17 July 2009

Personal Technology: InstaMapper-ing

Katy Bold gets the credit for discovering this tool (free from the web) although I think she was taken aback by the intensity of my reaction and my insistence that "I want it all—web and mobile—and I want it on Tom's phone, too!"

InstaMapper permits tracking a cooperative trackee with a GPS-enabled cell phone, producing an informational screen for the tracker viewing on the web (with option for mobile version for viewing on an Internet-equipped cell phone). The information includes map, coordinates, altitude, and speed of movement.

The system requires cooperation. The trackee must make an update click, and the tracker must refresh the web page display. Does it work? Exceedingly well. (The tracking can also be embedded on a web page or blog with nearly-constant updating.)

Did we use it? We did. As Katy drove halfway across the country she occasionally updated (her click) and I obsessively refreshed (my click). On that day, I was on site working for a client and I showed the display to colleagues. They happened to be women with offspring ranging from teenage to adulthood. Most of them wrote down the name of the application. I breezily commented that I like the system because it operates on cooperation: my grown daughter was voluntarily sharing information with me and I could read a lot into speed of 70 versus speed of 0.

A colleague stopped me, "You can tell how fast she's driving?" Well, yes, that's one of the results. And I repeated that I don't feel as though I'm invading my daughter's privacy. And this colleague said, "My daughter is 16. I don't care about privacy." Another colleague formed a plan: "My husband. You have no idea how often he gets lost and calls me to read a map to him."

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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