Two Sides of the Local InfoCloud

by Thomas Vander Wal in , , , , ,

The Local InfoCloud (one of four clouds, Personal, Local, Global, and External) focusses on access to information that is based on location, as well as membership. These two elements are related, but also can stand on their own.

The Local InfoCloud often uses the Local Area Network (LAN) as an example of its properties. The information on the LAN is open to all that are connected to the network and in many cases have rights to access the information. The information is not organized by the user nor categorized by them. The need to be connected in an office to the LAN is not as important as folks can access by Wide Area Network (WAN) or through an Internet portal that will securely provide access. The Internet portal then allows a mobile user to access the information, which breaks the need to be in a certain location.

Conversely, a mobile user may have access to information based on their location. Projects like Urban Tapestries show what is coming with location-based information. Commonly location-based services have been tied to GPS navigation services in cars that explain with the closest ATM, parking garage, restaurant, etc. are located in relation to your current position. Interacting with digital repositories to provide a review of a restaurant that is accessible in front of the restaurant, or the history of a building when standing in front of the building is also part of the Local InfoCloud. It too is not user organized or user categorized.

The two most important properties of the Local InfoCloud are location and membership. Location is obvious, but membership is less of a obvious relationship to the local moniker. However, membership is often associated with joining with others that have a common interest, bond, or goal. Membership can be framed as a nearness of interests and exclusive of those that do not have an interest. The members have drawn together as they have that common attraction. The Internet connection easily allows this type of grouping to occur.