GeoWorld

GeoWorld April 2011

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THE ESSENTIAL V OICE O F T H E INDUS TR Y A P RIL 20 1 1 When Lives Are at Risk Mobile GIS/GPS Advances Public-Health Analysis BY STEVE DUSCHEID 18 Where Are Your Friends? Social Networking in Social Spaces Where Are Your Friends? L Fish and 22 ocation was firmly embedded into the fabric of social networking in 2010. What started as a way to connect with friends and update them about what’s happening now clearly includes a “where” dimension. When Facebook announced it was adding various location features to its service in 2010, the tagline was: “Who. What. When. And now Where.” And players such as Foursquare and Gowalla built their services around the idea that where people hang out is as important as whom they’re hanging out with. In addi- tion, Google recently announced that version 5.1 of its mobile map applications will include an update to Google Latitude that allows users to check-in at busi- ness locations. Implanted Transmitters Help Map the Endangered Pallid Sturgeon Mobile GIS to the Rescue Coping with Destruction, Working toward Recovery 26 Social Locations 101 Location in social networking now takes several pri- mary forms, including place check-ins, friend search and geo-tagging, which is the general term for annotat- ing posts with location data. It’s clear that the driver for adding location to social networking services has been all about “cool hangouts” and getting together in physical places. This, of course, makes sense. It helps translate what might otherwise be virtual interactions into real interactions. But because of this focus, location has been equated primarily to individual places—businesses and points of interest (POI)—and not to broader social spaces—like neighborhoods, campuses, shopping dis- tricts and parks. The focus on place points limits the scope and usefulness of location in social-networking applications and may be limiting its adoption due to privacy and security concerns. According to a 2010 report by Forrester Research, only 4 percent of Americans had tried location-based services (LBSs) as part of social networking or other mobile services. And of those LBS users, most were 14 SPECIAL ISSUE MOBILITY/GPS Social Networks

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