Time and Place

I've been reading and writing about global positioning technology for a few years now, and still to partake in the occasional geocache hunt from time to time. But Wade Rousch has written something pretty insightful and novel on the subject:
Indeed, GPS is transforming geography in much the same way that mechanical clocks and watches regularized our once fluid experience of time. As soon as there were simple ways to measure time, we could organize our actions around specific moments; every school bell and factory whistle in the nation could sound at 8:30 A.M. The concept of synchrony set the stage for the 19th-century revolutions in industry and transportation.

Similarly, now that we can easily measure latitude and longitude, we can organize our actions around specific locations. Adventurers can navigate to the same remote spot at different times, as in geocaching; businesses, artists, or historians can share online information about any physical thing using its GPS-supplied coordinates rather than a Web-type Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Call it "synlocality."

The author thinks it's inevitable that cell phone companies turn on the GPS devices they've included in their phones. I think there will be some tentative steps in that direction, but there's potential for a huge backlash against location-tracking.

Maybe it's like broswer cookies: if the benefits outweigh the potential loss of privacy, and if people can opt-out if they want, then the technology will be adopted.