This is a great post on data flow within an urban environment (via o'reilly radar). Quote:
" this still underestimates significantly the size, shape and intensity of the data cloud immersing the street - it’s the tip of the iceberg. Moreover, in centring on a snapshot, it doesn’t convey the ebb and flow of systems and data over time. It’s not even particularly contrived - there are no sketches of, say:
- ‘an urban planning student measures the varying wifi signals up and down the street for her research into the informational city’ or,
- ‘three documentary film-makers deployed by the council film slow-motion sequences of pedestrians’ feet crossing the road, later digitised as part of a multimedia portrait of the neighbourhood’ or,
- ‘a dysfunctional teenager hacks into the bookie’s systems, after a morning of being ignored by his parents, and proceeds to swipe the credit card details of the four old men inside, later publishing them on the internet after placing a frivolous selection of bids at eBay in one of the old men’s names’ or,
- ‘a writer denotes the ghostly presence of a 12th century market using psychogeographical markup language’ or,
- ‘for fun, a bored intern at an urban planning consultancy drives simulated herds of cattle through a digital model of the crossroads designed for predicting the patterns of behaviour in crowds during a terrorist attack’ and so on.
Instead, this is all everyday technology - embedded in, propped up against, or moving through the street, carried by people and vehicles, and installed by private companies and public bodies. Each element of data causes waves of responses in other connected databases, sometimes interacting with each other physically through proximity, other times through semantic connections across complex databases, sometimes in real-time, sometimes causing ripples months later. Some data is proprietary, enclosed and privately managed, some is open, collaborative and public."