A delicious find in a musty box of media from the Bikelab epoch, this is the Nomadics page from a late-1991 issue of Whole Earth Review. RU Sirius did a little piece about my Nomadness Report journal, and from the perspective of 30 years later as I add this to the archive, I am delighted with the quote he chose to include. I postulated an automotive version of what we all now have in our pockets… but I wasn’t dreaming SMALL enough!
Let’s look at the idea of an electronic Yellow Pages that’s sensitive to your current position. You’re driving in a metropolitan area with a database that combines your regional map with businesses that have provided their geocoded addresses (i.e., their latitude and longitude coordinates). You’re interested in Thai restaurants within 5 minutes of your current position. The map highlights the possible locations; clicking on any of them pops up the Yellow Pages entry, with their phone numbers and hours. Second, imagine that you are driving home during rush hour. Your car has a radio data receiver that collects information about road conditions. Your display shows an animated interpretation of this data, showing the relative movement of traffic with trouble spots highlighted. Since this data is received in real time, you can be up to the minute with traffic conditions, long before your local radio station gets around to broadcasting the latest conditions. A simple extension of this idea could include weather conditions and detour information. — The Nomadness Report (Steven K. Roberts)