The effects of whatever engineering team first managed to wedge a camera into a cell phone are incalculable. There are more dopey party photos of you on Facebook than you care to think about; parents are able to capture spontaneous and never-to-be-repeated moments of toddler hilarity that go viral on YouTube; citizen journalists lucky or unlucky enough to record plane crashes, disasters and explosions receive payouts from news outlets.
Now a company called Gigwalk aims to capitalize on the sheer ubiquity of cell phone cameras in a clever way. Gigwalk serves as a connector between companies that need data and the millions of us toting iPhones (yes, just iPhones, at least for now). Let's say, for instance, TomTom needs verification that a particular street is one-way for their navigation services. The call goes out to a nearby Gigwalker—that's one of you who's signed up to offer your services—you snap a photo of the relevant street sign on your way to the subway, upload the photo, and are paid for your trouble.
It doesn't stop there, of course.Gigwalkers could be used to record anything and everything: Gas prices, grocery prices, store sales, stores that have gone out of business, "For Sale" signs on buildings, cafe interiors, pictures of what meals look like at a given restaurant. Gigwalk's aim is to essentially provide cartographic and commercial omniscience—like Google Maps Street View, but inside and outside—with real-time updates, and to let citizen shooters make a few shekels along the way. Most brilliant thing I've heard of in a while, and you can sign up here.
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