Location based social networking: A glimpse of the future?

For years, I’ve been looking forward to and calling for the development of location based social networking tools. Such tools could in the future be adapted to help coordination and collaboration of actors involved in peacebuilding as well as aid and relief work in sudden onset disasters. Though the underlying technology of 3G and the high-end iPhone 2.0 make Brightkite.com inaccessible to most in developing countries, and especially when telecoms are fragile after a disaster, this video is extremely compelling. For me it shows off once again the beauty and simplicity of the iPhone’s UI leveraged here to provide location based information and interaction. 

Of course, we in Sri Lanka will never get to experience this sort of technology

But I wonder if this, coupled emergent technologies with huge potential such as InSTEDD’s Mesh4X can be combined to create interoperable, SMS based location aware services that may not look as good, but are good enough for the field?

It would be such a pity for these tools and services to be limited only to the US to find corner-side coffee stores and invite friends, who are around the block, for a latte.

5 comments on “Location based social networking: A glimpse of the future?

  1. Gabriel
    October 18, 2008 at 1:52 am #

    You have indeed been a strong and insightful proponent of this concept for at least five years and I was fortunate enough to spend many hours discussing this very topic “virtually” with you. While I still see the value of the shared geography, I’ve come to realize that: 1) the map is just one of many views of a problem and an a software tool that addresses this subject must be integrated with others 2)the map is useful within specific contexts and for defined periods of time(e.g. Tsunami Relief), rather than as an ongoing conversation. All interest/relevance of the map seems to fade with time (for most people).

  2. Chris
    January 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    I think slowly Asian countries are getting into the location-based social networking game as everyone thinks that 2010 will be the year for location-based services. Another country following suit is the Philippines, a small start-up has recently launched the Philippines’ first location-based social networking site called “Alooph”, it mirrors much of the location services found on other bigger sites. http://aloo.ph

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Google Latitude: Real time location awareness through mobiles « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - February 4, 2009

    […] the time I last wrote about the potential of location aware web / mobile mashups and services, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence disallowed the sale of GPS enabled mobile phones. That seems […]

  2. Colombo and Kandy the first in Sri Lanka to get street level information on Google Maps « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - March 2, 2009

    […] the ban was ever official and gazetted) we may see later this year the growth of the same types of location based services available in places such as New York that combine the power of GPS, Google Maps and mobiles. At the […]

  3. Microsoft Vine: An inebriated approach to emergencies « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - April 29, 2009

    […] that’s just a rip-off. Google Maps mashups plus Google Latitude alone, along with other location aware, mobile phone based services like Brightkite in the US already have much of this functionality today, or can be easily adapted for the purpose of […]

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