We Media 2007: USC Knows Where You Live

(ed. note: mediabistro.com’s Dorian Benkoil is at the We Media 2007 conference in Miami and contributed the following post)

Adam Clayton Powell III shows how USC is using security cameras and other cameras to “map” buildings and streets in real time.

Report from the We Media conference in Miami…

Adam Clayton Powell, III, son of the famous late New York congressman, showed off some of the 3-D animations and models of streets he’s shown before, and also how they can tap into the IP addresses of Web cams and security cams around the world, and look through them to look at street corners, alleyways, even through some office windows. He showed a live shot of 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C., complete with flags flapping in the wind, and pedestrians walking by. Scary stuff, if you’re interested in privacy, which is why they don’t put it on the Internet.

Homeland Security, he said he was told, would be happy to buy it so his Integrated Media Systems Center at USC wouldn’t have it to share with the world.

Just as impressive was something he didn’t show he said they’re working: a visual representation of the Farm Bill, you know that pork-laden, giant piece of legislation that gets pushed through Congress every few years? Imagine, Powell said, if you could play the role of a farmer, and see, in a 3-D graphical representation, how much money something represented or where the flows were. You’d be able to understand the thing without reading it. (Which is more than many who’ve read it can say.)

Other nifty tech included a demo from Reuters’ Second Life journalist Adam Reuter/Pasick (photo below), whose icon “danced” with the demonstrator, and a woman from Global Voices, who talked about a Google Maps mashup of Tunisia prisons, with animations, photos and information about dissidents who are jailed in Tunisia. “Is this a little too sexy for human rights? But we’ve all said that’s the point because human rights lacks sexiness.”


A “visit” from Reuters’ Second Life journalist.