Friday, June 8, 2007

An interesting new phenomenon

I remember way back when Internet maps consisted of bulking graphics and big X's that marked the spot. Now a days, I get a satellite image and can see who is standing on the corner that I need to turn at. Most, myself included, find these changes quite nifty, but a few unexpected wrinkles have developed in this newest development in navigation.

A website called Roofads wants to develop your business with well placed sky advertisements. The company has been strategically developing its market near major airports for the last twenty-five years. Citing the millions of passengers that fly in and out of O'Hare, J.F.K., and Minneapolis-St. Paul among others, Roofads helps those local entrepreneurs who happen to be beneath frequented flight paths let those passengers know wants on the ground. Furthermore, Roofads is certified in California and "uses the highest quality elastometric paint and digitally produced vinyl sheets available," which I have to believe are both huge pluses.

Now, of course, the Google and Mapquest maps that use the high zooming satellite technology will allow Roofads a whole new market. I can paint broadcast my love for the Cleveland Indians on my townhouse rooftop and with the help of Roofads and their high quality elastometric paint, the whole world can zoom in and see Chief Wahoo. A USA Today article in Tuesday's Life section offered a few other examples of this new fad. In Long Island, New York, a man went with the personal and intimate marriage proposal with the dreaded short keyboard strokes painting "WILL U MARRY ME" on his rooftop. (I would be unwed right now if I had taken this particular method of proposal. Likewise, if someone asked me to marry them using the letter "u" instead of the word "you," I would absolutely decline.)

Google is taking the navigation assistance one step further by offering "street view," which involves thousands upon thousands of images taken by Google guys who have driven around major cities. The street view allows computer dorks like you and I to feel as if we are driving through the streets of San Francisco. A CNN article, though, cites an "ick factor" with this new street view. What if you are caught on camera while the Google guys are taking their pictures for later upload? In an analysis in said article one gentleman was picking his nose, another was passed out in a dumpster, and co-eds at Stanford University are now saved on-line as sunbathing at a particular location on campus. Certainly, no one wants to be forever immortalized as being that nose picker on the corner of Elm Street and Oak Drive. Google counters that it was in plain view of someone on public streets and therefore falls outside the spectrum of expected privacy and they are furthermore working on updating their street view images more and more frequently.

Until then, I would encourage everyone, while on your post-work walk, to make sure there is not a strange van with a camera before removing that wedgie.

Photo from Giulio Motta

3 comments:

Jan said...

In my day there was concern that Big Brother was watching. Now everyone is watching. Gives me pause......

CHCgirl said...

Could you really paint your townhouse roof or would there be association restrictions? I wonder what small fraction of the roof of my building I own and if there would let me paint that corner blue.... in honor of the team that breaks my heart multiple times in any given season.

Becky said...

There will be no Indian Chief on my roof... even if we own the building.

And I certainly would have declined that rooftop marriage proposal. But lucky for me, I have a smarter guy than that :)