In the mid-90's if you were driving along I-40 in New
Mexico you would see signs instructing you to tune your radio to an AM
channel. If you did so you would here Ricardo Montelban describing the
geography and history of the area through which you were passing. This
went on for some miles.
The system was, of course, fully automated and operated through a series of low-power radio transmitters. I thought that it should be possible to marry this idea with GPS and so make it possible for a person to hear similar descriptions about any place in the country or, for that matter, the world.
MGIS is an acronym for Mobile Geographical Information
System. The concept has evolved over time as new technology has become
available. I now envision the system as software that could be downloaded
to any GPS-enabled device. The software would read the user's location and
then access the appropriate geographical information. A more sophisticated
version might use the Internet to find the local weather report and adjust
the information reported accordingly.
It may be that different versions of a given data set may have to be developed for air and ground travel due to speed of travel and range of vision. However, a more competent version of the software may be able to parse and synthesize the existing data to account for those differences.
At this time I see the basic software available for free and the data sold in 'blocks' that cover specific geographical areas.
As more GPS- and Internet-capable devices become available and the consumer base expands, there may exist a sufficiently large market base to make this idea profitable. The most time- and capital-intensive part of the development is probably going to be the development of the geographical information. People will have to be on the ground to see what is actually visible from a given location.
I have reviewed Apple's iPod and Google Earth's products as well as several other offerings no-one (as yet) produces a product that functions as virtual tour guide based on location in real-time. With the proliferation of cell phone towers and the recent introduction of wireless internet access on commercial aircraft one could access most of the information envisioned in this concept fairly easily, although it would still take some work to find relevant information. Geographical information would be easy to access, but as with the content of the original radio broadcasts in New Mexico, it it the history of a place that makes it interesting, and most people would probably be unaware of it.