Last week, Ogle Earth came across Navizon, which connects physical places to user-created content on the web using GPS, wifi, and cellphone signals. We wished for a view from Google Earth, however.
Now check out Semapedia: the concept is just as innovative, but doesn’t rely on wireless positioning technology to link the real world to the web. Instead, software for Java-enabled cameraphones lets you take pictures of special digital tags attached to physical locations — this takes you directly to the related wikipedia article. What’s more, the project is deeply collaborative, with anyone able to print out tags for any georeferenced wikipedia article and affix them to the location.
This has the potential to turn the world into a giant museum gallery, with your phone as the guide. The project is just 6 months old, so there is still plenty of tagging to be done; this is why the brand-new Google Earth view (KML) is so handy (blog announcement). All those tags that do exist are locatable via the KML file. Note, however, that this file is not a network link, so you’ll have to make one yourself if you want the info to update automatically. (How?)
Some thoughts regarding this sudden meme:
1)Wireless telcos will love it, as both Navizon and Semapedia encourage the use of your mobile phone’s internet connection.
2) Navizon and Semapedia have a different method for geolocation and a different content set. There is no real reason why these methods and the content aren’t complementary, however. In the long run, I expect they will be — there will be multiple ways to connect the physical to the virtual, and for different purposes.