The Economist has nice feature that summarizes the potential for mobile phones to create a global sensor web for better public and environmental health. This article profiles the work being done at InSTEDD, Sense Networks and by Nokia for their Eco Sensor concept.
Some computer scientists look forward to the day when mobile phones and sensors can provide a central nervous system for the entire planet.
Surely, you all recollect Jack Dangermond’s comment that GIS will be the nervous system of the planet. The above quote places too much emphasis on the device rather than the modeling and visualization medium. Massive amounts of data will be the enabler for new systems, but the systems that deal with the data are the most compelling element.