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View from Above, Proximate

Tokyo: city view

The tools to discover the location of resources whether you’re in a hurry to find helicopter landing pad (on the Tokyo hospital roof, above) or somewhere to buy a decent pair of flying goggles are becoming increasingly mainstream and increasingly pocketable – using technologies from base station triangulation, GPS to WiFi Positioning.

I’m intrigued about the knock-on effects of proximate awareness – the ability to sufficiently understand location based on the knowledge and mediation of other people who themselves have access to this technology. Think of all the services offered by a well equipped information kiosk made mobile, in the hands of a service provider. Or street hustler. We first came across proximate literacy during our research into illiterate communication practices. The idea of proximate anything should interest you because it speeds up the mainstreaming of technology – you get many of the benefits and drawbacks of a technology without having actually purchased it yourself.

Thought for today – the ways in which ready access to a product or service differs from actual ownership – in terms of cost, maintenance, use. Certainly topics for next week’s Systems, Cities and Sustainable Mobility conference.