Latitude and longitude

Here’s an interesting site I stumbled upon today: The Degree Confluence Project. From their homepage:

The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures and stories will then be posted here.

Sort of like a blog post for every latitude and longitude intersection on Earth (well, every one on land, anyway). Cool idea. Here’s the nearest confluence to Bend.

This reminds me of another idea I had along these lines after reading an article in Discover Magazine: geographically-based Web browsing. It’s not a new idea, I can’t claim it, but here’s the gist: You have a portable device that’s connected wirelessly to the internet (laptop, PDA, whatever) and is GPS-enabled, so you have realtime GPS coordinates for wherever you are and a live net connection. Then, you browse pages that aren’t accessible via a Web address, but accessible instead based on your current location—tagged by the latitude and longitude fed via the GPS. These “pages” can be like standard Web pages—ads, for instance, for stores that might be close by—or they can be more interactive—forms for users to enter notes tagged to that location that can be read by others. Virtual graphitti.

So, there would pages and content that you could only access while sitting at a certain bench in the park, and totally different stuff that could only be accessed in front of the shoestore downtown, etc. etc. Sort of a cybergeek way to “map” the Web onto the real, 3D world. To find pages you’d have to navigate to the corresponding real-world location. I like the user interaction part of it, too, the thought being that anyone could leave those “notes” for others. That’s pretty key. The term I had at the time for all this was “geosurfing.”

Imagine some of the cultural weirdness this could engender: most content would be tagged to “people-safe” areas like sidewalks, parks, buildings, etc., but there would always be daredevils who would tag a geosite corresponding to the middle of a busy city street or freeway, accessible only to those brave or stupid enough to try. Or horny teenagers (or porn entrepreneurs) would have cached geosites of porn in secret or obscure places (creepy thought: like the end of the pew third row from the back of the local church), or in bars to help enforce adult-only sites. Geosites near movie theaters could have user-posted reviews of what’s showing, or spoilers, and restaurant sites might have similar notes—need to figure out a good wine or recommended dish when on a date? Check the local notes discreetly. It goes on.

The main drawback? No ubiquitous WiFi. So while this might be a cool application to build (the data model and concepts are sketched out pretty well in my head), and might work in a large, well-wired city like San Francisco or New York, it really wouldn’t work at all here in Bend, and that’s obviously where I’d most like to use it. So, filed away for the future.

2 thoughts on “Latitude and longitude”

  1. Hmm, sounds like three things I’ve heard of before 🙂 (two? three? ok I forgot one of them)
    We reported on the Degree Confluence Project last summer in the Bugle. it was cool, out-doorsy, very attractive to our Central Oregon crawl-all-over-the-landscape-like-spiders lifestyle. Also very similar to Z21’s catch it if you can thing that they did awhile back 🙂 I think at the time there was like 1 or 2 confluences in the US that were not yet visited.

    Your other idea, of GPS-linked web content for mobile phones, is very similar to a wired article I read recently about a GPS mobile phone game popular in Japan, which acts like a scavanger hunt. There are virtual "items" scattered about and you can see them on a map (flowers, hearts, all funhi meets lucky charms 🙂 and if you get geographicly near enough to one (50 feet or so I think) you "collect" it and it dissapears from everyone elses’ maps and um.. I guess you win 🙂
    But yeah, don’t most people’s Sprint phones connected to the internet through cellish means instead of wi-fi? I see lack of wifi no hinderance. Not that bend shouldn’t be wirelessered of course

    – – Jesse

  2. Beats me on the Sprint phones; I don’t know how prevalent the Sprint Web service is around here. Me, I have a Nokia running T-Mobile, the only internet connectivity I can do is AOL Instant Messenger (and that costs).

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