Crowdsourcing Obama’s inauguration


CNN, using Microsoft’s amazing Photosynth, aims to crowdsource a 3D vista of Barack Obama’s Presidential inauguration on 20th January 2009. This will be the most digitised Presidential inauguration in history, and I suspect many cable TV networks will rely heavily on the digital content generated by those present, in addition to their own content, in their coverage of this historical event. 

I’ve followed the development of Photosynth for a long time, captivated by its potential to revolutionise the way we manage and see photography. It still runs best on Windows, but a new Silverlight based plugin allows Macs to view synths. I haven’t tried Photosynth on Parallels, but I doubt if it will run better than the Silverlight plugin for OS X.

I am interested in and have briefly written on the potential of synths to capture locations of human rights violations and other sites of violence, a forensic tool crowdsourced as it were. It could be an interesting ethnographical tool for anthropologists, if one were able to distinguish photographs taken by various identity groups with a vested interested in the ownership of or access to a contested site (say a temple). 

Integrate Photosynth with Flickr, and you’ll also be able to find some interesting mashups of popular locations around the world, like the Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower, akin to the synth of the Roman Colosseum.

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