The value of shared location data will depend on the quantity of people sharing and the quality of the location-aware updates. Services such as Twitter, Loopt, Foursquare, Gowalla, Google and potentially Facebook will give everyone the opportunity to share what they know about their location so you can judge for yourself where you want to go next.
With that in mind, libraries will want to consider how this will impact them. Do you participate? Do you follow up on comments that were not in your favor? Do you give incentives for people to visit?
- How Non-Profits and Activists Can Leverage Location Based Services
- Location based services and Libraries – Tweets & Foursquare gives some good ideas how location-based services could be used in libraries.
- Foursquare, Libraries, and Librarians
- 6 Tips for Getting the Most out of Foursquare
Location-based software has been used for the greater good in locating disaster survivors, during the Iranian election/debacle and on World Aids Day.
One such open-source product, Ushahidi, is there for disasters. “The Ushahidi engine is there for ‘everyday’ people to let the world know what is happening in their area during a crisis, emergency or other situation.” It brings “awareness, linking those in need to those who can assist, and providing the framework for better visualization of information graphically.”