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Promise and Concern: The Future of Social Media and Real-Time Awareness

On Feb. 3, 2012, the U.S. State Department hosted its eighth conference in the Tech@State series. The two-day symposium focused on how social media and other internet-enabled data streams are used to create real-time awareness in different contexts, with sessions looking at analyzing large amounts of data, enhancing the understanding of consumer behavior, and live-mapping crisis situations.

 

One particularly interesting panel focused on the future of social media and real-time awareness, not only for individuals, but for a society that is still learning to deal with developments in social media, communication technologies and crowdsourced information. The speakers discussed how this pervasive technology could aid in real-time awareness, but also raised legitimate concerns about impacts on security and privacy.

 

Panelist Lou Martinage, with business intelligence firm MicroStrategy, offered the perspective of the private sector, focusing on how social media can be mined for real-time information on consumer preferences and behavior. Martinage described how MicroStrategy works with its clients to dig into the vast amounts of data available in the digital communication sphere, aggregate and analyze the information, and derive insights that can help the companies better address their customers’ needs.

 

For the past few years, MicroStrategy has been honing in on the potential of Facebook and the valuable consumer data that can be accessed through the platform. For Martinage, the primary use of Facebook is in the field of sentiment monitoring. In other words, Facebook is a spectacular tool for obtaining information on how consumers feel about a company’s product, allowing businesses to personalize marketing and commerce through promotions and offers.

 

Martinage says the culmination of this effort can be seen in a MicroStrategy application called Wisdom, which allows companies to analyze massive amounts of data to identify trends, gauge consumer confidence, and answer questions about market perception of a product or brand.

 

Others looked at the potential “dark side” of social media. Rand Waltzman, with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, pointed out that “as more life takes place in the network public sphere, the more good and bad things will happen,” highlighting privacy and national security concerns in particular. One of his main fears is the ease with which individuals can disseminate false or harmful information through the very same technologies that aid in real-time awareness and disaster relief.

 

For example, Waltzman cited Operation Valhalla in Iraq, where American troops succeeded in rescuing a hostage and confiscating weapons from a terrorist group, killing 16 members of the group in the process. However, before the troops had returned to their base, other members of the terrorist organization swooped in and rearranged the bodies onto prayer mats, took a picture using a mobile phone, and uploaded it to the social media space — making it look like Americans had killed unarmed civilians in the middle of prayer.

 

Waltzman’s concern lies in the fact that the information can reach a large number of people before the damage can actually be addressed and the false information refuted. The speed at which the internet moves is light years ahead of our capacities to monitor the information available.

 

Unfortunately, Waltzman added, social media and the internet is an environment filled with contradiction: One can attempt to protect their own privacy, but has a very limited ability to control what others may say about them. In the end, Waltzman said, the positive aspects of social media can easily be perverted, and we need to tackle the policies that are preventing us from better addressing these issues.

 

While Waltzman’s comments deserve serious consideration, the panel did end on a hopeful note, with the words of Patrick Meier, of the Ushahidi Project. Ushahidi is a platform that allows for the crowdsourcing of information through Twitter, SMS text messages, and other internet sources onto a live map that allows for real-time crisis-mapping. The success of Ushahidi in crises situations, such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and the Arab Spring uprisings, has brought the social media and emergency management community’s attention to its potential. The project is a prime example of crowdsourcing working to increase situational awareness in crisis situations.

 

Meier brought the audience’s attention to the needs of volunteers in crisis situations. Ushahidi currently does much manual crowdsourcing in real time, but developments in machine learning and natural language processing are allowing algorithms to do more work separating valuable information from useless information in the stream of text messages and tweets. Meier’s outlook is very positive, and he has given great thought to issues arising from credibility of information.

 

Overall, the mood at the conference was one of endless possibilities. Nonetheless, Waltzman raised valid concerns regarding privacy and security in the growing, interconnected network that is the internet. And while Meier and Martinage point out the immense potential for real-time awareness, we must not forget that there are very legitimate concerns that need to be addressed before these technologies can truly permeate every level of our society.

Via Richard Petry, Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.
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International Surveyors Week 2013 Has Begun

International Surveyors Week 2013 Has Begun | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it
Professional Land Surveyors of the World UNITE!
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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, June 16, 2013 7:36 PM

 A big thank you to all who make it possible... Survey Earth in a Day 2013.  

 

Scott D. Warner, RLS

Senior Director / Editor

Land Surveyors United

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Attribute Display in New Points Spreadsheet TBC ?

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Hello Fellow Surveyors,

Can anyone tell me how to set defaults so that Attributes entered in the field with codes are displayed along side Pt numbers in the N…

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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, August 14, 2013 2:43 PM

Need an answer to a land surveying question?

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Survey Earth in a Day 2.0

Survey Earth in a Day 2.0 | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it
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You can help.  Be a part of the second annual Survey Earth in a Day event on the Solstice, 2013.  For even more information go to www.surveyearth.com

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Land Surveyors United's curator insight, May 18, 2013 3:40 PM

gonna be a great day for surveying, as a community! @surveyearth

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Survey Earth in a Day 2.0 Press and Media Kit - Survey Earth in a Day™ 2.0 Remeasuring Earth as a Community 6-21-13

Survey Earth in a Day 2.0 Press and Media Kit - Survey Earth in a Day™ 2.0 Remeasuring Earth as a Community 6-21-13 | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it
cD-WK4eSu3ICcaSS5mLw8DUAHB8
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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, June 5, 2013 5:28 PM

Find your position.  Share it.  Easy, right?

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Utilities, Smart Grid and Geospatial Technology: An Interview with Brad ... - DirectionsMag.com (press release)

Utilities, Smart Grid and Geospatial Technology: An Interview with Brad ... - DirectionsMag.com (press release) | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it
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Electoral college reform (fifty states with equal population) – fake is the new real

Electoral college reform (fifty states with equal population) – fake is the new real | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it
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AIGA Philadelphia Presents MAPnificent: Artists Use Maps, February ...

AIGA Philadelphia Presents MAPnificent: Artists Use Maps, February ... | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it

The artists and graphic designers that make up AIGA Philadelphia are presenting MAPnificent: Artists Use Maps, a limited-time exhibition that explores the.


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SECRET-National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Student Guide

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Geospatial program graduates in demand

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Talk: Nobody Cares About Geomatics - Land Surveyors United

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This is an interesting discussion and lecture which gets interesting around the 12 minute mark
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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, December 27, 2012 6:45 PM

Help us change and raise the profile of the land surveyor on Survey Earth Day 2.0 in March of 2013 www.surveyearth.com

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GAO calls for better management of geospatial data -- FCW

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Agencies are duplicating investments and wasting millions due to poor coordination, report finds.
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Geospatial data could transform the way government does business - TechTarget

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How Orthopohoto UAS Compete with Traditional Surveying

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One of the elements that makes Intergeo particularly dynamic is the so-called Trend and Media Forum. The Forum, based on the exhibition floor, functions as a platform for companies, giving them the opportunity to present ...
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Solar observation Azimuth and Convergence Angle

Solar observation Azimuth and Convergence Angle | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it
Hi fellows,

We have some queries to answer some technical issues regarding solar observation to compute/obtain azimuth of an observed station and how converge…
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A discussion about deriving azimuth from solar observation:

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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, August 12, 8:05 PM

A discussion about deriving azimuth from solar observation:

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Israel Under Water in Google Maps

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Google Maps Mania tells us that The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has released a flood risk map to assess the risk of rising sea-level and extreme coastal f…
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Official Blog: A picture of Earth through time


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Surveyors Invited to 'Survey Earth in a Day'

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On the day of the solstice, June 21, geospatial professionals around the world and members of Land Surveyors United (a global support network for land surveyors) will be simultaneously recording su...
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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, May 2, 2013 6:43 PM

Thank you GPS World Magazine!

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Surveying.org

Surveying.org | Geospatial Industry | Scoop.it

survey, TOPO MAPS, topology maps, USGS topographic maps, USGS maps, GIS maps, GIS,map utilities, NGS, State Plane, NGS Control, survey control, vertcon, nadcon, NGS, KML, NGS Control Marks, Google Earth, Horizontal Control, Vertical Control, principal...

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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, February 27, 2013 5:16 PM

Surveying.org  The name says it all.

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A satellite’s view of ship pollution

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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s comment, February 11, 2013 8:58 PM
Hold your tongue out with your thumb and forefinger and repeat after me: "I was born on a pirate ship". :)
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Land Surveyors in the sky - Land Surveyors United

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Land Surveyors go Airborne!

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Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, January 23, 2013 4:39 PM

Land Surveyors in the Sky?  Roger that!

Scott D.Warner, R.L.S.'s curator insight, January 23, 2013 4:47 PM

Land Surveyors leave the ground!

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Surveying Mercury | ArcNews

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China's first 3D surveying and mapping satellite starts networking operation - People's Daily Online

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Your Job Search Made Easier - Land Surveyors United

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If you have been actively searching for employment in Land Surveying, you already know that it isn't exactly easy to find a job.  Nevertheless, we are always l…...
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