Mother’s Little Helper? Data

24 06 2010

I’m fully supportive when my loved ones go off-the-grid on some new adventure. But the worrier inside me usually starts roaring around 3am… “Is everything ok?” “Where are they now?” Until recently it was pretty difficult to calm my worrier. But now, like the lyrics of the Stones, I’ve discovered my own mother’s little helper: Data. Yup, data.

Ed's Kilimanjaro RouteIn March my adventurer photographer husband spent 6 weeks in various parts of Africa working with children’s charities, exploring and mountain climbing. And attached to his backpack was a GPS sensor, which sent data about Ed’s whereabouts to a centralized service. I could go to the service website to see his location mapped, like his footsteps up Kilimanjara shown here. And I could post these satellite images to Facebook so friends and family could keep track as well. No more lost sleep. Saved by the data.

I was at an interesting conference this week where much was discussed about data. FindMeSpot SatelliteStephen Baker, of Num3rati fame, delved into the next big wave of data coming from sensors in the world around us. Kinda creepy in many ways, but as with every new innovation, there’s a cost-benefit analysis to be done. In the simple case of the FindMeSpot, I’m all for it. We’re gonna have some interesting discussions, though, over the next few years as sensors become more prevalent around us. And we’re certainly not gonna suffer from a lack of data.

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