Issues central to geography are now part of the global consciousness. Everyday objects are rapidly becoming locatable, and thus able to be monitored and mapped. Many tools and data sets that were formerly used and examined only by geographers and other earth and environmental scientists are now in the hands of the general public. Citizens outside academia are becoming involved in contributing data to the scientific community. Multimedia and cloud-based GIS have greatly multiplied the attraction that maps have had for centuries to tell stories.
[Edit] As sensored environments become more common, there are also important ethical implications to be considered. Depending on the sensor design, one can expect data to be collected about the environment and about people both passively and actively — oftentimes beyond our awareness and control. We must be conscious of positive and negative implications of sensor technology such that we privilege ways of using sensors to improve how we listen to our environment and each other.
For instance, if one endeavors to build an air quality sensor for New Delhi, India, some important questions to consider might be: Who is going to use this sensor? What are the challenges and limitations of existing/alternative methods of measuring air quality in that specific place? What resolution of data is needed in order to make proper assessments? Who will have access to the data? What training is needed for people to deploy the sensor appropriately? How can the data be rendered most legible for the community/communities it is meant to serve?