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Development 2.0: the (real) world is not enough

Think that blogs and wikis are passé? Already bored with Twitter?

Not to worry… the development 2.0 toolkit is continuously expanding.

At first, there were virtual worlds for better policy making (for more examples make sure you check out the new blog

Now it’s the time of augmented reality. Appfrica has the full story.

Imagine visiting a village and having a handheld a device that allows you to “tag” the real world around you and pull all information that is relevant to your location: who has visited the project before you, their reports, videos they have taken of specific issues that need follow-up. Or a visual display indicating the flow of money into the village or household survey data. The possibilities are endless, and perhaps the greatest promise is that much of this information could be displayed and collected with minimal effort, real-time and which much richer context than traditional methods. Could this be the end of the dreaded project database?

If augmented reality is too much for you, you might at least be interested in “reality mining” (hat tip: Chris Kreutz). By tracking the movement of people through their mobile phone's location, researchers hope to solve problems as diverse as the spread of epidemics or traffic congestion.

Is this all hype? The challenge, it seems to me, is to find business models that make these innovations sustainable and easy to scale up.

Any good examples out there?


Submitted by Jim Cory on
@Jim Yes, Layar, offers an API. Their tool is more for the commercial market. As far as things like this in development, we're working on the product described at

It's not hype at all. The trick is to have users who are interested in updating the database over an extended period of time. Google Maps already has the option for users to attach content to locations, just do a search on Empire State Building and you'll see over 50 user-generated pictures, videos and reviews of the area. The content can only get richer as time goes on. And if Google is doing this type of data collection, it won't be long before everyone else runs with the idea and makes it their own. An example of "reality mining" is the band Nine Inch Nails' iPhone application: it locates other NIN fans in your vicinity, allows you to upload photos and video to the bands' site from your phone and you can message/forum other fans and the band themselves. As long as "reality mining" is fostering a community, it will grow. A Google example of this is how was able to track the outbreak of H1N1 across the globe. Hope this helps.

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