Dan Scollon, at TED Talks, shows the first image photographed from Earth in 1972, which changed the human understanding of the Earth. 40 years after that image, we collected lots of information about the Earth and were developed many mapping technologies. Dan explains how maps have changed the way of understanding the world. Images of the United States and China at night can, for example, tell the energy consumption, estimate the population and reveal the distribution of this population. Such evolution made possible to evolve from primary cartography to route instructions on a 3D map to a place geocodificated on a tweet! Social networks are not just for posting happy family photos. They serve, for example, to promote revolutions as the Arab Spring. Mobile data also serve as demographic data for traffic information for example, and this Information can be converted into graphs, maps and even animations to reveal travel patterns.
Dan gives several examples of GIS use. In transport, for example, the city of Redding, California, where Dan talks, uses GIS in the transportation department to monitor the daily movement of citizens, plan for the future of infrastructure and public transport services and make decisions that improve the quality of life of citizens. He also presents an app used by the citizens to notify and locate demands of the city. It’s curious how both benefit. Government had no labor, inspection, device nor network costs to identify the problem. The public administration achieves efficiency in their actions as citizens achieve life quality. Today’s maps have changed the way we understand the world and can help democratize, organize, advocate, plan and dream the world.