The “semantic web” is supposed to be the next big thing for Tim Berners-Lee’s little invention, but I think geospatial links will be a hit much sooner. “Geospatial link” is a fancy name for hanging URLs in mid-air. If your web browser knows where it is (in the purely spatial sense of latitude and longitude), it will be able to ask if any web documents have been posted at those coordinates. As the author of a web page, rather than putting it somewhere in cyberspace, say http://www.starchamber.com, you can elect to put it somewhere in real space. Similarly, you can look for documents in space near your real (or imagined) physical location. Imagine spying a virtual sign outside a restaurant emblazoned with the warning: “Lice-ridden wait staff. Chef has dripping carbuncle on nose.”
Steven Johnson has written an interesting piece on this topic for Discover called Pssst! This Note’s for You. The blog world is going nutty over physical coordinates, too. Go to geourl.org to find the coordinates of thousands of blogs. Who cares? It doesn’t seem to have any practical value yet, but then again it does seem to address an important psychological need. Where are you? It’s nice to know.