Ubiquitous Geospatial Tool

The use of global positioning system (GPS) in vehicles has been widespread, at least, in the United States. Many of my friends have installed small GPS in their car. In all of my recent trips–to Colombia (Fall break), Greensboro, Virginia, and Washingon DC (Winter break), and Chicago (Spring break)–we used GPS for navigation. The device is so exciting that we spent sometime talking about it in all of these trips.

In my recent travel, we reached to Chicago at around 11am to have a late breakfast.  Since we did not have firm plan for the day, we began to discuss for identifying something worthful to visit after the breakfast. We could not arrive to conclusion. We all sat in the car, without really knowing where we were heading, continuing our brainstorming. Some suggested to take the help of the GPS and began pressing certain keys. It was not surprising as many of us in the team were active user of new technology.

For me, it provided an important opportunity to closely observe the way these users were interacting with this rapidly growing technology. “Take us to Navy Pier”, one of us instructed the device. In response, “Go straight ……..take a right turn in a mile……………”, the device suggested, and we followed. This was very exciting and lively interaction. Our decisions on where to go and how to reach there were surely being influenced by this tiny device. But, interestingly, we were also ignoring many of its suggestions. Why were we ignoring some of its suggestions while accepting others? In what ways were we being influenced by this technology?

While the use of the GPS is taking its ubiquitous role, deeper meaning of the interaction between human and the underlying technology is not entirely clear to many of us. We have not paid a serious attention to the social implications it will bring to our lives nor to their faithful remedies; some of them have already begun to surface. See this.

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