How can blockchain develop digital mapping? The digital maps that you use today may be very useful for navigation and it has really transformed the working process of several industries, transportation in particular, but it does not come without any issues.
Blockchain mapping will be able to create a faster, more accurate, and more reliable global mapping system.
Ideally, using blockchain in digital mapping is actually making the best use of the power of the decentralized nature of this technology.
However, the bonus is that you will also be able to make use of some of the most necessary, powerful and reliable network protocols.
All these features and factors will allow you to create a new type of map based on the internet.
The best part of it is that it will also make these maps entirely private for the end users.
If you are wondering how exactly that is possible, then you are in the right place.
Here is an article that will let you know a few basic things such as the limitations in the current digital maps, the use of blockchain in mapping and its future.
Also, if you want to participate in one such project, this article will also walk you through it making you knowledgeable about using blockchain in digital mapping.
Probably you will be as successful as the companies that are already working on such projects. Therefore, read on.
How Can Blockchain Develop Digital Mapping?
Latency can be improved potentially and significantly when all data and necessary information are hosted and available on a blockchain.
Also, with the availability and use of dApps or decentralized applications can help in cross reference information from the device.
All these along with the data on the blockchain will ensure better processing of data and faster information transmission which will make working with blockchain technology much better, whether it is for digital mapping or any other.
Also, the basic principle of the blockchain technology is its trustless verification system. It is used in decentralized ledgers.
This raises the trust among the users and they have good faith in the app or digital map they use believing that it is created most accurately and in the best way possible using the best available information.
It is true because all data and information regarding any transaction or other activities on the blockchain are up to date because these are recorded as and when they happen in real time.
Also, the best part of the blockchain technology is that no one can tamper with the information that has been already recorded.
And, in case any changes are made to the entries, it has to be verified and validated by all other participants on the network, or else, it will be summarily rejected.
The blockchain functions without the interference of any central authority trying to control or manipulate any activity on the blockchain whether it involves publishing of data or processing it.
This means that the whole system is free to respond to and move along with the changing conditions in real time, well very nearly.
Finally, it is the cryptographic nature of the blockchain networks that the information and personal details of the users are kept as it should be – private.
This means that, while making a transaction on the blockchain, you really do not need to expose your location to a very big corporation that may harvest your data later on as and when required for their own benefits.
Since the data cannot be modified and is shared by everyone on the chain, the users have full control of the record and it is the users who decide what specific entities or parties can view their info.
This makes the entire system entirely transparent while sharing the data with others.
This not only makes the information conveyed to be as real as it can be but also eliminates the need to bear the burden of and use the location services because the blockchain itself is more like an open window into the life of an individual.
All these features of the blockchain technology make it extremely useful for digital mapping.
However, before you know how that is possible, you should first understand the limitations of the current digital maps, which is explained in the following section.
Confines of Current Digital Maps
In spite of the current impressive abilities of the digital maps there are still some limitations in them that need to be done away with.
Some of the most obvious limitations of the existing digital maps are:
In addition to the above, the digital maps available now are also quite difficult to maintain.
These maps are considered quite invasive to the privacy of the users. (More on these limitations later)
The usefulness of digital maps today is known to everybody. You may have also found how valuable and interactive these are if you ever traveled to a place where you have never been before.
These maps can show you the way to reach your destination, and most of the time via the shortest available route.
Therefore, real-time mapping software is very useful but the problem with the current digital maps is that all of these systems basically use the traditional GPS in order to find your position on Earth.
It then maps the coordinates onto an interactive database of locations and roads. This is then shown on your mobile device.
There is no doubt that the GPS-based current digital maps works quite well and is also improving quite steadily but still the notable drawbacks in it cannot and should not be overlooked.
The most significant drawback of the current digital maps is the speed at which these maps can track your location and map you and also load all the necessary information at the same time.
Though everything looks pretty effective and real-time, there is a lot of doubt regarding how really real-time these are.
The primary reason that your route and location will be delayed while these are displayed is the different moving parts of the network.
These moving parts not only limits and slows down the process but also results in a variable experience.
Add to that, depending on the degree of these limitations as well as the precision of the whole system it can place you erroneously in the wrong place or on the wrong road.
This will lead to a lot of confusion and will hinder reaching your destination smoothly and quickly.
Another significant drawback is the cost of maintaining these interactive digital maps of today.
The cost is quite high because in most cases these digital maps are usually created by several people and different teams who chart different areas on special vehicles to update the data.
This raises the cost of operation as well as takes a lot of time to complete it.
As it is, these updates are necessary and should be made on a regular basis because local business modifications and road constructions are common and an ongoing process.
Therefore, these are constant and involve a lot of money.
It is for this reason, speaking from a realistic point of view, massive companies such as Google can only afford to offer such services because they have the huge capital at their disposal to maintain such an expensive system.
Now, talking about Google, most of the users know that the current model of their digital mapping service typically tracks and stores the data of the location of the people using their products.
This is seen as a direct violation of personal privacy by many, and they are not entirely wrong.
Therefore, with all these limitations, unfortunately, using the current digital maps will not be as useful as you expect them to be.
Most importantly, the fact that your location data may be stored when you use these products signifies that by using them you are accepting another fact that a third party could probably know where you have been before and where you are now, and at any time!
Projects Working Currently on It
However, there is no reason to believe that Google is the only company to use a digital map when you are ‘alone on the road.’
There are several other companies working on it and are worth considering.
There are lots of new blockchain projects coming up every day and it is not just restricted to crypto coins.
There are lots of projects coming up when it comes to mapping that promise and are poised to handle the existing issues in the current digital maps most effectively, and even replace them in the future.
A few of the major companies that are defining this particular space at the moment are:
If you consider FOAM, this company uses the Ethereum blockchain to address the issues of the digital maps of today and the decentralized mapping system.
Apart from that, the company also uses a service referred to as geohash. This is a specific tool that helps the company to ensure that its network addresses match to locations in the real world.
The whole system followed by FOAM is based on the PoL or Proof of Location protocol.
This system also involves other important elements for mapping such as the radio transmitters called Anchors.
These radio transmitters act just like the nodes in a traditional blockchain network.
In order to participate in this process, the node operators need to stake some FOAM tokens.
All these nodes are then connected to each other which form the ‘zones’ of the map. All the zones taken together represent a particular region on the surface of the earth.
In this system, there is a basic grid established and once it is done, the users then start creating the PoI or Points of Interest.
All these points are then mapped onto the network and all of these are attributed to a particular address on the blockchain network.
There is one specific power given to the users who stake the FOAM tokens. They are given the right to vote on the legitimacy of a given Point of Interest.
These Points of Interest can be anything from a coffee shop to any historical landmark architecture.
If you happen to be the winner, you will get back all the FOAM tokens that you have staked as your reward.
These rewards incentivize the users so that they stay honest with their validation efforts. Therefore, if you make any false claims, you will be voted out of the network.
However, though the system resembles the fundamental principles of blockchain technology and crypto, it is not 100% perfect.
There are some lacunas in the infrastructure of the radio transmitters or Anchors.
Also, the system needs to cover a long way as of now to cover the Earth which may make this process a bit slower though there are economic incentives given to the users for participation in the validation process.
Finally, the system is subject to limitations in terms of the bandwidth of the network as well as its speed because it uses the Ethereum blockchain network.
However, the company admits of these downsides and promises to remove them as soon as possible.
This is another good project that you can consider taking note of which is engaged in creating a location service powered by blockchain technology. XYO takes a unique approach towards achieving this feat.
This approach involves capturing real world data of locations by the users. For this matter they can use specific sensors called the ‘Sentinels.’
All they need to do is deploy these sentinels and for that they start earning XYO, the native coin of the company, instantly.
More rewards can be earned by the users when the sentinels deployed by them ‘in the wild’ start to communicate with each other, especially those that are within the close proximity.
These rewards further incentivize the users to deploy more and more sentinels as they want to, and there is no limit.
What more, you can even turn your smartphone into a sentinel for that matter. All you need to do is download the app of the project.
This expands the network and at the same time it improves the quality of data of the locations collected.
Of course, there are also several other ways in which users can get involved with XYO and earn rewards.
One such productive way is by being ‘Archivists’ or ‘Diviners.’
These are in essence the layers of the system that document information on the blockchain. These also help in running queries against that data.
When all the parts work well and together and the process evolves constantly, a map of the world is created in real time.
Everything is recorded on the immutable ledger of the blockchain.
In this process, one possible downside is to get enough sentinels to deploy.
However, this is essential for the mapping process because these sentinels act as the chief cornerstone of the mapping system.
However, the best part of this system is that it is fairly inexpensive and it allows using any mobile device for that matter.
This is also a good mapping project to consider. This company also follows a different approach with regards to global mapping endeavors based on the blockchain technology.
Hyperion, typically, offers more comprehensive location services. This is due to the economic model that they have deployed for it. There are different layers in this economic model.
Titan, an app for the user level layer provides all necessary information for the location services.
Just under the user layer is the PoH or the Proof of Hybrid system. This is actually a network that has two tiers.
These are the Proof of Work or PoW layer called the Map3 layer and the Proof of Stake or PoS layer called the Atlas layer.
In the Map3 layer, all data of a location is stored, verified and distributed.
On the other hand, in the Atlas layer all of the validation process is carried on for all the map asset transactions that take place on the blockchain.
This whole system is created in such a way that it is fault resistant and censorship resistant.
The users on the Titan layer can stake the HYN tokens in order to support the Map3 layer.
This will enable them to earn some more passive rewards for their participation in the proper functioning of the nodes.
In addition to that, the users can also re-stake their HYN tokens on the Atlas layer.
This helps the network further and at the same time offers the users some more opportunities to earn rewards for staking.
On this Atlas layer, block rewards are also given to the users when they use the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism of this layer.
Ideally, the top 88 nodes are selected for such rewards for block production.
There are also a few other good reasons why users may want to join Hyperion early.
One such reason is that it offers nine planned scaling cycles. Each of these nine cycle node networks will be divided effectively into two nodes.
This means that the network will scale up horizontally in both the layers namely, the Map3 and Atlas.
At the same time this split of the cycle network will boost up the amount of rewards the node operators can earn in the long run.
All these features incentivize the users further to contribute in the decentralized mapping service.
Apart from that, this will also help the network to be integrated seamlessly into any existing map applications.
This is another unique feature of the Hyperion which helps in connecting familiar interfaces and using them for the mapping purposes.
This ensures that the location data collected in the end is of highest possible quality.
The Hyperion network also follows a token burning model.
This model ensures that the supply of their native token decreases incrementally as and when the requests to the map service as well as the total number of HYN tokens staked on the network grow.
Therefore, this will boost up the value of the token according to the principle of demand and supply in economics.
Once again, this motivates the users towards more adoption of the network because the currency will act as a cornerstone due to the naturally deflationary nature of it.
Ways to Participate
Now, just as all these decentralized mapping projects look quite promising and exciting, these projects are also looking for enthusiastic users to provide support and contribute to their mapping system.
Well, if that has raised your interest in you to get involved in this mapping process using blockchain, here are some ways in which you should get started with it.
Ideally, there are many different ways in which you can participate in these projects which may vary according to the requirements of each of the projects.
However, here are the ways in which you can participate in FOAM, XYO, and Hyperion, since those are the three companies mentioned in this article.
If you are driven by the prospects of FOAM and want to join this particular mapping project, there are a couple of ways in which you can do that.
The easiest way is to visit their website and start working together with their map and explore. However, you can also start by ‘Signaling.’
This is a process where you lock up a specific number of FOAM tokens into a smart contract.
You will then need to define the specific geo-location that needs more mapping or location services.
This will draw more users who will place new radio transmitters or Anchors in that specific area you have mentioned.
When these Anchors receive signals and start communicating with other Anchors, rewards are given.
However, there is one thing to take note of here in particular.
If you want to start signaling you will have to use a browser wallet like MetaMask with some FOAM coins deposited in it.
Alternatively, you can also set up and use your own radio hardware, typically referred to as LPWAN and stake a few FOAM tokens which will allow you to act as an Anchor operator.
However, this is an approach that should be followed by one who is tech savvy.
Now, if you find the XYO prospects to be more intriguing and want to join this particular project, you will have two specific options here as well.
You can use your smartphone to download and install the coin app and start earning XYO.
When you travel or encounter other users you will be liable to earn more rewards in this process.
However, if you want to get involved with XYO more deeply, you can start by buying external sentinels and setting them up in the real world.
You can even connect these sentinels to the primary network of XYO by using a ‘Bridge.’ This will multiply your chances of earning more rewards.
And finally, if you want to join the Hyperion project, you can use one of the different ways that they allow new users to join them.
One of the most straightforward ways is to load the Titan app and start staking their HYN tokens for the Map3 layer.
However, if you want to participate in a much better way and get involved even more you can run a Map3 node.
You can run the node by using your personal computer or any external web services like the AWS.
However, if you really want to be an active participant of the Hyperion network and receive high returns you will have to stake 200,000 HYN tokens on the network.
Are you worried about the future of blockchain mapping and are still in a dilemma in taking part in one such project?
Well, your concern may be true to some extent.
Though these projects look pretty ambitious, nothing can be said for sure about their future just as one can say about the blockchain technology, which is however the backbone of all these projects.
It is a bit early to say anything negative about it though because there are lots that need to be done.
The one that can do away with the issues in the digital mapping process quickly and ahead of the others will surely be adopted as the next mapping standard.
However, there is nothing to get demoralized regarding these projects because the future does not look very bleak.
In fact, these projects have already shown a lot of prospects and promises which may make one think that they are not going anywhere too soon and rightly so.
All these projects have a lot in store for the future and each of them has laid out their roadmaps for the future in their respective websites along with the improved features, plans for scaling up, and their prospects for expanded reach.
All these signs are pretty optimistic but still it is not the right time yet to write the final words or say that those words are written.
However, there is one thing that can be surely said at this point which is – given the existing defects in the current digital maps there has to be a paradigm shift coming and it is just around the corner.
There are lots of innovative ways being explored right now in order to replace these maps and shake things up, but which one will it be is hard to tell right now.
And, no matter which ever digital mapping process becomes the future standard, there is one thing that is for sure.
The blockchain technology is clearly the winner and will play a vital role in the future not only in ways in which people use data and money today but in other areas as well such as how people will navigate the world in the coming years.
Now, after reading this article you know that it is simply due to the characteristic features and the key attributes of the blockchain technology that it allows using it in several applications across different industries, and it includes digital mapping.