Happy 10th Anniversary, GPS!


I was recently flipping through the
latest issue of Fast Company when I noticed the short write-up from Erica
Westly (find her on Twitter,
@westlyer) about the 10th
anniversary of GPS’s nonmilitary expansion. It’s hard to believe that May 2 marked
a decade since the military-designed satellite network was massively opened up,
allowing civilians to use GPS technologies and companies like TomTom and Garmin
to turn into billion-dollar empires.

And while the
time may go by fast, I’m fascinated with how quickly our society can adapt and
harness the power of new technologies. Just think in the past 10 years not only
have we utilized GPS technology to get us from one place to the next but now we
are using it to find restaurants, the cheapest gas stations, map trails,
connect in social media via millions of mobile and desktop applications, the
article even states that you can use GPS technology to track lost pets, and
have you seen that Verizon Wireless commercial about the mom mapping where her
daughter is in the mall? Not only do I now have the capability to know where I

am, I also have the power to find out where my friends, family members and pet
cat, fluffy are! Is it sad that I can’t remember the last time I looked at a
traditional paper map?

Tying GPS
technologies into social media, this week there was an article in the New York
Times about Foursquare, a location-based social network, and how brands are
using this tool to further connect with customers to provide them with
information and deals they want. As the article states,
smartphones that signal someone’s location, stores and brands are getting live
information about when and where people are shopping.  Allowing companies
to turn
into a virtual loyalty marketing program or create a location based application
that offers customers discounts or other rewards for shopping.

It is amazing how a technology like
GPS can be taken a step further and allow businesses to directly connect with
and open communication with customers, no matter where they are located.

If you’re
interested in reading either of these articles, find Erica’s Fast Company
write-up here, http://bit.ly/aCmS2T
and the New York Times article here,

Have you used Foursquare or any
other location based social media applications? What are your thoughts?

By Carrie Crabill

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