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Inflight geotagging and the (geo)geek in me

2012 April 15

As I uploaded a picture on Trover yesterday, I realized how much of a geogeek I still am. The story in a nutshell: while on a trip to the US I was awarded a window seat. Following Goodchild’s directive – fairly sure he said that not looking out of an airplane window and admire earth should be consired punishiable by law – I admired earth and took pictures, and left my GPS receiver on. The result: inflight geotagged pictures. Weak proof of being there where you have not really been before.

As much as I am interested in other topics (open innovation, marketing, science*, …) maps and technology are still high on my list. And apps that make location work for more people are on the top of that list. Trover, Foursquare, Localmind, you name it. My recent explorations on the iPad triggered that interest even more.


The clarity of the iPad is beyond amazing. I have revisited some of my earlier explorations on and they look great. Here is an image of a simple web app I made last year. I took public domain data to create a license plate map of Austria. If case you ever wondered what the regional license plate prefix is or what is stands for.

Continuing to clean up my home archives. I was able to decipher a 1985 printout I saved from college. Master Richie from Esri’s protopye lab refers to them as animated cartograms. I think we used the term diagrammatic maps in those days. Definology aside, the map shows the Dutch provincies, with their size in proportion to the number of inhabitans (source 1977 census). From what I can decipher, this was a Pascal exercise on a Prime mini computer. I think I made a C++ version as well. Early signs of geogeekism, which make inflight geotagging rather innocent.

By the way, it turns out that leaving your GPS on inflight is NOT allowed, so don’t try this at home. In some airlines, it is your captain who may give you permission. Inflight geotagging, it might very well become a new worldwide trend. I am already looking forward to that world map of inflight geotagged pictures. It just might get an honourable mention in the ArcGIS Online Gallery!

* not necessarily overlapping topics.

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