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GPS, GIS, Geotagging, Geolocators and Geocaching
Author: Prashanthi Selvanarayanan
Just two coordinates are adequate to express everything on the Earth’s surface that has a location. Using the new classes of geo-“everything” technologies or location aware tools, it is not only easy to determine and capture the exact location of physical objects but also capture the location where digital media such as photographs and video are taken. This has also led to the ease of working with the geographic data thus captured. Such data can be plotted on maps; combined with data about other events, objects, or people; graphed; charted; or manipulated in myriad ways. The geo-everything group of technologies makes them so much a part of our lives by allowing us to integrate our experiences in the physical world with those in the online, virtual world of the Internet.
As the difficulty of capturing and using geographic data with its co-ordinates decreases, a growing number of effective and cost-effective applications for research and learning are beginning to emerge. Field research and data acquisition opportunities in the sciences, social observation studies, medicine and health, cultural studies, and other areas is made easy by such location aware technology.
A geographic information system (GIS) displays all forms of geographically referenced information by integrating hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing and analyzing.
Introduction to GIS
What is GIS?
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a freely available radionavigation system that provides reliable positioning, navigation, and timing services to civilian users on a continuous worldwide basis.
A tutorial on GPS
Goecaching is a scavenger hunt in which participants find hidden "treasure" caches, usually a waterproof container containing a logbook and some sort of small trinket, using GPS tracking methods and other modern technology. The coordinates of the cache along with other details of the location are noted and posted by the geocacher on a geocaching website. Other geocachers use this information to find the cache. The finders record the details of their hunt in the logbook and on the website from which they obtained the cache information.
An overview of Geocaching
Geotagging is the process of adding geographical location metadata to various media such as photos, video, websites, or RSS feeds. Geotagging allows marking a video, photo or other media with a location so that people can find images and information based on a location, and also use it to create location-based news and media feeds by combining an application like Google Maps with geotagged blogs, news articles and photos. According to the 2009 Horizon report, geo-tagging and the personal web would be widely used in higher education by 2012.
Geolocator is a service which identifies the geographical location of a device connected to the internet.
Find more on Wikipedia.
- Mozilla’s geolocator
- Web map service
- Geolocator with google maps
- Mapdango - A mashup that combines information from google earth and other websites to provide more information on current events and local weather about a specific area.
- GPS visualizer
- Radar - Radar serves up local information like news, blog posts, restaurant reviews, and so on, based on a viewer’s location as determined from the IP address of the computer being used.
- Earthcomber - Earthcomber is designed for Palm-powered devices and acts as a FREE “virtual treasure map”. It allows you to find exactly what you want, wherever you are. As you travel across town or across the country, Earthcomber sweeps the landscape for your personal favorites and notifies you when you are within range.