There Should be an App for That

First of all, expectations are always going to fall either short or long of reality. Rarely, if ever, does anyone get it spot on. Consider the predictions published in 1899 of what the year 2000 would look like ( Aside from the fact that everyone is wearing shoes, and heavier-than-air human flight has been developed (in a way), they were dead wrong. The same can be said of the opening statement of Stein, in which he states “location-based services has fallen somewhat short of expectations.” They have come a long way since their infancy, and are continuing to grow. Chances are, development will slow, or cease, due to us running out of time, and not because the perfect device has been created.

Location based services and GIS do not share an evenly balanced relationship. One side takes, while the other side makes. In this case, GIS is responsible for “offer[ing] a range of mapping services and geographically oriented content.” Location based services then take the content and distribute it accordingly. That does not mean that GIS will eventually deplete it’s supply of data, but location based services will become increasingly dependent on higher quality, more diverse, and increasing update rates of data. If a location based service asks the user for information, a GIS is told what the user is interested in regardless of where the analysis is being performed. Furthermore, GIS users have far more control over the spatial data, compared to location based service users. That is, until GIS software is embedded with location based service capabilities, allowing for it track the location of it’s users. Here’s an idea, in the event that GIS platforms become sufficiently portable that software can be taken mobile, a location based service could suggest shapefiles for analysis given previous use habits, and the current location of the user, allowing them to validate their results in real time. There should be an app for that.


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