The Digital Trail we all leave
Being a sponsor of Geomob, the London based networking event for the latest in geo technologies, I get a unique exposure to the good and the bad of the Digital Trail we all leave.
So today, on a simple SplashMaps following walk to work (check the route via previous Geomob winner, Esplorio’s app here) I consider the amazing technologies from this month’s Geomob event at UCL.
More relevant now than ever before
The Digital Trail had already been building before I left my home with emails that regularly arrive from on-line stores updating me on delivery, following up on a vague interest I’d shown and even spamming. With all this traffic and the recent high street news you’d be forgiven for believing physical retail is dead. But, in fact, as Ricardo Varela from Localistico told us, 85% of retail sales still happen in physical stores. Moreover, if you search for a retailer – perhaps having searched first on your perfect gift – there is a 50% chance you will visit that physical space! The science of location, it seems, is more relevant now than ever before.
The silver bullet
The silver bullet for the marketer is to properly understand the consumer’s digital journey that resulted in a physical trip to the store. But marketing departments are notoriously non-geo-savvy. Localistico helps them focus on the 19% of targeted consumers that contribute 90% of the revenue for a shop. They provide a common location reference for all the disparate Digital Trails we leave (via social media, review sites etc.) then perform analysis of the resultant data to pin point current consumers and infer where the new ones will come from.
Sexual harassment goes unreported
As I walked through an underpass on my Digital Trail to work, I thought of Jillian Kowalchuck from Vancouver. She had the darker side of city life in mind when she developed Safe and the City, an informed navigation app for women. Having had first hand experience of being routed through the backstreets of London late at night, she was keen to save others the experience of sexual harassment. The app addresses the issue that 90% of sexual harassment goes unreported. From wolf whistling to more physical crimes, the app allows users to share experiences on precise routes. The app alerts others navigating in the area that they may want to use a different route. It also shares aggregated incident data with the Police to identify hot spots.
The cause of #metoo prompting activity
Cleverly Jillian has become involved with business improvement areas so that local commerce can identify if their business is being effected or is even the cause of any of this #metoo prompting activity. Using Geomob sponsor, what3words technology to locate each incident to the nearest 3 square metres, the business is already deploying state of the art geo tech and is now seeking £500k of investment.
I took films on my walk and images which I shared on social media. I have a Vodafone account so no doubt my data (on my innocent stroll) has been used to create a “better census” for my area. This was Tim Marston’s proposition for Carto, our most recent sponsor at Geomob. Addressing the issue that most demographic data references back to censuses taken, perhaps 7 years ago, Carto provide an alternative and near “real-time” census. By using data from partners like Telefonica and Vodafone to identify and infer uses of an area they provide a much more accurate and up to date basis for insurance companies, for example, to assess risks, or a retailer to locate a new outlet.
Politically motivated violence
My journey took me into woodland. Clearly I was following an excellent SplashMap of the area, but it made me consider just how many people get lost (perhaps on bigger challenges than my walk to work!).
Enter Ushihidi, represented by Eriol Fox, one of their designers. This app was borm of the controversial Kenyan elections of 2008. It created a platform to locate politically motivated violence and has since become an open platform outputting 7 million reports in 160 countries and used by the likes of MapAction to identify vulnerabilities in natural and man-made crises. So I downloaded the app and set up my own survey to address the issue of people getting lost on the trail. Know anyone in search and rescue? Pass this along please!
Perfect for the outdoors
As I arrived at work, having tested my map in the waters of the River Itchen on the way, I looked at the trails I’d followed. They’d been uploaded from OpenStreetMap and were reproduced on our fabric to become properly map-like and perfect for the outdoors. So it was good to remember Adam Hoyle and his amazing efforts to create the Community Interest Company, OpenStreetMap UK. By creating a company out of the movement, Adam believes this will help other businesses to engage. I wander what we can do with them next?
The talent and technology we see at Geomob
My muddy boots washed clean in the long grass as I strode across the rugby pitches in Eastleigh and approached the office. I began to draw together the threads of another inspirational GeoMob. We are always leaving a data trail and it will be increasingly exploited – for worthy and less worthy causes. The GDPR laws that come into force next month and the focus of the European Commission on the sovereignty of personal data are signs that this wild west is being tamed. The talent and technology we see at Geomob gives a glimpse of the future and I’m always encouraged to see the positive places from which these new technologies are born. Perhaps that’s why big business now frequents our venues and pubs too (this month I met Shell, Scisys and travelled part of the way home with the MOD).