A phone to save us from our screens?

Posted on Oct 11, 2010 in Film, Interaction design, Mobility, Ubicomp

Microsoft has two new ads, anticipating their upcoming Windows Phone 7 launch. The first is an almost post-apocalyptic vision of humanity stuck with their heads in their mobile devices:

Here’s David Webster, chief strategy officer in Microsoft’s central marketing group, explaining their anti-screen strategy:

“Our sentiment was that if we could have an insight to drive the campaign that flipped the category on its head, then all the dollars that other people are spending glorifying becoming lost in your screen or melding with your phone are actually making our point for us.”

The problem of glowing rectangles is a subject close to my heart, and Matt Jones has been bothered by the increase in mobile glowing attention-wells.

I think Microsoft & Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s advertising strategy stands out in a world full of slick floaty media. The only problem is that without any strategy towards tangible interaction, I’m not sure the ‘tiles’ interaction concept is strong enough to actually take people’s attention out of the glass.

Touch

Posted on Sep 4, 2006 in Mobility, Project, Research, Technology, Ubicomp

Nokia 3220 with NFC

Posted on Dec 6, 2005 in Interaction design, Mobility, Research, Ubicomp, Usability

First impressions

Overall the interaction between phone and RFID tags has been good. The reader/writer is on the base of the phone, at the bottom. This seems a little awkward to use at first, but slowly becomes natural. When I have given it to others, their immediate reaction is to point the top of the phone to the tag, and nothing happens. There follows a few moments of explaining as the intricacies of RFID and looking at the phone, with it’s Nokia ‘fingerprint’ icon. As phones increasingly become replacements for ‘contactless cards’, it seems likely that this interaction will become more habitual and natural.

Once the ‘service discovery’ application is running, the read time from tags is really quick. The sharp vibrations and flashing lights add to a solid feeling of interacting with something, both in the haptic and visual senses. This should turn out to be a great platform for embodied interaction with information and function.

The ability to read and write to tags makes it potentially adaptive as a platform wider than just advertising or ticketing. As an interaction designer I feel quite enabled by this technology: the three basic functions (making phonecalls, going to URLs, or sending SMSs) are enough to start thinking about tangible interactions without having to go and program any Java midlets or server-side applications.

I’m really happy that Nokia is putting this technology into a ‘low-end’ phone rather than pushing it out in a ‘smartphone’ range. This is where there is potential for wider usage and mass-market applications, especially around gaming and content discovery.

Improvements

I had some problems launching the ‘service discovery’ application. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and it’s difficult to tell why this is. It would be great to be able to place the phone on the table, knowing that it will respond to a tag, but it was just a little too unreliable to do that without checking to see that it had responded. The version I have still says it’s a prototype, so this may well be sorted out by the released version.

Overall there is a lack of integration between the service discovery application and the rest of the system: Contacts, SMS archive and service bookmarks etc. At the moment we need to enter the application to write and manage tags, or to give a ‘shortcut’ to another phone, but it seems that, as with bluetooth and IR, this should be part of the contextual menus that appear under ‘Options’ within each area of the phone. There are also some infuriating prompts that appear when interacting with URL, more details below.

Details

The phone opens the ‘service discovery’ application whenever it detects a compatible RFID tag near the base of the phone (when the keypad lock is off). This part is a bit obscure: sometimes it doesn’t ‘wake up’ for a tag, and the application needs to be loaded before it will read properly. Once the application is open (about 2-3 seconds) the read time of the tags seems instantaneous.

The shortcuts menu gives access to shortcuts. Confusingly, this is different from ‘bookmarks’ and the ‘names’ list on the phone, although names can be searched from within the application. I think tighter integration with the OS is called for.

Shortcuts can be added, edited, deleted, etc. in the same way as contacts. They can be ‘Given’ to another phone or ‘Written’ to a tag.

There are three kinds of shortcuts: Call, URL or SMS. ‘Call’ will create a call to a pre-defined number, ‘URL’ will load a pre-defined URL, and ‘SMS’ will send a pre-defined SMS to a particular number. This part of the application has the most room for innovative extensions: we should be able to set the state of the phone, change profiles, change themes, download graphics, etc. This can be achieved by loading URLs, but URLs and mobiles don’t mix, so why should we be presented with them, when there could be a more usable layer inbetween? There could also be preferences for prompts: at the moment each action has to be confirmed with a yes or a no, but in some secure environments it would be nice to be able to have a function launched without the extra button push.

If a tag contains no data, then we are notified and placed back on the main screen (as happened when I tried to write to my Oyster card).

If the tag is writeable we are asked which shortcut to write to the tag.

When we touch a tag with a shortcut on it, a prompt appears asking for confirmation. This is a level of UI to prevent mistakes, and a certain level of security, but it also reduces the overall usability of the system. With URL launching, there are two stages of confirmation, which is infuriating. There needs to be some other mode of confirmation, and the ‘service discovery’ app needs to somehow be deeper in the system to avoid these double button presses.

Lastly, there is a log of actions. Useful to see if the application has been reading something in your bag or wallet, without you knowing…

Graphic language for touch

This work explores the visual link between information and physical things, specifically around the emerging use of the mobile phone to interact with RFID or NFC. It was a presentation and poster at Design Engaged, Berlin on the 11th November 2005.

Download the icons (PDF, 721KB, Gif preview).

As mobile phones are increasingly able to read and write to RFID tags embedded in the physical world, I am wondering how we will appropriate this for personal and social uses.

I’m interested in the visual link between information and physical things. How do we represent an object that has digital function, information or history beyond it’s physical form? What are the visual clues for this interaction? We shouldn’t rely on a kind of mystery meat navigation (the scourge of the web-design world) where we have to touch everything to find out it’s meaning.

This work doesn’t attempt to be a definitive system for marking physical things, it is an exploratory process to find out how digital/physical interactions might work. It uncovers interesting directions while the technology is still largely out of the hands of everyday users.

Reference to existing work

Visual references

Click for larger version.

The inspiration for this is in the marking of public space and existing iconography for interactions with objects: push buttons on pedestrian crossings, contactless cards, signage and instructional diagrams.

This draws heavily on the substantial body of images of visual marking in public space. One of the key findings of this research was that visibility and placement of stickers in public space is an essential part of their use. Current research in ubicomp and ‘locative media’ is not addressing these visibility issues.

There is also a growing collection of existing iconography in contactless payment systems, with a number of interesting graphic treatments in a technology-led, vernacular form. In Japan there are also instances of touch-based interactions being represented by characters, colours and iconography that are abstracted from the action itself.

I have also had great discussions with Ulla-Maaria Mutanen and Jyri Engestr�m who have been doing interesting work with thinglinks and the intricate weaving of RFID into craft products.

Development

rfid_iconography_circles.gif

Sketching and development revealed five initial directions: circles, wireless, card-based, mobile-based and arrows (see the poster for more details). The icons range from being generic (abstracted circles or arrows to indicate function) to specific (mobile phones or cards touching tags).

Arrows might be suitable for specific functions or actions in combinations with other illustrative material. Icons with mobile phones or cards might be helpful in situations where basic usability for a wide range of users is required. Although the ‘wireless’ icons are often found in current card readers, they do not successfully indicate the touch-based interactions inherent in the technology, and may be confused with WiFi or Bluetooth. The circular icons work at the highest level, and might be most suitable for generic labelling.

rfid_iconography_circles.gif

For further investigation I have selected a simple circle, surrounded by an ‘aura’ described by a dashed line. I think this successfully communicates the near field nature of the technology, while describing that the physical object contains something beyond its physical form.

rfid_iconography_2circle.gif

In most current NFC implementations, such as the 3220 from Nokia and many iMode phones, the RFID reader is in the bottom of the phone. This means that the area of ‘activation’ is obscured in many cases by the phone and hand. The circular iconography allows for a space to be marked as ‘active’ by the size of the circle, and we might see it used to mark areas rather than points. Usability may improve when these icons are around the same size as the phone, rather than being a specific point to touch.

Work in progress

This is early days for this technology, and this is work-in-progress. There is more to be done in looking at specific applications, finding suitable uses and extending the language to cover other functions and content.

Until now I have been concerned with generic iconography for a digitally augmented object. But this should develop into a richer language, as the applications for this type of interaction become more specific, and related to the types of objects and information being used. For example it would be interesting to find a graphic treatment that could be applied to a Pokemon sticker offering power-ups as well as a bus stop offering timetable downloads.

I’m also interested in the physical placement of these icons. How large or visible should they be? Are there places that should not be ‘active’? And how will this fit with the natural, centres of gravity of the mobile phone in public and private space.

I’ll expand on these things in a few upcoming projects that explore touch-based interactions in personal spaces.

Feel free to use and modify the icons, I would be very interested to see how they can be applied and extended.

Visual references

Oyster Card, Transport for London.
eNFC, Inside Contactless.
Paypass, Mastercard.
ExpressPay, American Express.
FeliCa, Sony.
MiFare, various vendors.
Suica, JR, East Japan Railway Company.
RFID Field Force Solutions, Nokia.
NFC shell for 3220, Nokia.
ERG Transit Systems payment, Dubai.
Various generic contactless vendors.
Contactless payment symbol, Mastercard.
Open Here, Paul Mijksenaar, Piet Westendorp, Thames and Hudson, 1999.
Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud, Harper, 1994

Embodied interaction in music

Posted on Apr 28, 2005 in Interaction design, Media, Mobility, Research, Sound, Usability

I too have ditched my large iPod for the iPod Shuffle, finding that I love the white-knuckle ride of random listening. But that doesn’t exclude the need for a better small-screen-based music experience.

The pseudo-analogue interface of the iPod clickwheel doesn’t cut it. It can be difficult to control when accessing huge alphabetically ordered lists, and the acceleration or inertia of the view can be really frustrating. The combinations of interactions: clicking into deeper lists, scrolling, clicking deeper, turn into long and tortuous experiences if you are engaged in any simultaneous activity. Plus its difficult to use through clothing, or with gloves.

Music and language

My first thought was something Jack and I discussed a long time ago, using a phone keypad to type the first few letters of a artist, album or genre and seeing the results in real-time, much like iTunes does on a desktop. I find myself using this a lot in iTunes rather than browsing lists.

Predictive text input would be very effective here, when limited to the dictionary of your own music library. (I wonder if QIX search would do this for a music library on a mobile?)

Maybe now is the time to look at this as we see mobile phone music convergence.

h3. Navigating through movement

Since scrolling is inevitable to some degree, even within fine search results, what about using simple movement or tilt to control the search results? One of the problems with using movement for input is context: when is movement intended? And when is movement the result of walking or a bump in the road?

One solution could be a “squeeze and shake” quasi-mode: squeezing the device puts it into a receptive state.

Another could be more reliance on the 3 axes of tilt, which are less sensitive to larger movements of walking or transport.

Gestures

I’m not sure about gestural interfaces, most of the prototypes I have seen are difficult to learn, and require a certain level of performativity that I’m not sure everyone wants to be doing in public space. But having accelerometers inside these devices should, and would, allow for the hacking together other personal, adaptive gestural interfaces that would perhaps access higher level functions of the device.

One gesture I think could be simple and effective would be covering the ear to switch tracks. To try this out we could add a light or capacitive touch sensor to each earbud.

With this I think we would have trouble with interference from other objects, like resting the head against a wall. But there’s something nicely personal and intimate about putting the hand next to the ear, as if to listen more intently.

More knobs

Things that are truly analogue, like volume and time, should be mapped to analogue controls. I think one of the greatest unexplored areas in digital music is real-time audio-scrubbing, currently not well supported on any device, probably because of technical constraints. But scrubbing through an entire album, with a directly mapped input, would be a great way of finding the track you wanted.

Research projects like the DJammer are starting to look at this, specifically for DJs. But since music is inherently time-based there is more work to be done here for everyday players and devices. Let’s skip the interaction design habits we’ve learnt from the CD era and go back to vinyl :)

Evolution of the display

Where displays are required, I hope we can be free of small, fuzzy, low-contrast LCDs. With new displays being printable on paper, textiles and other surfaces there’s the possibility of improving the usability, readability and “glanceability” of the display.

We are beginning to see signs of this with this OLED display on this Sony Network Walkman where the display is under the surface of the product material, without a separate “glass” area.

For the white surface of an iPod, the high-contrast, paper-like surfaces of technologies like e-ink would make great, highly readable displays.

Prototyping

So I really need to get prototyping with accelerometers and display technologies, to understand simple movement and gesture in navigating music libraries. There are other questions to answer: I’m wondering if using movement to scroll through search results would create the appearance of a large screen space, through the lens of a small screen. As with bumptunes, I think many more opportunities will emerge as we make these things.

More reading

Designing for Shuffling
Thoughts on the iPod Shuffle
Bumptunes
Audioclouds/gestural interaction
Sound objects
DJammer
On the body
Runster

Spatial memory at Design Engaged 2004

Notes on two related projects:

1. Time that land forgot

  • A project in collaboration with Even Westvang
  • Made in 10 days at the Icelandic locative media workshop, summer 2004
  • Had the intention of making photo archives and gps trails more useful/expressive
  • Looked at patterns in my photography: 5 months, 8000 photos, visualised them by date / time of day. Fantastic resource for me: late night parties, early morning flights, holidays and the effect of midnight sun is visible.
  • time visualisation

    2. Marking in urban public space

    I’ve also been mapping stickering, stencilling and flyposting: walking around with the camera+gps and photographing examples of marking (not painted graffiti).

    This research looks at the marking of public space by investigating the physical annotation of the city: stickering, stencilling, tagging and flyposting. It attempts to find patterns in this marking practice, looking at visibility, techniques, process, location, content and audience. It proposes ways in which this marking could be a layer between the physical city and digital spatial annotation.

    Some attributes of sticker design

  • Visibility: contrast, monochromatic, patterns, bold shapes, repetition
  • Patina: history, time, decay, degredation, relevance, filtering, social effects
  • Physicality: residue of physical objects: interesting because these could easily contain digital info
  • Adaptation and layout: layout is usually respectful, innovative use of dtp and photocopiers, adaptive use of sticker patina to make new messages on top of old

    Layers of information build on top of each other, as with graffiti, stickers show their age through fading and patina, flyposters become unstuck, torn and covered in fresh material. Viewed from a distance the patina is evident, new work tends to respect old, and even commercial flyposting respects existing graffiti work.

    Techniques vary from strapping zip-ties through cardboard and around lampposts for large posters, to simple hand-written notes stapled to trees, and short-run printed stickers. One of the most fascinating and interactive techniques is the poster offering strips of tear-off information. These are widely used, even in remote areas.

    Initial findings show that stickers don’t relate to local space, that they are less about specific locations than about finding popular locations, “cool neighbourhoods” or just ensuring repeat exposure. This is opposite to my expectations, and perhaps sheds some light on current success/failure of spatial annotation projects.

    I am particularly interested in the urban environment as an interface to information and an interaction layer for functionality, using our spatial and navigational senses to access local and situated information.

    There is concern that in a dense spatially annotated city we might have an overload of information, what about filtering and fore-grounding of relevant, important information? Given that current technologies have very short ranges (10-30mm), we might be able to use our existing spatial skills to navigate overlapping information. We could shift some of the burden of information retrieval from information architecture to physical space.

    I finished by showing this animation by Kriss Salmanis, a young Latvian artist. Amazing re-mediation of urban space through stencilling, animation and photography. (“Un ar reizi naks tas bridis” roughly translates as “And in time the moment will come”.

    Footnotes/references

    Graffiti Archaeology, Cassidy Curtis
    otherthings.com/grafarc

    Street Memes, collaborative project
    streetmemes.com

    Spatial annotation projects list
    elasticspace.com/2004/06/spatial-annotation

    Nokia RFID kit for 5140
    nokia.com/nokia/0,,55739,00.html

    Spotcodes, High Energy Magic
    highenergymagic.com/spotcode

    ?Mystery Meat navigation?, Vincent Flanders
    fixingyourwebsite.com/mysterymeat.html

    RDF as barcodes, Chris Heathcote
    undergroundlondon.com/antimega/archives/2004_02.html

    Implementation: spatial literature
    nickm.com/implementation

    Yellow Arrow
    yellowarrow.org

Time that land forgot

There are two versions: a low-bandwidth no-image version and a high-bandwidth version with images. There is also a Quicktime movie for people that can’t run Flash at a reasonable frame rate.

We have made the source code (.zip file) available for people that want to play with it, under a General Public License (GPL).

Background: Narrative images and GPS tracks

Over the last five years Timo has been photographing daily experience using a digital camera and archiving thousands of images by date and time. Transient, ephemeral and numerous; these images have become a sequential narrative beyond the photographic frame. They sit somewhere between photography and film, with less emphasis on the single image in re-presenting experience.

For the duration of the workshop Timo used a GPS receiver to record tracklogs, capturing geographic co-ordinates for every part of the journey. It is this data that we explore here, using it to provide a history and context to the images.

This project is particularly relevant as mobile phones start to integrate location-aware technology and as cameraphone image-making becomes ubiquitous.

Scenarios

We discussed the context in which we were creating an application: who would use it, and what would they be using it for? In our case, Timo is using the photographs as a personal diary, and this is the first scenario: a personal life-log, where visualisations help to recollect events, time-periods and patterns.

Then there is the close network of friends and family, or participants in the same journey, who are likely to invest time looking at the system and finding their own perspective within it. Beyond that there is a wider audience interested in images and information about places, that might want a richer understanding of places they have never been, or places that they have experienced from a different perspective.

Images are immediately useful and communicative for all sorts of audiences, it was less clear how we should use the geographic information, the GPS tracks might only be interesting to people that actually participated in that particular journey or event.

Research

We looked at existing photo-mapping work, discovering a lot of projects that attempted to give images context by placing them within a map. But these visualisations and interfaces seemed to foreground the map over the images and photos embedded in maps get lost by layering. The problem was most dramatic with topographic or street maps full of superfluous detail, detracting from the immediate experience of the image.

Even the exhaustive and useful research from Microsoft’s World Wide Media Index arrives at a somewhat unsatisfactory visual interface. The paper details five interesting mapping alternatives, and settles on a solution that averages the number of photos in any particular area, giving it a representatively scaled ‘blob’ on a street map (see below). Although this might solve some problems with massive data-sets, it seems a rather clunky interface solution, overlooking something that is potentially beautiful and communicative in itself.

See http://wwmx.org/docs/wwmx_acm2003.pdf page 8

Other examples (below) show other mapping solutions; Geophotoblog pins images to locations, but staggers them in time to avoid layering, an architectural map from Pariser Platz, Berlin gives an indication of direction, and an aerial photo is used as context for user-submitted photos at Tokyo-picturesque. There are more examples of prior work, papers and technologies here.

Image from Pariser Platz Berlin

Image from geophotoblog

Image from Tokyo Picturesque

By shifting the emphasis to location the aspect most clearly lacking in these representations is time and thereby also the context in which the images can most easily form narrative to the viewer. These images are subordinate to the map, thereby removing the instant expressivity of the image.

We feel that these orderings make spatially annotated images a weaker proposition than simple sequential images in terms of telling the story of the photographer. This is very much a problem of the seemingly objective space as contained by the GPS coordinates versus the subjective place of actual experience.

Using GPS Data

We started our technical research by looking at the data that is available to us, discovering data implicit in the GPS tracks that could be useful in terms of context, many of which are seldom exposed:

  • location
  • heading
  • speed in 3 dimensions
  • elevation
  • time of day
  • time of year

    With a little processing, and a little extra data we can find:

  • acceleration in 3 dimensions
  • change in heading
  • mode of transportation (roughly)
  • nearest landmark or town
  • actual (recorded) temperature and weather
  • many other possibilities based on local, syndicated data

    Would it be interesting to use acceleration as a way of looking at photos? We would be able to select arrivals and departures by choosing images that were taken at moments of greatest acceleration or deceleration. Would these images be the equivalent of ‘establishing’, ‘resolution’ or ‘transition’ shots in film, generating a good narrative frame for a story?

    Would looking at photos by a specific time of day give good indication of patterns and habits of daily life? The superimposition of daily unfolding trails of an habitual office dwelling creature might show interesting departures from rote behaviour.

    Using photo data

    By analysing and visualising image metadata we wanted to look for ways of increasing the expressive qualities of a image library. Almost all digital images are saved with the date and time of capture but we also found unexplored tags in the EXIF data that accompany digital images:

  • exposure
  • aperture
  • focus distance
  • focal length
  • white balance

    We analysed metadata from almost 7000 photographs taken between 18 February – 26 July 2004 to see patterns that we might be able to exploit for new interfaces. We specifically looked for patterns that helped identify changes over the course of the day.

    Shutter, Aperture, Focal length and File size against time of day (click for larger version)

    This shows an increase in shutter speed and aperture during the middle of the day. The images also become sharper during daylight hours, indicated by an increased file-size.

    Date against time of day (click for larger version)

    This shows definite patterns: holidays and travels are clearly visible (three horizontal clusters towards the top) as are late night parties and early morning flights. This gives us huge potential for navigation and interface. Image-based ‘life-log’ applications like Flickr and Lifeblog are appearing, the visualisation of this light-weight metadata will be invaluable for re-presenting and navigating large photographic archives like these.

    Matias Arje – also at the Iceland workshop – has done valuable work in this direction.

    Technicalities

    Getting at the GPS and EXIF data was fairly trivial though it did demand some testing and swearing.

    We are both based on Apple OS X systems, and we had to borrow a PC to get the tracklogs reliably out of the Timo’s GPS and into Garmin’s Mapsource. We decided to use GPX as our format for the GPS tracks, GPSBabel happily created this data from the original Garmin files.

    The EXIF was parsed out of the images by a few lines of Python using the EXIF.py module and turned into another XML file containing image file name and timestamp.

    We chose Flash as the container for the front end, it is ubiquitous and Even’s programming poison of choice for visualisation. Flash reads both the GPX and EXIF XML files and generates the display in real-time.

    More on our choices of technologies here.

    First prototype

    View prototype

    Mirroring Timo’s photography and documentation effort, Even has invested serious time and thought in dynamic continous interfaces. The first prototype is a linear experience of a journey, suitable for a gallery or screening, where images are overlaid into textural clusters of experience. It shows a scaling representation of the travel route based on the distance covered the last 20-30 minutes. Images recede in scale and importance as they move back in time. Each tick represents 1 minute, every red tick represents an hour.

    We chose to create a balance of representation in the interface around a set of prerogatives: first image (for expressivity), then time (for narrative), then location (for spatialising, and commenting on, image and time).

    In making these interfaces there is the problem of scale. The GPS data itself has a resolution down to a few meters, but the range of speeds a person can travel at varies wildly through different modes of transportation. The interface therefore had to take into account the temporo-spatial scope of the data and scale the resolution of display accordingly.

    This was solved by creating a ‘camera’ connected to a spring system that attempts to center the image on the advancing ‘now’ while keeping a recent history of 20 points points in view. The parser for the GPS tracks discards the positional data between the minutes and the animation is driven forward by every new ‘minute’ we find in the track and that is inserted into the view of the camera. This animation system can both be used to generate animations and interactive views of the data set.

    There are some issues with this strategy. There will be discontinuities in the tracklogs as the GPS is switched off during standstill and nights. Currently the system smoothes tracklog time to make breaks seem more like quick transitions.

    The system should ideally maintain a ‘subjective feeling’ of time adjusted to picture taking and movement; a temporal scaling as well as a spatial scaling. This would be an analog to our own remembering of events: minute memories from double loop roller-coasters, smudged holes of memory from sleepy nights.

    Most of the tweaking in the animation system went into refining the extents system around the camera history & zoom, acceleration and friction of spring systems and the ratio between insertion of new points and animation ticks.

    In terms of processing speed this interface should ideally have been built in Java or as a stand alone application, though tests have shown that Flash is able to parse a 6000 point tracklog, and draw it on screen along with 400 medium resolution images. Once the images and points have been drawn on the canvas they animate with reasonable speed on mid-spec hardware.

    Conclusions

    This prototype has proved that many technical challenges are solvable, and given us a working space to develop more visualisations, and interactive environments, using this as a tool for thinking about wider design issues in geo-referenced photography. We are really excited by the sense of ‘groundedness’ the visualisation gives over the images, and the way in which spatial relationships develop between images.

    For Timo it has given a new sense of spatiality to image making, the images are no longer locked into a simple sequential narrative, but affected by spatial differences like location and speed. He is now experimenting with more ambient recording: taking a photo exactly every 20 minutes for example, in an effort to affect the presentation.

    Extensions

    Another strand of ideas we explored was using the metaphor of a 16mm Steenbeck edit deck: scrubbing 16mm film through the playhead and watching the resulting sound and image come together: we could use the scrubbing of an image timeline, to control all of the other metadata, and give real control to the user. It would be exciting to explore a spatial timeline of images, correlated with contextual data like the GPS tracks.

    We need to overcome the difficulty obtaining quality data, especially if we expect this to work in an urban environment. GPS is not passive, and requires a lot of attention to record tracks. Overall our representation doesn’t require location accuracy, just consistency and ubiquity of data; we hope that something like cell-based tracking on a mobile phone becomes more ubiquitous and usable.

    We would like to experiment further with the extracted image metadata. For large-scale overviews, images could be replaced by a simple rectangular proxy, coloured by the average hue of the original picture and taking brightness (EV) from exposure and aperture readings. This would show the actual brightness recorded by the camera’s light meter, instead of the brightness of the image.

    Imagine a series of images from bright green vacation days, dark grey winter mornings or blue Icelandic glaciers, combined with the clusters and patterns that time-based visualisation offers.

    We would like to extend the data sets to include other people: from teenagers using gps camera phones in Japan to photojournalists. How would visualisations differ, and are there variables that we can pre-set for different uses? And how would the map look with multiple trails to follow, as a collaboration between multiple people and multiple perspectives?

    At a technical level it would be good to have more integration with developing standards: we would like to use Locative packets, just need more time and reference material. This would make it useful as a visualisation tool for other projects, Aware for example.

    We hope that the system will be used to present work from other workshops, and that an interactive installation of the piece can be set up at Art+Communication.

    Biographies

    Even Westvang works between interaction design, research and artistic practice. Recent work includes a slowly growing digital organism that roams the LAN of a Norwegian secondary school and an interactive installation for the University of Oslo looking at immersion, interaction and narrative. Even lives and works in Oslo. His musings live on polarfront.org and some of his work can be seen at bengler.no.

    Timo Arnall is an interaction designer and researcher working in London, Oslo and Helsinki. Recent design projects include a social networking application, an MMS based interactive television show and a large media archiving project. Current research directions explore mapping, photography and marking in public places. Work and research can be seen at elasticspace.com.

    Screenshots

Loop city workshop

Posted on Jun 20, 2004 in Conferences, Mapping, Mobility, Place, Social, Travel, Urbanism

Bill Hillier: Cities are movement economies

  • http://www.spacesyntax.com/

    In the city there are

  • space explorers: children, homeless, vendors, skateboarders,
  • space utilisers: commuters, workers,

    Two ways of looking at the city

  • exocentric: external, connected
  • egocentric: centred, point of view,

    Spatial organisation

  • Large, diverse research field.
  • Abler, Ronald Adams: ‘Spatial organisation: the geographer’s view

of the world’

Relative space

  • Expressing thematic data through spatial differentiation

    Scaling areas according to non-geographic data

  • Political maps based on size of army
  • Map of USA based on Elvis concerts

    Time space

  • Irina Vasiliev: ‘Design issues for mapping time’
  • Time as a way of measuring space (one conclusion: world is

shrinking)

Taxicab geography

  • Grid systems make diagonal movement problematic
  • There is study of movement in grid spaces, showing multiple optimum routes: a big L shape is the same distance as a zig-zag.
  • The grid is no longer in Euclidian space

    Social space

  • Philip Thiel: Spatial annotation methods

    John S. Adams:

  • Human geographer

    mapped human interaction over 1 day

  • vertical axis: time
  • horizontal axis: distance
  • made 3D diagrams of this multi-dimensional space, showing relative
  • distances travelled and communicated with over 1 day.

  • Social network maps

    Mental mapping

  • spatial representations of the brain or memory
  • In some ways the analysis by Lynch and others has failed, because
    they focused on trying to know everything about people’s mental
    maps of the city.

  • Richard Long: walking project

    Imagined cities

  • Norman Klein: History of forgetting
  • Fictional writers form mental models of cities
  • Calvino

    Textmaps

  • Dietmar recreated the shape of LA by phoning people and asking
  • directions

  • PML maps

    Single parameter mapping

  • Boylan height maps: Denis Wood
  • Maps of Halloween lanterns in an area

    Multiple parameter mapping

  • Correlating space
  • Chernoff faces: iconographic representations of faces, with
  • expressions that map to different social conditions

  • Eugene Turner
  • Correlating socio-economic factors is common

    Mapping as a game

  • Raoul Bunschoten

    Narrowed the analysis of space down to very simple
    p rocedures

  • erasure
  • origination
  • transformation
  • migration
  • Mapped results as a synthesis?

    Photographic / media mapping

  • Tokyo Nobody
  • Images with text removed, replaced with a textmap
  • Text / image project… ?
  • Graffiti archaeology project
  • Time lapse as a tool: mapping crowds
  • Threshold linear key as a tool: RCA project…

    Diagrammatic / information mapping

  • Tufte
  • Information diagrams representing time, space, actions, events,

people, cause/effect etc.

Collaborative mapping

  • multiple authorship over shared themes

    Sarah

  • Presented her NY Green space project, in which access to green
    space is correlated with socio-economic factors. Refer to Social
    design notes weblog.

    Some ideas for mapping

  • Children’s tactile book: sandpaper for Asphalt, felt for grass.
  • Litter, sky cover, text, colours, people, edges, boundaries, nodes
  • Use gps and digital camera. Use a compass to always orient the
    camera to North, or relevant reference. Then map the space with
    textures or sky cover (down or up). Could make a great map.

  • A method for collaborative presentation might be to use a projector
    to trace physical space onto a wall or large open space, then to
    layer drawn annotations. A public presentation could be achieved by
    projecting digital data (photos, textures, movement) onto this
    annotated area, for interesting layered correlations.

  • Everyone has their own agenda when approaching a space: personal
    ways of looking, awareness, attractions and unnatractions. Could
    try to map what a space makes you think instantly, from one vantage
    point, or multiple, correlated vantage points.

  • Bluetooth mapping of devices. Our personal ‘Auras’ are becoming
    public and this might be useful for mapping.
    h3. What kind of data can we collect about the city and it’s usage,
    that is really reliable and plentiful? The audioscrobbler mapping
    example shows how really simple data can be mapped into
    extraordinary useful spatial representations, just because it’s
    high quality and plentiful.

  • Geographic data is potentially plentiful, because there is a lot of
  • effort put into mapping space.

  • What other things are mapped with effort, or easily?——-

Mobile outskirts workshop

Posted on Jun 20, 2004 in Art, General, Mapping, Media, Mobility, Place, Technology, Travel

There is a workshop wiki and media archive that we are attempting to keep updated via fairly limited wireless coverage.

A painless and creative 15 hour bus drive took us from Trondheim up to the islands of Lofoten, in a bus full of GPS receivers, cameras and impromptu artworks.

Outside In

Outside In is a forum for involving new voices, media and practices in a discourse about the use and design of public space. It took place from 14 – 15 June 2004.

Roda Sten is amazing, below a suspension bridge, with huge concrete creations. Really windy, but calm inside the lecture space. Here are my notes and a few pictures.











Day 1

Session 2: Hacking the streets (I missed the 1st workshop)

Space Hijackers

  • Putting memories in spaces: spaces arent the same after having been disrupted. after ‘reclaim the streets’ or a ‘circle line party’ you can’t see the space in the same way.
  • Distinction between public and private. What is it?
  • Public space doesn’t exist anymore.
  • Ken’s new city hall is half private half public (private investment was involved in the building, so protests cannot happen outside)
  • Do we need institutions in order to do events, is that the only way to do it legally?
  • What’s stopping people from doing these things is not necessarily capitalism, but the fear of looking like a pillock: self-regulation is a big factor. Can spark things to let down inhibitions or shackles. Uses example of the scooter, became a kids toy and then it wasn’t cool anymore.
  • What’s the connection between anarchism and these spontaneous events. Emergent order is interesting, so much control over actions, and the ways people move through the city. How does this relate to anarchy? Is this anarchy?

    Zevs

  • The city is a workshop: not just walls to tag
  • Shadows of urban furniture: really good
  • Visual kidknapping: Lavazza woman gets cut out of the frame
  • Big poster with bleeding eyes
  • Uses a high pressure water jet to clean the city, but also write at the same time.
  • Digs at the notion of authorship, a site where people find work on the streets
  • The work is anonymous, but there is the projection of authorial control behind it, its individual and definitely authored
  • Would be interesting to explore more about Graffiti authorship: how do public artists want to be recognised?
  • Managing the mystique around the work and the author.
  • Difference between author/instigator
  • Interview
  • Visual kidknapping

    3D bombing: Akim

  • Polystyrene models, matched to fit specific city spaces
  • City of names: what if the writers are the ones who build the houses?

    Day 2

    Session 3: Network experience

    Jonah Brucker Cohen

  • Wants to deconstruct network context
  • Context: physical and social situation in which computation sits
  • How does the network affect the output and experience
  • Companies are claiming ownership of space because of signal
  • strength: strengthening signals to drown out free competion

  • WiFihog: saps out all wifi bandwidth
  • LAN party versus Flash Mob
  • Simpletext: collaborative sms image searching on large screens
  • re-mapping and changing the context of interfaces: what about
  • shifting consequences: changing the input/output relationship.

  • Simpletext project: assigns an image search to inputted text
  • messages, and displays via jitter/max on a large screen.

  • Steven Levy quote on hackers

    Katherine Moriwaki

  • Altering space by altering the body
  • character of a space
  • remnants of things, people, individuals
  • put magnets on wrists and fingers and bodies to reveal the proximity of electronic devices: unexpected connections to other people and lampposts. Nice.

    Data Climates: Pedro Sepúlveda Sandoval

  • Living in a scanscape city
  • electronic space, synthetic city
  • Congestion charge as walled city, in electronic space
  • London: highest density of cctv in the world
  • will we decide to travel to areas based on the quality of electronic space
  • A new architectural language for electronic space
  • Houses without windows, just cameras. Can start to control life inside. Can also choose to use the weather channel as windows
  • Pay a fee for personal surveillance: ask them to watch you all the way to the supermarket.
  • The city of Yokohama was brought down by the coming of age party for 40,000 teenagers: the networks were overloaded with messages, because the teenagers didn’t want to talk face to face.
  • Palm trees as cell towers (seen in south africa)
  • Looked at a community in Hackney that were campaigning to not have a cell phone tower.
  • Designed a house for them that would shield them from the signals, but they would have to give up cell phone connectivity. Designed it so that windows would open and close based on calls being made, or would give them 10 minute windows in which to make calls every 2 hours.
  • Digital shelter: stand inside the line

    Round up

  • These presentations all use the strategy of showing ‘hypothetical products’ that are really non-products. They are doing this, rather than providing platforms or design methodologies, or distributing resources and infrastructures for people to design their own systems. I understand the need for designers as visionaries, but this could be made more valuable and useful.
  • specialists in electronic space could be similar to lighting design specialists in the ‘70s. Will grow into a general field of understanding.
  • Platforms and inftrastructure for technology is beyond architects, but understanding of the use and consequences is really important.

    Session 4

    Jocko Weyland

  • Skateboarding as adaptive design: difference between skate parks and the street, skate parks become designed over time to mimic certain aspects of streets, but also according to innate, human skaters needs. A combination of factors go into making a good skateboarding space: free, alcohol, quality, location.

    Swoon

  • New to NY: wanted to work outside gallery space, was inspired by collage of city streets. Not from a graffiti background, being a female, can do certain things outside the norms of graffiti.
  • Changes billboards during the day, looks official.
  • Open democratic visual space
  • a visual direct democracy…
  • Cuba used to have street art as a means of free expression, but outlawed by dictatorship
  • Makes lightboxes with imagined cities, and mounts on the reverse side of construction site walls, with peepholes ‘peer here’
  • Interesting mix of opportunism and ‘designed intervention’
  • Sometimes driven purely by visual interest.

    Michael Rakowitz

  • Mike Davis: Public is phantom
  • Bedouin as a model of sustainable nomadic communities
  • Homeless use waste air from air conditioning (airvac exhaust ports) to stay warm and dry
  • Homeless have receded to the peripheral vision of the public. Want to see and be seen.
  • Seeing is important for living nomadically in the city.
  • Started to map the heat and the power of the exhaust fans in the city. Found a high one at MIT plasma lab.
  • Re-routed smell from from a bakery to an art gallery, to subvert a ‘high art’ re-appropriation of space

    Workshop ‘Loop City’

  • Dietmar Offenhuber & Sara Hodges
  • Showed Rybczynski’s film New Book using 9 frames: a good way of mapping space in the city. Starts off and the viewer is not sure if each frame is occurring synchronously, or in the same space, but a bus passes between all of the frames and the spatial link is made immediately. There is also a point where a plane flies overhead and all the actors look up: showing time synchronicity too.

    Looking at the city

  • as a set of repeated actions
  • as a playground: situationists
  • as a balance of social as well as physical architectures

Mobile social software applications

Jabberwocky / Familiar Strangers

This research project explores our often ignored yet real relationships with Familiar Strangers. We describe several experiments and studies that lead to a design for a personal, body-worn, wireless device that extends the Familiar Stranger relationship while respecting the delicate, yet important, constraints of our feelings and relationships with strangers in pubic places.

Encounter bubbles

A visualization tool based on Mobster that enables users to explore their social encounters in new ways. Designed to be an open framework on which locative (meaning location-based) networking applications can be built.

TraceEncounters

A social network tracking and visualization project. The project distributes a set of small stickpins, each of which uses limited-rage infrared data exchange to remember every other pin that it encounters. When pin wearers come to a central location to view the accreting network, they see a thousand circles on a plasma display panel, each representing a pin.

Fluidtime

The first of these services is aimed at public transport users in Turin. While on the move, travellers can find dynamic information on mobile screen-based devices while at home or at the office, people can find the same information on physical display units. The other service is a personalised and flexible scheduling system to help Interaction-Ivrea students organise shared laundry facilities; mobile and stationary tools give them constant updates about the progress of their laundry cycle.

Mobster

Affords the social creation and excavation of proximity history. At its core is a simple question: Who was near who when? Software on users’ mobile devices (laptops, cell phones, PDAs) monitors the presence of nearby devices (Wi-Fi hotspots, cell towers, Bluetooth devices), from which Mobster infers historical proximity models. We call these sociospatial histories.

WiFi Bedouin

Expanding the possible meaning and metaphors about access, proximity, wireless and WiFi. This access point is not the web without wires. Instead, it is its own web, an apparatus that forces one to reconsider and question notions of virtuality, materiality, displacement, proximity and community.

Tuna

A mobile wireless application that allows users to share their music locally through handheld devices.

Jukola

An interactive MP3 Jukebox device designed to allow a group of people in a public space to democratically choose the music being played. A public display is used to nominate songs which are subsequently voted on by people in the bar using networked wireless handheld devices.

Mamjam

One of the first location-based instant messaging platform for mobile phones. Asks the user to input location, and then creates links to others in the same space. (Case study here)

Dodgeball

Tell us where you are and we’ll tell you who and what is around you. We’ll ping your friends with your whereabouts, let you know when friends-of-friends are within 10 blocks, allow you to broadcast content to anyone within 10 blocks of you or blast messages to your groups of friends.

BEDD

A Bluetooth-enabled mobile social medium that allows people to meet, interact and communicate.

BuzZone

Using Bluetooth-enabled laptops and PDAs to find new contacts, communicate over small distances, and share information related to their business.

TxtMob

A service that lets you quickly and easily share txt messages with friends, comrades, and total strangers. The format is similar to an email b-board system. You can sign up to send and receive messages from various groups, which are organized around a range of different topics.

IcyPole

Uses Bluetooth to detect the proximity of other devices and determine whether there is a match between users’ entertainment profiles. The application can be used as a platform for personal area network music discovery, file exchange and/or sampling, as well as for social networking based on similar entertainment interests.

Peepsnation

Enables users to connect with others with a similar interest that meet your filter criteria using user-definable groups tied to a specific location.

Proxidating

Using bluetooth technology, ProxiDating allows you to meet people with common interests.

Plazes

Plazes is a web service offering information on people and places based on your location. It enables you to tag your location and announce it to your friends or the world. You can find other Plazes in your vicinity or see where your friends are at the moment. It also allows you to see other people you do not know yet at the same Place.

Plink mobile

A ‘people search engine’ and social networking application. You can search for friends, see who they know and who knows them, find people with shared interests. Can use an SMS interface in the UK.

Saw you

Saw-You allows u 2 chat 2 people who go to the same social venues you do on your mobile phone. U don’t see their number and they don’t see yours.

Mobule serendipity

An application for mobile phones that can instigate interactions between you and people you don’t know. A profile, along with your mobile phone provide a connection a community of people around you.

Who at

Lets you find dates and friends anywhere, anytime. Tell WhoAt where you are and we tell you who’s nearby – all from your mobile phone, PDA, or PC.

Hocman

We have performed an ethnographic study that reveals the importance of social interaction, and especially traffic encounters, for the enjoyment of biking. We summarized these findings into a set of design requirements for a service supporting mobile interaction among motorcyclists.

ImaHima

The Japanese expression for “are you free now?”. A mobile, location-integrated, community and instant messaging service allowing users to share their current personal status (location, activity, mood) publicly and privately with their buddies and send picture and instant messages to them.

Socialight

A location-aware mobile social networking platform that allows people to connect with their friends and friends of friends in new, expressive ways.

Socializer

A distributed, peer-to-peer platform that connects a person to people and services in the same location. An open, extensible platform. New features can be developed and propagated by an open-source community running on wired as well as wireless networks.

Aware

A flexible platform that operates a spatio-temporal moblog (mobile log) allowing collective contribution and distribution of media. Considering scalable systems, comprehensive and inclusive models for participation, the project has focused upon how to communicate context-awareness, mobile experience, and its narrative potential.

Meetup

A technology platform and global network of local venues that helps people self-organize local group gatherings on the same day everywhere.

Modus

Music in a venue should reflect the taste of the people in that space, not the owner of the jukebox or the people working behind the bar. What if a jukebox allowed people to add their own music or could help you remember what was played at a particular time? What if the box was aware of who was in the room and could queue up your favorite songs as you walked through the door?

Traces of fire

Transmitters, embedded in cigarette lighters deliberately lost in carefully chosen pubs, illuminate the social relationships underlying daily habits of travel, entertainment and (nicotine) gifting.

Ashphalt games

An Internet-enhanced street game in which players stage and document small interventions or “stunts” on the street corners of New York in order to claim turf on a virtual map of the city. The game is an experiment in collectively reimagining commonplace views of New York. By providing an online counterpart to the urban environment, it allows players to share their visions of the city with others.

Crowd surfer

Enables a user to surf for other Bluetooth devices and get in contact with them, primarily designed for a campus environment.

Pocket rendezvous

A web server for the Pocket PC that advertises itself to other Pocket PCs in the neighbourhood wirelessly using ad-hoc WiFi networks and Rendezvous.

Meetingpoint

A contact/messaging application using Bluetooth wireless technology. Runs on Smartphones/PDA or PC and helps people to meet in mobile situations.

Activematch

Enables users to find their ‘ideal partner’ on the spot (unity of time and venue). Works in any GPRS network and on all mobile phones with Symbian OS and Nokia’s Series 60 platform.

Urban Plexus

Cell phone software that enables Members to communicate with others, blog, chat in forums, file share, publish events, locate others, buy & sell, geo-tag locations and play games.

nTag (Research)

An event communications system using wearable computers that improve networking among event participants while streamlining event management.

Playtxt

A mobile location based friendship and flirting network. Built with a mobile messaging engine, it offers full web integration and dating, flirting and friends networking capabilities, including six degrees of seperation, all mobile enabled.

Mtone

A social networking multi-user game “Cell Phone” is based on the popular Chinese movie of the same name. This comedy movie was directed by one of China’s best known directors, Feng Xiaogang. Customers play this multi-combining romance and SMS and MMS.

Tagtext

Download pictures, wallpapers, screensavers and avatars to use for Bluejacking.

Bluetooth against Bush

Uses bluetooth enabled devices (mobile phones, PDA’s, laptop computers) to create moments of ad-hoc solidarity for people opposed to George W. Bush.

Wavemarket

A suite that can turn a mobile phone user into an on-location broadcaster. You can add information and commentary about restaurant reviews to safety tips. You can find a buddy, or track a truck, inspect a neighborhood for real estate or child safety. It’s good for both social and business and it puts the power of blogging technology into the hands of the masses.

Spatial annotation projects

Yellow Arrow

Image from Yellow Arrow project.

Murmure

An archival audio project that has collected stories set in specific locations throughout Vancouver’s Chinatown. At each of these locations, a murmur sign marks the availability of a story with a telephone number and location code. By using a mobile phone, people can listen to the story of that place while engaging in the full physical experience of being there. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.

Area Code

Invites you to collect and reflect upon your immediate environment, and enables new forms of engagement and information exchange between person and place. Areacode aims to inspire comments about the affect of urban regeneration in the city.

Yellow Arrow

A physical sticker allows people to mark places of interest, then tell a story about it using a photographic record.

Grafedia

Grafedia is hyperlinked text, written by hand onto physical surfaces and linking to rich media content – images, video, sound files, and so forth. It can be written anywhere – on walls, in the streets, or in bathroom stalls. Grafedia can also be written in letters or postcards, on the body as tattoos, or anywhere you feel like putting it. Viewers “click” on these grafedia hyperlinks with their cell phones by sending a message addressed to the word + ”@grafedia.net” to get the content behind the link.

The Blue Plaque project

Collect all of the plaques in London, and then to put the people and events they commemorate in context – with their time, their contemporaries, and location.

Implementation

Implementation begins as sheets of stickers, with a different text on each sticker. We will distribute these sheets to individuals, both personally and via post. Instructions, asking people to peel the stickers off and place them in an area viewable by the public, will accompany the sheets.

Talking street

Using everyday technologies, like your own cell phone, Talking Street offers new ways to explore a destination. It’s having an ultra-savvy resident show you around—a guide who can reveal what a place is really like, and how it got that way.

The intelligent street

The intelligent street will enhance the experience of users in both locations by creating a gentle sonic playground that reflects the cultures of its users, entertain and act as a talking point. Users will be able to interract by sending SMS messages from their mobile phone. A display in each location and on the web will give optional information about how users are engaging.

Neighbornode

Group message boards on wireless nodes, placed in residential areas and open to the public. These nodes transmit signal for around 300 feet, so everyone within that range has access to the board and can read and post to it.

TAG: Scripting Presence

The inundation of consumer and mass media advertisements has eroded the presence of the individual within the city. In my thesis, I will explore how we can reclaim our physical landscape by reinserting the individual through visual representation into her/his urban environment. My intent is to create a momentary place to communicate messages of self-expression contributing to a network in which the next user can connect and experience.

R-Click

An area-information service from NTT DoCoMo incorporating mobile phones and a “wireless tag” device. A small, handheld RFID device will enable users to receive a wide variety of area information as they walk around the new metropolitan cultural complex of shops, restaurants, entertainment facilities, residences and hotels (Roppongi Hills).

Public Play Spaces

A platform for creative work exploring the playful, emotional and appropriate incorporation of technology into everyday public life. Drawing on our combined background in art, architecture, game and interaction design, the work focuses on developing both innovative design methods and experimental prototypes for social interventions in public space.

Trailblazer

A computer-mediated communication tool for supporting a virtual community. It attempts to integrate aspects of physical activity by community members in the real world into the virtual environment and to provide a structure for discourse around those activities.

34 North 118 West

Lets the user uncover samples of Los Angeles’s hidden history as s/he navigates through the multi-layered depths of downtown’s most poetic and surreal space. The result is a new kind of ‘scripted space’…

InterUrban

A user-driven experience that responds to participant’s amble through the city streets. Factors such as the distance traveled by the listener, time of day and proximity to fictive events, determine how the narrative unfolds.

Hidden natures

Location based narrative. Texts read by actors are the voices of the characters you hear as you walk through a space. A double headed arrow on the screen of your pocket computer (PDA) indicates the narrative direction – the future in one direction and the past another

Greyworld: Telescapes

Visitors discover a soundscape of messages left for them by both the artists and the public via voice and email. This interactive installation calls attention to how advances in cellular and wireless technologies contribute to the ubiquity of personal communications in public spaces, while illuminating the relationship between the built environment and the invisible networks that make these fleeting exchanges possible.

Geoloqus

Geoloq.us is a service that lets users leave behind memories, comments and digital artefacts in a physical location, for others to discover and enjoy. A cameraphone with a web browser is all you need to use geoloq.us; browse pictures from the place you’re at, comment a location or a picture and find out what’s nearby. Tag your items and surf those tags for similar items from other people in other places.

GeoNotes

Based on positioning technology, allows people to attach virtual notes to real world locations. When other people pass the location, they will be notified about the note and will be able to read it. GeoNotes allows mass-annotations with no or little restrictions on accessing others’ GeoNotes. It is also social in the way it incorporates social filtering techniques to sort out unwanted GeoNotes.

GeoStickies

An interactive public art project that enables us to make and access to collective of personal memory that could have been overlaid on to urban space. The project puts some “tags” of small events onto geographical fields so that the audience can feel correspondence between “Information space” and “Urban space”. The audience will find tiny electronic memorials for tiny events. But those are only visible or able to be experienced through mobile phones.

GeoGraffiti

To demonstrate the concept of waypoint sharing we have been developing a number of waypoint sharing applications. These applications access the waypoint lists for retrieval and storage of waypoint data and other accessory information, such as text, images, audio, video, or links to other information.

Digital Graffiti

The application allows mobile phone owners to send a message, similar to an SMS (Short Message Service), to a geographical point where it appears on the screens of other users passing through the defined location. Unlike an SMS, the message is not sent to a person but rather to a location, and can be received by a number of mobile phone users entering the defined radius.

Ambient Wood

An outdoor playful learning experience. Pervasive technologies are used to digitally augment a woodland in a contextually relevant way, enhancing the ‘usual’ physical experience available to children exploring the outdoor world. Studies show this to be a highly engaging novel experience for learners, that effectively supports collaborative learning, as well as providing preliminary guidelines for designing different ways of delivering digital information for learning.

Thingster

Lets you publish information about places. You can use thingster to discover things in your own neighborhood that might be interesting to you – and you can use thingster to publish information about things that you find interesting. Thingster also provides signalling and discovery services for discovering other nearby folks with interests similar to your own.

World-Wide Media eXchange

The project explores possibilities with digital photographs and geographic location. The location where a photo was taken provides clues about its semantic context and offers an intuitive way to index it, even in a very large collection. The combination is powerful, but still not supported well by either the photo-software or camera-hardware industries.

Mobile Media Metadata

Leverages the spatio-temporal context and social community of media capture to infer media content.

Altavistas

An experimental project to explore how physical and electronic spaces can be designed in conjunction with each other to provide new kinds of experience in the city.

mStory

A mobile mapping and recording system built for the PocketPC platform. It integrates GPS tracking technology with a set of diary-like recording features. mStory assign a variety of attributes to recorded locations, including photos, audio recordings, narrative descriptions and icons.

Katumuisti tositarinoita Helsingista [Street memories]

Personal local stories for public listening using mobile phones & billboard notices.

Interactive portrait of the Liberties

An interactive digital narrative application providing multimedia content to individuals and to groups, which is relevant to them at a particular point in time and space.

Section

A database video project, currently under development, that examines the embedded syntax of our routes through the city and challenges the mediated experiences of the urban environment through methods of collecting, editing and compositing video.

TRACE

A memorial environmental sound installation that is site-specific to the network of hiking trails near the Burgess Shale fossil beds in Yoho National Park, British Columbia.

Map Hub

MapHub is a web-based, multi-user, group managed information storage system and map. Collecting information about people, places, events, and notes, can help to document unseen narratives and histories in public or private theme-based Hubs.

Community Mapbuilder

Offers a range of resources to help organizations get started with standards-based online mapping. The main initial focus is creating an open source framework to allow communities to jointly build geographic databases and share them over the web.

Annotated multimedia Google map

This how-to will show you how to make your own annotated Google map from your own GPS data. Plus, you’ll be able to tie in images and video to create an interactive multimedia map.

City of memory

A narrative map of New York City that allows visitors to create a collective memory by submitting stories. Visitors link stories together by theme, creating new “neighborhoods” of narrative that can be explored by others. Stories can be recommended, giving new visitors a sense of the narrative created by the populace.

TeleTaxi

A site-specific media art exhibition in a taxicab. The taxi is outfitted with an interactive touch screen that displays video, animations, music, and information triggered by an onboard GPS receiver which allows the displayed artwork to change depending on where the taxi is in the city.

New York Songlines

By relying on maps, signs and Manhattan’s perpendicular geography, New Yorkers have given up something important: a sense of place. If you can get from your starting place to your destination without knowing anything about the points in between, chances are you won’t pay much attention to them.

Touch Tone Tours

Delivers tour guides of popular landmarks, museums, attractions and the unusual to wireless devices. More info.

Soundwalk

Sound recordings as guides to specific locations. Available as audio for sale or as downloaded format from Audible or iTunes.

Tag

A street activity proposed for the site of Times Square, NYC. Employing mobile phone text messaging, it focuses on increasing personal contribution and interaction to the experience of this public space. Individuals will participate with one another as they tag designated areas or “nodes?? by displaying their inscription.

Mogi

A collecting game ‘item hunt’. The game provides a data-layer over the city of Tokyo. As you move through the city, if you check a map on your mobile phone screen, you’ll see nearby items you can pick up and nearby players you can meet or trade with.

ASAP: another spatial annotation project

Allows you to visualize your location on a map, use a GPS unit (I use a GPS-based GPS device) to mark your coordinates (or just navigate the map to find your location – especially useful in cavernous cities like Manhattan), annotate that location by titling it and giving it a description, optionally adding an icon or snapping a digital picture with the attached camera.

Urban Tapestries

A research project exploring social and cultural uses of the convergence of place and mobile technologies.

HyConExplorer

HyCon is a framework and infrastructure for context aware hypermedia systems developed primarily by the hypermedia group at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. The HyCon framework encompasses annotations, links, and guided tours associating locations and RFID- or Bluetooth-tagged objects with maps, Web pages, and collections of resources. The HyCon architecture extends upon earlier location based hypermedia systems by supporting authoring in the field and by providing access to browsing and searching information through a novel geo-based search (GBS) interface for the Web.

Herecast

Provides location-based services on a WiFi device. At its simplest level, it can tell you where you are. More advanced services can use your location to enhance information lookups, publish presence information and create games.

Texting Glances

This ambient “waiting” game establishes a symbiotic relationship between a transient audience, a waiting place, and a story engine that matches SMS inputs to image output. By incorporating culturally current messaging norms, the audience becomes an active collaborating author in a layered exploration of social familiarity and public space.

Public alley 818

Creating and performing artworks in a public alley in Boston, MA, with work selected by participants in the space and online.

One block radius

Psychogeographic survey of one block in New York, building a multi-layered portrait of a particular part of the city.

Annotate space

A project to develop experiential forms of journalism and nonfiction storytelling for use at specific locations. Stories are presented through text, images and audio files that participants can download from the Web to their handheld computers and take with them to the place of interest.

Annotated Earth

The goal of AnnotatedEarth is to create a user-driven community of quality location and spatial information, a infrastructure for accessing that information, and software that uses that information to provide location-aware information.

Embedded Theatre

A system for creating immersive narrative experiences where location is an actor. It is the result of an intensive research and design project addressing how interactive narrative can be successfully realized through mobile technology.

Tag and Scan

London-based locational application and service for mobile telephones. The technology allows users to “tag” a physical locations, placing them into meaningful context. Tags can be private or public. Other TagandScan users can scan their environment for public tags left by others. TagandScan essentially enables the community to annotate its physical features.

Spotcode

Each Spot is a circular symbol that holds data like a two dimensional bar code. Users of the latest camera phones point their phone at the Bango Spot circular symbol, click and the mobile site opens on their phone in a matter of seconds.

PDPal

A mapping application that transforms everyday activities and urban experiences into a dynamic city that you write. Engages the user through a visual transformation that is meant to highlight the way technologies that locate and orient are often static and without reference to the lively nature of urban cultural environments.

AmbieSense

Context-sensitive technology based on the use of context tags. These small electronic tags are a means of capturing and communicating information about the surroundings.

Hypertag

A commercial service allowing access to info and content on a mobile phone directly from objects like adverts and signs. It works by allowing infra-red mobile phones, and PDAs (e.g. Palm Pilots or Pocket PCs) to interact with a small electronic tag which is attached to the advert or sign.

Pathalog

Exploring the ability of a path-based publishing system, based upon GPS tracking technologies, to foster new relationships between communities of users and their environments.

Waveblog / Wavemarket

Three commercial platforms for location based services. You can add information and commentary about restaurant reviews to safety tips. Waveblog lets users upload blog-like information with geographic metadata.

Rabble

Rabble enables a new kind of self-expression that informs, entertains and connects people through the media they create. Create your channel and post location-based media – your favorite places, photos or an up-to-the-minute newsworthy event. It’s like putting virtual sticky notes on the world around you.

Earthcomber

Lets you connect with customers in a timely, efficient and positive way. By providing a direct match between a user’s favorite and something you offer, Earthcomber brings you to the customer’s attention. In multiple information screens, they can see what you offer and where you are on the map.

Timespots

Offers ‘location-based services’ on mobile devices (PocketPC/phones) enabling new uses of traditional travel and tourism services. We overcome current limitations (in reach of and access to information and services) by combining information and navigation services with communication services on one device.

Websigns

HP research labs. Using a handheld computer, cellular phone or other device, users can get information on the Web related to physical structures and objects in the immediate vicinity.

Microsoft Aura

The Advanced User Resource Annotation system (A.U.R.A.) is designed to provide the ability to access and author annotations on objects and places using machine readable tags. In our system, a user can associate text, threaded conversations, audio, images, video or other data with specific tags. Users can also review the tags and descriptions of the objects they have encountered and annotated in a custom web portal.

Active Campus

Community-oriented ubiquitous computing, exploring the problem and opportunity of sustaining community through mobile wireless technology. The two principal applications in operation are: ActiveCampus Explorer, which uses students’ locations to help engage them in campus life; and ActiveClass, a client-server application for enhancing participation in the classroom setting via small mobile wireless devices.

Mobile Augmented Reality Systems

Exploring the synergy of two promising fields of user interface research: Augmented reality, in which 3D displays are used to overlay a synthesized world on top of the real world, and mobile computing, in which increasingly small and inexpensive computing devices, linked by wireless networks, allow us to to use computing facilities while roaming the real world.

Living Memory LiMe

A network of augmented places within the local community which support the creation and meaningful distribution of informal content within that community. LiMe provides low-threshold interfaces in natural meeting and crossing points within that community, such as cafés and bus stops.

Location linked information

LLI is similar to augmented reality systems which overlay digital information on top of the physical world. Whereas augmented reality systems typically concentrate on solving the user interface problem, LLI attempts to solve the data access and search infrastructure issues. In LLI users navigate the physical world with a variety of XML-speaking devices, discovering and leaving “handles” to information nuggets.

MUD London

A kind of collaborative mapping project. it consists of geographical models which are represented as RDF graphs. you can wander round them, like a MUD or MOO, with a bot interface which you can use to create and connect new places.

Psychogeographical Markup Language

A protocol that can be used to capture meaningful psychogeographical [meta]data about urban space. PML is a unified system of classification that lurks behind the psychogeogram: the diagrammatic representation of psychogeographically experienced space.

Spatial Annotation with Locative Packets

An attempt to fuse powerful concepts of existential declaration (I am here experiencing this!) with networked social communication media. By mixing together a set of terms about space, time, description, social relationship, and media, the locative packet project has described a unique ether over which one form of collaborative map can travel.

Wooster Collective

Huge archive of street artists work, techniques, interviews, and guides.

Here I am only including projects that mark space, not mobile social software or dynamic gaming, smart-mobs, friend-finders or GPS drawing projects, although I have included a couple of spatial platforms, that aim to standardise the way we mark-up space.

Public markup

I have made a selection of research images over at Flickr, and more of the text and research will be online soon.

Creative Crossings workshop

Some of our ambitions were:

  • Investigate transformative use of space and place
  • Address gaps in infrastructure: access to standards, material frameworks and technology
  • Instigate a triangular network: tried and trusted network practice
  • Pursue research and practice, less engineering
  • Explore relationships between media, gaming, locative, mobile, visual media

    Anne Galloway has posted our collaborative summaries from the workshop and my full notes are here, until they can be put on the collective server.

    The discussion is continuing, and the next informal meeting of participants is happening at ISEA 2004.

    Some pictures
    Creative Crossings workshop: Graham Harwood and Michelle Kasprzak
    Creative Crossings workshop: Jo Walsh and Gabe Sawhney
    Creative Crossings workshop: Rachel Baker and Tapio Makela on the 19 bus
    Creative Crossings workshop: Tapio Makela on the 19 bus
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea

Urban GPS experience

It’s possible to use the GPS Map 60c in an old Marimekko bag in a mobile phone pocket just small enough that the aerial sticks out. In this way it can be placed in windows of buses or cars without it sliding around, and I can walk around without looking like a geek or getting mugged.

Rendered trail of three months walking in Oslo

Problems

In short, GPS doesn’t work well in dense urban environments like most European cities. This is from the perspective of a pedestrian confined to the pavements (sidewalks) and public transport. From a few experiences whilst being driven around, it seems to work well in a car, probably because of the clear sky area available in the middle of the road. Inclement weather and green trees also seem to be problematic.

In these last few months, attempting to record a good quality database of tracks to geo-locate my photographs, I must have looked really odd. Face in device, stopping on street corners, stopping in the middle of street crossings and scrambling to grab the front seat of the bus. Discovering that GPS doesn’t just passively work is a great disappointment and my dataset is clouded with gaps and anomalies.

Some other observations

  • Fast turns when using public transport or car result in wild deviations: re-aquiring satellites is the problem
  • Need a road that aligns with at least 4 satellites to get an acceptable track, anything else and the errors can accumulate
  • Glass buildings can result in ‘reflections’ of position, eg jumping to other locations due to reflected signals
  • I sit on the outside or front of buses: to get a wider expanse of sky area: I am constantly aware of sky cover
  • The relative position of satellites is beginning to have an effect on the side of the street that I walk on
  • Walking in the middle of the street: had a couple of near misses with cars – the moving map is just too engaging
  • I would like an explanation of the lost track calculations: this device seems to use the last-known bearing and velocity to guess new tracks when the signal fails. This is very unreliable and problematic as it fills the map with phantom trails
  • The track can be more useful over time than the (base) map: it shows my personal space and personal routes, I know where I have been and can use it to retrace routes or places. Popular routes build up in blackness and thickness. Home area becomes an abstract scatter plot of routes, but it’s very familiar
  • Stored waypoints are really useful for getting large, general bearings on location: zooming out and seeing a relationship to two known landmarks can be really useful in an unknown area

    Rendered trail of two weeks walking and public transport in London

    GPS receiver resting on the top deck of the number 4 bus, London

    GPS receiver in the window of a train, Oslo

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