GIS Technology Thoughts

The Search for Geospatial Attention

As a regular listener to Steve Gillmors’ Gillmor Gang podcast, I have become familiar with the concept of Attention, which is now entering the technology mainstream with a good writeup in MIT’s Technology Review

Attention as a concept is a realisation that with the massive increase in content on the internet, both professional and “consumer” generated, what we as users chose as sources of useful information actually has value.

What a community of knowledgeable individuals has an interested in, their combined attention has enormous value for other users – who need to know the current “in-thing”. This attention is also of interest to the marketing and advertising industries which are driving the economy of Web 2.0, having much more value that the simplistic view of page views as a measure of eyeballs!

To see attention at work just look at the ‘Hot Tags” at a site like Technorati, which to a certain extent express the combined attention of the blogging community. Likewise you purchase history at itunes, amazon etc, your shared bookmarks at are also manifestations of your attention.

There is a growing concern that such attention information, because of its value, needs protection and the development of the Attention Trust to raise awareness of the issue is very timely.

So where does this discussion interact with the world of geospatial information, well…

Did you realise how much information the developers of Geographic Exploration Systems and web mapping applications have the ability to collect, based on how you interact with their systems?

They know which parts of the planet you virtually visit with the most frequency, when you produce mapping of a particular area, and where you then next produce mapping for, they know where you are from IP location processing and potentially much more if you have registered to use their systems.

I wonder what the value to a marketing company would be to know the most popular searched location for IT workers in Denver, or after looking a maps of Las Vegas Strip the next location visited by the majority of users was ….

Remember your attention has value !!

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

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