During a trip to Asia a few weeks ago I had the pleasure to spend some days in Seoul, South Korea. Even tough I knew that Korea is a very high-tech society, I was still amazed by the extend to which e.g. location based services are integrated into everyday life and used by people of all ages.
Especially an interactive, map centered information device, named 'Digital View', impressed me. Built around a huge 46" touchscreen and operated by the popular Korean web portal Daum, these terminals offer probably any kind of information about the surrounding area you'll ever need. Here's a list of some of the available features:
- information about news, weather, finance, etc.
- entertainment services
- ticketing, e.g. purchasing movie tickets
- maps with diverse styles (road, satellite, hybrid, google Street View-like) and different layers with points of interests (shopping, accommodation, banks, real estate)
- free phone calls
- real-time bus schedules, subway maps and direction details
Features that make them extremely helpful for finding the fastest way through Seoul's massive underground transportation network as well as for getting all the required information about the surrounding area.
Just for the record: here in Hamburg (and I don't think the situation in other big German cities is different) we still rely on badly readable poster maps, showing nothing but a road-map of the surrounding and I don't see anything comparable to Seoul's Digital View popping up here in the coming years. Considering that the installation in Seoul began in 2010, we are already, in terms of technology, lacking behind five to ten years.
For more details, see:
similar system in NYC coming up: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/new-screens-in-the-subway-will-guide-riders-and-sell-to-them-too/