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DIY streetview with a Tango

What would be the fate of mapping if all of us were equipped with a mobile 3D mapping device (and I don't mean something like the Google streetview car), that fits in our palm? Just imagine every curbstone and every fire-hydrant scanned and mapped, so will be our home and all our personal spaces, though only if we wish to (hopefully). An always updated and constantly changing digital representation of our environment available for all – not just to view, but to measure, quantify and model! A device which makes more than 250 million 3D measurements every second and uses that data to build a 3D model of its surroundings. It's also scheduled to be shipped to the ISS – and among other things, you can use it as a mobile phone too! Welcome into the world of Google's Project Tango phone that does all the above with its four cameras. Documentation will have a whole new meaning very soon.

With every futuristic gizmo, there are voices (rather screams and shouts in this case) of suspicion. Linking Google's futuristic projects with NSA's spying activity is just one of it. Though in this case, there isn't much left to imagination, as to how the Tango could superbly fit into the 'comprehensive map of the world' requirement by providing 3D data of strategic installations from a ground troop's POV, and it would largely be crowdsourced data albeit unknown to the gatherers…

Published as editorial in Geospatial World Weekly Ezine – March 24, Jan 2014