In thy face I see the map of honor, truth, and loyalty.
William Shakespeare, Henry VI Part II, III:1, the King to his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester
Hopefully you're now as convinced as we are that a new wave in geographic tools and techniques is revolutionizing the way we produce and consume maps. Commodified consumer GPS, Wi-Fi location sensing, open source GIS tools, and web publishing of spatial datathe kind of work that previously could only be carried out by large military, governmental and transnational agenciescan now be used by home users or community groups.
We can all see a little bit of the years to come; we can draw pictures of a shared future with the practice of "collaborative mapping." This doesn't have to be a serious-minded, socially conscious activity. Buckminster Fuller's original vision of the "geoscope," via which "All the world would be dynamically viewable and picturable and radioable to all the world," suggested a "World Game," in which we could playfully work out the consequences of our future plans.
With this in mind, we've looked for playful and unusual ways in which to use and generate spatial information. We've looked for simple applications that you can set up, allowing your friends and neighbors to describe your world in ways that are meaningful to you and re-usable by others.
Those in hyper-networked parts of the world are starting to see "geo games," which locate where you are on your wireless voice device, or freakishly accurate models of cities on their home-gaming consoles, networked up to reflect real-world changes in routes and new features in the built environment. The rules worked out in these play spaces present an interesting counterpoint to the "God's-eye" military simulations that inform and fund immersive virtual world environments such as There.com.
Parts of this chapter are forward-looking, to a future of pervasive computing in which you're tapping out your latest photomoblog to your freak-clique with your data glove on the low-slung table in your favorite recaf-vending geoloc. But we'd also like to look backward, to document civic history and the changing use of space, and tell the stories of our wagon-riding great-grandparents in a medium that our electrolobed gargoyle great-grandchildren will be able to connect with.
The semantic weba network of machine-understandable, interconnected information sources that complements the existing web of human-readable pagesis our current best hope for creating media annotated with location and time. Many of these hacks use the Resource Description Framework (RDF) graph model and XML format to attempt to bridge between the Web as we know it and the all-singing, all-dancing geospatial web of the hopeful future.
The possibilities inherent in open source GIS, and freely available data with a spatial component, are as endless as all our collective imaginations. The software and the data standards described here allow us to describe our neighborhood, exchange models of our environment and how we might willfully or unwillingly change it, and stitch these models together in a "geoscope." Geofiction blurs with geofact, in ways that we can't yet predict.