What is Geolocation?

Everything on the Earth’s surface has a location that can be expressed with just two coordinates. Using the new classes of geolocation tools, it is very easy to determine and capture the exact location of physical objects — as well as capturing the location where digital media such as photographs and video are taken. The other side of this coin is that it is also becoming easier to work with the geolocative data thus captured: it can be plotted on maps; combined with data about other events, objects, or people; graphed; charted; or manipulated in myriad ways. Indeed, such data are leading to entirely new forms of mapping. Devices we commonly carry with us increasingly have the ability to know where they (and, consequently, we) are, and to record our coordinates as we take photographs, talk to friends, or post updates to social networking websites. The transparency of this group of technologies — they are increasingly imbedded in all sorts of devices and technologies — is making them very much an essential part of our lives.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • Geo-location can mean several different things both of which are relevant to art museums... 1) where are the users and how might we tailer our content delivery based on their locale (language?, context - school, museum, home, library, local content) 2) what is the geo-location of the content? Where was the artwork created? What other works were created close by at the same time? Where were other works being created at the same time? Compare contrast the themes and nature of works in different locations - rob.stein rob.stein Apr 30, 2010
  • Note: My comments here, overlapped with "Location-based Services" as well. One of museum's greatest challenges is providing real-world connection and context for the items within their collections. Geolocation provides a an excellent protocol for connecting the dots.
    Note: My comments here, overlapped with "Location-based Services" as well- scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010
  • For the Smithsonian, Geotags will the the lingua franca - - the only language that can unite our diverse collections. - michael.edson michael.edson May 4, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Geotagging of museum collections.- scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010
  • Using API's to allow/enable connecting diverse geotagged data sets. - michael.edson michael.edson May 4, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • Geo-location serves a good chance of personalizing art content and making it easier to relate to things "from" places you know and love... relevance of this content could be a good indicator of things visitors will engage with well - rob.stein rob.stein Apr 30, 2010
  • Geo-location provides the opportunity to turn museums inside-out, freeing the concepts and collections to leave the "clean room" and reconnect with the world outside. Combining geo-location with context aware devices and an augmented reality toolset could create the foundation for "ubiquitous museums."- scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010
  • Huge impact for the SMithsonian, using Geocodes to unify collections and connect them with the real lives/research/interests of our constituents. - michael.edson michael.edson May 4, 2010

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

We wrote a bit about this in the AAM The Digital Museum: A Think Guide
Sayre, S. & Dowden, R. (2007), The Whole World in Their Hands: The Promise and Peril of Visitor Provided Mobile Devices, The Digital Museum: A Think Guide, American Association of Museums- scott.sayre scott.sayre May 2, 2010

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