It is hard to imagine what it took for anyone to take the risk to leave their home country and cross the Atlantic Ocean to come to an unexplored America in the Seventeenth Century. The information available to make that decision probably was a mish mash of rumor and facts. Until people came to this country and explorers mapped the landscape, no one really knew what was possible.
Today we are exploring a new "virtual world". Information is fast and abundant. But few have explored, organized, and mapped the "virtual world" to reveal what is possible. This "virtual world" is multi-dimensional. Location is a dimension. But so are intrinsic dimensions like interests, knowledge, and aspirations. So there are two challenges to mapping the "virtual world". First, is how to visualize the multiple dimensions. Second, as in the early days of America, there is a lot of uncertainty about whom to trust. There are tools to analyze and visualize data in multiple dimensions. But who will people trust?
As I studied the first map of the Cheasapeake Bay area, in my home as a kid because it was made by a family ancestor, Augustin Herman, I wondered how mapmakers made the first map of a place accurately, without the benefit of planes and aerial photography. I don't know how he did it. Must have taken a lot of exploring time, a very visual mind, and the best technology of the day to make sense of the detail and depict it in a comprehensible way.
You can imagine how helpful that map must have been to identify the preferred land (e.g. near water, the most efficient transportation system), realize where one is and how to get there. More importantly, it gave individuals the confidence to reach consensus and collaborate to take the risks of exploring the unknown. Because an individual could not expect to survive "pioneering" solo. As significant technologically as this map may have been, its role as a catalyst for camaraderie and community building may be where the real value was.
Maps help people see the possibilities, see how to get where they aspire to go, and find others to collaborate with so they can enjoy the camaraderie of each other. Maps help explorers get ready and aim before they shoot, so they are more likely to find what they are looking for. Comradity believes this is how technology can unlock the possibility for both culture and commerce to flourish.