Micello: Friend or Foe?

A new wave of augmented reality is on its way via GPS technology and location mapping, but is the mapping of indoor locations going too far?

Micello, a new iPhone app raises many questions about the safety and security in this arena.  The application, working similarly to Google Maps, uses the phone’s GPS to provide up-to-date mapping information to the user. The value-add for this program, however, is that it is not concerned with mapping roadways or traffic routes; on the contrary, Micello is in the business of mapping the indoor layout of public places.

The Micello interface.

The Micello interface.

Of course, all of us can probably see the value in having a map of the local mall directory or the layout of a theme park accessible through our phone. It is convenient, saves time, and keeps us from having to navigate an area blindly or from vague memory. The catch is, as much as the mapping of public places can be seen as revolutionary in the area of augmented reality, it can also be seen as a threat.

The truth about the matter is, making this information so readily available is potentially dangerous. We don’t often like to think about it, but terrorists and criminals have the same access to the growing trends in technology as the rest of us. Think of the repercussions if this technology was used for illegal or terroristic purposes; does it still seem like a good idea to have the layout of an entire airport in the palm of your hand?  How about a government building? A children’s school?

These all are horrible and disturbing thoughts, buy are things that need to be addressed when developing this type of technology. What types of locations need to be off-limits to public mapping?

The overall lesson here is an important one. Technological advancement for the mere sake of technological advancement can lead to potentially dangerous results, and creators need to approach their work responsibly, and evaluate the risks along with the value.

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~ by dparsonsmedia on September 25, 2009.

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