Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The medium is the message when?

As tweeted on 18 August, Mappliances = Map + Appliance: when the geospatial disappears behind, or is blended into the information stream. A recent example is BBC on cybercafes 15 years on (in UK @ least) - in terms of reader feedback Have your Say is so yesterday, however, welcome to Have your Say Map!

Isn't this is a meaningful way to engage the public into the geospatial? Xyz Maps (read: Bing, Google, Yahoo! etc.) all preach to the convereted, in other words give better tools to those who have tools in the first place. Alternatively they address a public already using paper maps, like outdoor enthusiasts, viz. MapSherpa.

What is the best way to engage the public however? The Bible only reached a global audience after the printing press. In other words the medium is the message, when said medium becomes second nature to all, so easy to use that no-one notices. And like reading in the Middle Ages, the net may or may not be a barrier today.

While the digital divide still exists, the net will find a way given enough demand. Rural India left the copper wire in the ground to upgrade its phone network via cellular networks, and mobile phone videos via twitter helped shape recent events. The second shoe is given enough data for sure, but that's another post...