Maps of the 21st Century.  Constantly evolving with, contextualizing, re-contextualizing, adapting, and shaping the world and users around it, LBS takes the qualitative data and attempts to reinterpret it in a manner accessible and useful to many users.  However, I do agree with Madskiier_JWong when they suggest the user is in many cases passive—while technologies are working to evolve to needs of the user, it would appear that on-the-ground, the user is in many cases taking what is being provided.  It will be interesting to see how the technology evolves to incorporate real-time demands of multiple users and presents them uniquely to the variety of consumers.

Looking into LBS it seems that while an upcoming field, in practical application for the everyday user, it is still quite new, and just beginning to catch on with people, with regards to programs such as foursquare, the friend finder for mobile phones.  To me, this lack of immediate uptake on some forms of LBS references another important limitation the authors spoke of, that of privacy.  And not even necessarily that people can see where you are going and collect information from you, but that it is being built into devices where the default is to track your movements—it is not necessarily something you must seek out yourself.  I think as it gains popularity, however, the privacy issue will come to the forefront, and like with the internet, users will become more aware of their rights, how to properly protect their privacy, and where to draw the line.



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