Citizen journalists assembled from whoever is present at a news location
#3334 Created 04/26/2013 Updated 01/15/2020
We envisioned a future where it would be possible to find, within a given geographic area, all the smartphones that were turned on and had active GIS systems. In that future, it would be possible to find the phone numbers of those users, and contact them in some way.
In addition, it would be possible, in such a scenario, to take control of certain functions in smart phones, such as activation of the camera and microphone, and the uploading of images.
This capability could have both nefarious and benign applications. Sixteen months after that conversation, the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, and the easy availability of photos from bystanders cell phones greatly assisted law enforcement in resolving the crisis, resulting in the death of one suspect, and the capture of another.
In this case, the submission of photos from bystanders was voluntary. Technologically, that may not be necessary.
Part of the concept of citizen journalists assembled from whoever is present at a news location is that someone must know they are there, at least as cell phone identities if not personal identities.
If prior permissions are in place, individuals can be polled to become instant reporters, holding up their cameras, etc. With a number of such live feeds in the field, a grid of channel choices can become a navigation metaphor, and place of commerce. Which you can clearly tell from the attached image. See the wonderful grid. Notice the lines going off the screen. Really, you had to be there.