Have you ever taken a second to think about how much technology has affected – or should I say infiltrated – our lives lately?

I mean, smartphones have (basically) taken over the world. Robots are now in our living rooms (Alexa, anyone? Or maybe consider that innocent Roomba vacuuming all of your dog’s hair while you’re at work?). We have GPS in our car that help us navigate the world. Even restaurants are joining in with touchscreen ordering services and touchscreen drink dispensers. 

As more and more technologies become prevalent, their influence becomes more widespread. Things that we never deemed necessary all of a sudden become “technologically advanced.” 

But that’s not always a bad thing. 

Let’s start with the University of Maine. In this month’s GeoPositions column, we speak with David Sandilands, aerial survey pilot and remote sensing technician at The Wheatland Lab – School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine. His school, the largest university in Maine, launched the Concept3D Interactive Map Platform, which allows users to explore the entire 660-acre campus and surrounding areas in 3D models from a mobile device. 

Consider freshman move-in day. If you have visited a college in any capacity during that time, you know it can be utter chaos. Well, with this app, new students and parents can see information kiosks, resident halls, short- and long-term parking areas, places to eat and more. The advance knowledge of knowing where you’re going when it’s overrun with first-time visitors would be paramount. 

Just think of the peace and quiet a technology like that could bring to such a frenzied event! Okay, maybe not “quiet,” but it would definitely help make things more organized. 

In Mary Shacklett’s column this month, she discusses law enforcement agencies using laser scanners for traffic and accident documentation and forensics. Using that technology in such a way could impact overall safety, improve traffic jams or frequent backups, and be used in a court of law to prove innocence or guilt. It opens up new avenues that law enforcement didn’t have before. 

Let’s say that Joe was in a car accident with a clown on a bicycle. The clown insists that it was Joe’s fault: “He wasn’t looking where he was going, and he hit me!” The driver of the car argues, “He was so busy blowing up a balloon animal that he rode right into the road!” Well, the point cloud data captured at the scene by a laser scanner and the subsequent analysis could prove who the guilty party was. For example, in court, they could take that point cloud, create an animation and verify the driver’s line of sight to show that the clown was at fault. 

What new technologies have you seen lately? Or maybe you’ve had one make your life a little easier? Or maybe you’ve experienced a new innovation that you absolutely deem unnecessary? Let me know at brumma@bnpmedia.com. I’m all ears.