Civic technology

Google PhotoStreams for Planetary Peace?

Just sent this to a buddy at Google Earth…  I’m quite taken w/ the idea actually… poke holes?  and if not pls. call up the Google switchboard and demand it!


XXXXXX, I’m sure you’ve thought of this already, probably even have it implemented for all I know (I’m on a Mac so I still CAN’T know ;), but just in case:

The other night I watched the great documentary "Born Into Brothels" in which a bunch of kids living in the Red Light districts of Calcutta get a chance to get out by being given cameras and a photography class and becoming photojournalists of their lives and their communities…

I felt an immediate connection and a concern through experiencing the life that these people ARE living this very moment half a world away…

Made me think that there are so many moments being captured all the time of life around the planet, and yet STILL what we see is a teensy fraction filtered through the lens of documentary or news media, OR totally out of geographic and chronological context through services like Flickr.

What I’d *really* like to see on Google Earth isn’t the satellite imagery of the ground, but the streams of images of real life that are already being captured there every day.  If I could check in on the lives of people in the streets of Calcutta in pseudo-real-time each day, I think I would be a more enlightened and caring human being for that awareness and experience.  If a whole planet of people could do same, I think we’d all take much more responsibility for and care for each other.

Sure it’ll be a while before WiFi-enabled cameras are all over the streets of Calcutta, but some could be soon if they’re not already, and other models for uploading photos like creating a program for cheap digital cameras to be brought into upload centers at the equivalent of Mailboxes Etc / UPS Store / Kinkos and the like might make significant photo volume available from much of our planet quite quickly…

Sounds like a great application for Google Earth + Google Base to me…

Anyway… 😉



5 thoughts on “Google PhotoStreams for Planetary Peace?

  1. Good ideas 🙂 I’ve been looking for a good camera with built-in GPS and compass for some time now – basically just for fun, to georeference all my photos on the web, but there are many applications. The position and direction in which the pic were taken are both important.

    I tried some software a while back that simply matches times from your GPS (in my case an eTrex left logging) and camera – assuming it’s all synchronised of course. It works, but it’s not ideal.

    But I’ve just realised that I have in my pockets now a smartphone with camera (albeit not very good) and a bluetooth GPS receiver… hmm!

  2. Jessy Cowan-Sharp says:

    this is the beginning of a real next generation web phenomena. we already know that internet-enabled devices are becoming more diverse, no longer limited to traditional computer interfaces. equipping gps cameras with IP addresses and TCP/IP software will, i think, be one of the early steps toward the blurring of the line between physical and virtual worlds. instead of searching for a document or idea, imagine searcing for a location, and knowing exactly what has happened there in the past, what is happening there at this very moment, and even being able to interface with it. forget the camera–what if it’s just a sensor on your body, recording what you see, beaming your position and direction out to the WWW!


  3. Robbie Schingler says:

    Hi guys,

    I have been thinking about this very issue for quite some time. The big multimedia companies out there are also trying to develop software to sort and manage people’s photos. Personally, I think that a GPS enabled digital piture (time, date, location, image) file will create the flexibility to create fun and effective software for the traveler to the real estate broker.

    I have a bit of research on this issue, and will have something up on my webpage within a month.


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