web analytics

— urbantick

Tag "location"

Gaming at large scale with the city as the play field has gathered pace with its community adapting new tools and technologies in the social networking domain. The likes of Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare are offering platforms additional gameplay ideas can extend upon.

In the past year or so a number of such a add ons to the Foursquare location based social networking platform have been developed.

Image taken from worldoffourcraft.com / At sign up choose your home team.

World of Fourcraft is a New York based game that uses a NYC as a battle ground for borough teams to battle the grounds and fight over ownerships for territories. It is based on Foursquare check-ins and with each check-in territory can be gained.

The players sign up via a Foursquare and choose the borough they want to play for. After that each check-in counts towards the boroughs count of check-ins in a particular area. The area belongs to the team with the most check-ins.

Image taken from worldoffourcraft.com / The battle map of World of Fourcraft NYC. The different colours indicate the borough ownerships.

You can always check the battle map to keep up to date on how the grounds are won and lost. Its a bit like the strategy game Risk where territories can be won in battle. On this one it would be great to see a timeLapse on how the game board has developed over the past few month. Check out more on Mashable.

Oust.me is a platform to transform your places and check-ins into territories and defend them against invaders. The platform is run by a small team based somewhere in the Slovenian region and draws location data from Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places.

Oust.me user Matija wrote a Short Guide how to build territory in 4 easy steps. You will need your mobile phone with your favorite check-in service: Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places, a pair of walking shoes and some time.

Check your neighborhood in Oust.me (if there is already any territory)
Be sure that distances fits into 2km area between two locations
Start walking (use sports-tracker app for measuring distance)
Check-in into the locations on your way – or create new interesting ones
Voila – you have a territory in Oust.me

Image by Matija taken from Oust.me blog / Creating a territory on Oust.me using Foursquare check-ins in four easy steps.

In this manner I created my territory around Gatwick Airport with some m20 checkpoints and a total area of 1.08 km2. Of course there are a handfull of people invading near, but Oust.me keeps me up to date on their moves and send me a message if they are invading my territory. I am not quite sure how exactly the shapes are created and sometimes they can have some detached extensions (like my Basel, Davidsboden territory), but generally the area looks pretty good.

Image by urbanTick / My territory of 1.08 km2 around Gatwick Airport created with about 20 check-in points and multiple check-ins.

Less of a game but a useful tool for gaming is the crosspost service. It offers to transfer your check-ins from one service to another. If you check-in to a location on Foursquare it will automatically be transfered to your Facebook Places and you are checked in there too. For the games platform this can be quite useful as you get double check-ins.

Enjoy the games, happy gaming. Also check out the earlier post on gaming, as forexample using London Oyster card data on Chromorama, Map Attack and Street Grab or Urban Defender and more.

Read More

Books still carry an aura of mistic knowledge only accessible to whom dares to move beyond the cover and through the sea of pages with waves of sentences down to the discovery of words.
There is only little the outsider can understand from a distance, it remains a mystery.

The best way to share the reading experience is by swapping and passing on books. It is more than a gift if a read book is shared it is a way of sharing the experience of the story and getting to know what someone else already knows.

Image taken from the Guardian Book Swap Flickr Group Pool / Garrards_road_streatham_london

Over the last weekend the Guardian and the Observer started a book swap project to share exactly these experiences. Book readers are asked to set out books into the wild, leaving it for someone else to pick up and read. The guardian has set up a Flickr group to document the locations and the books contributed. As an identification the news paper gave a way stickers to mark the books, making them identifiable. It also carries some basic information and instructions to promote the project. If you missed the paper with the sticker that was part of the issue over the last weekend you can download the sticker HERE.

It is not a l scale project. The headline reads Guardian launches national Book Swap with 15,000-volume giveaway. they are making a good initial effort to push the experiment to the edge of self sustaining, hopefully. This is the tricky part, with social media and crowd sourced projects it is never clear how much is beard and what exactly is needed to hook the critical mass. The setting however, looks promising with Twitter tied in via the tag #guardianbookswap.

Image taken from the Guardian Book Swap Flickr Group Pool / Dog and Fox.

Using social media with the integration of Flickr and Flickr map to visualising location, let’s the project tap into a vast resource and existing networking channels. The sticker also carries a QR tag making directly linking the physical object to virtual content.

TheGuardian sets out a few basic rules accompanying the projects. Key especially in the London context is the security issue in point number 5.

1. You can leave as many books as you like, just make sure they are your own
2. Make sure your book is clean and in good condition
3. Don’t leave inappropriate material where it can be found by children
4. Avoid places your book could be damaged by the weather
5. Make sure it won’t be seen as a security risk
6. Don’t leave it in book shops or libraries
7. Don’t put yourself or the finder of the book at any risk

Roald Dahl's Biography, part of the Guardian Book Swap
Image taken from the Guardian Book Swap Flickr Group Pool / Roald Dahl’s Biography.

This project is interesting in a number of ways especially also in terms of the timing. There is currently a heather discussion ongoing with a strong focus on London mainly furled by the Evening Standard as to how literacy of the young generation can be improved. Apparently the Evening Standard has identified a alarming low literacy amongst young people in the UK, especially in London and is now spearheading an initiative to poor in money to improve literacy in general. The can be and. Already have been of conures accused of making a lot of publicity and marketing with these initiatives (There was an earlier one this year from the Evening Standard focusing on poverty) and probably this is the case. More interesting is the way it is done and what it means for literacy and reading in general. Is it worth setting up initiatives that actually work in parallel to the education system, placing the efforts to increase literacy in competition?

The Guardian initiative is not to be seen in this corporate efforts of a literacy discussion. It is set as a program celebrating the joy of reading and sharing the texts. And it ties in with the ongoing push towards location based sharing, socialising and networking. The project celebrates the book as a medium, an analogue medium, that can, and has over centuries already enabled this sort of networking. The key here is that the focus is on the experience of reading and the social aspect of reading. To archive this the spatial dimension of reading is here the medium and highlight the public space as a shared space beyond traffic. It can also be a public space of imagination, discussion and statements.

Read More

To pick up on the topic discussed herre last week with the Wanderlust story app for location based narratives an other ‘Wanderlust’ interpretation using visual imagery or visual narratives possibly.

This one here is a visual version traveling through Central America, Europe, and New Zealand, bringing back a little of what they saw of very local stories and moments. As Thinklab, the creator of the clip puts it, it is inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s TED talk on the importance of time off. In this sense they packed the camera up and traveld the world, bringing back stories as a visual catalogue lining up stunning scenery, special moments and a melancholie that owes a lot to the soundtrack by Max Richter’s infra 1. It’s great to get out there, dreaming and being.

Read More

Memory has a lot to do with repetition. It is a lot easier to remember something if it is a repetitive element that fits whit in a chain of elements. The memory then can be constructed from bits of information along the chain, but without knowing all the exact detail of one element. This applies to actions that become routines because they have been repeated a great number of times in a relative short period of time but this also applies to larger or over a longer period of time stretching events. E.g. memorials or remembering days.
Longer time periods are very difficult for the human brain to structure. We quickly loose orientation and mix up events. Sequencing is here very helpful. To have a string type of aid to line up the events can keep the orientation. This is where the concept of the calendar comes in as a narrating tool to structure events in the past but also in the future. It provides the framework to organise on the basis of time.
However, there are other sources that can be used to aid orientation. For example photographs can be used as memory triggers. A photograph is much more than simply a flat image. Multiple layers are attached to it, including spatial, social and also temporal aspects. This is obviously related to events of the past, but the human brain is able to use these experiences to also project possible events in the future. For example a photograph of last years Christmas Party, triggers memories of this years party and raises expectations for next years big Christmas bash. This conception raises the question to what extend memory is linear and it could be argued, that remembering is not linear at all, but mainly a construction, usually along similar characteristics.
Nevertheless the overarching, accurate calendar system has completely penetrated our everyday life. Everything lines up with this framework and to a large extend our pocket diary is the only point of reference regarding temporal aspects of life. Of course nowadays it is most likely no longer a physical, paper version but rather some sort of software piece on one or all the gadgets in your bag. For a long time these softwares have simply imitated the paper version and only recently they start to develop individual characteristics and possibilities. Take for example dipity.com where events and objects are represented on a horizontal timeline. It will integrate with a lot of different media. not only does it contain text based notes with an assigned time but video, image, links and so on. You can even link a large variety of other sources of activity to it. This can be twitter, facebook, youtube, vimeo, flicker or any RSS source. This is pretty cool and I obviously fell in love with it immediately. Similar service offer friendFeed, daytum or plurk.com.
But it doesn’t stop here. Location is very 2009 and everything has to be tagged with at least a location. dipity is actually quite cleaver and tries automatically to identify the location of events and gets it pretty precise. Regarding location based memory you get a number of additional services such as brightkite but also twitter for example does include latLong now.
There is a large palette of accessible apps for everyone to store memories live and build up a pile of bites referring to your life.

Image by urbanTick – screenshot dipity

The University of Leeds runs a large scale project to collect memories and store them and make the accessible to researchers. The project is run by the School of Sociology and Social Policy under the title TimeScapes. It runs in connection with the BBC where you can find a dedicated page. Leeds runs a series of workshops and conferences on the topic. It seems that the main challenge is not to actually find the memory, rep. the participants to share the memory, but to store it. It requires a multimedia database and this is tricky and becomes even more difficult if it is opened to eternal researchers for data processing.
On the BBC website the memories are strictly presented along an overarching time axis. This seems very rigid and for a start excludes any of the non linear narratives between narratives discussed in the beginning.

Image by UrbanTick – screenshot MemoryShare

However, the obvious problem is how to combine multiple individuals’ memory in a nonlinear fashion. One way is the traditional concept of the calendar as discussed above and as the BBC uses it for the timeScape. Another option could be the locative data, this also provides a shared point of reference. A really interesting project here is the cityOfMemory.org, a web based memory project covering the New York area. Here the numerous memories are linked through the use of the map.

Image by urbanTick – screenshot cityofmemory

>Aldo Rossi “the museum of pain” in “What is to be done with the old cities?“ in Architectural Design no 55, 1989, p 19

Read More

Brightkite has something to offer. This was already clear after last weeks post about the service. But there is more coming! Only two days ago they have posted a preview of their next step. As you might guess it is AR based, but it looks brilliant and, get at least me very excited.
To see all the posts on top of the real world through the lens of the camera phone will be a brilliant use of the technology. You could call it state of the art. A lot of services have been announced lately, but this will take social networking on a next level. At the moment unfortunately it is only Android based, but should soon come to the iPhone too. It looks like the revamp has also brought along some more colours and hopefully an extended length of messages, was a bit limited so far. Have a look at the clip.

Brightkite Augmented Reality from Brightkite on Vimeo.

We just need A LOT more people here in London to use it to make it a lot of fun! So get your iPhones and Androids out and start using Brightkite to generate some content for this AR application!
They have teamed up with Layar for the AR stuff. The company has just release an API for their AR browser. This has opened the competition to become the AR browser of choice, as there are other companies in the same market. At the moment it is Layar and Wikitude, you guessed it, a Wikipedia project, but soon other companies will make theyr own API available. One of the will be Mobilizy, sheduled for next week.
Layar has the potential to become a major player, as there is already a lot of content available. Check their blog for examples and pretty clips.

Found trough GPSObsessed.com and Vimeo.

Read More

Google Latitude has featured here earlier; just short after it was launched earlier this year. Since then it has been rather quiet around the service, not only on this blog. There are a few comments after the launch and some first advise on how to use, implement and link it, but then that’s it. Regarding the users it is not quite sure on how many people actually use the service. There are probably more that have signed up for it, but do not use it regularly.
On the hardware side of it there are also a few problems and hurdles to take. On the iPhone it only runs inside the browser, as Apple has blocked the development of a standalone software in order to “protect” the Maps as the main navigation software. The other hurdle is that no software can run in the background on the iPhone.
On other handheld devices such as Android and BlackBerry, Google’s list here, it runs as a stand-alone application and can even run in the background.

Some services online now include Latitude in their signing up process, in order to provide the customers with accurate location based information. On of them is gps-tours, a website to share walks, hikes and climbing tours.

Since the launch of the service a lot of concerns have been raised. In general a large and loud group of people are very concerned about knowing or publishing a persons whereabouts. This not only includes Google Latitude, but location information in general. From GPS to RFID tags everything that could give away a person’s location. An example from politics.co.uk shows what the concerns a directed towards: “The dangers are obvious. Stalkers or violent husbands could surreptitiously find out someone’s location by throwing a phone in their car boot, for instance. Jealous lovers could install the software while their partner is taking a shower. Employers could force workers to use a Latitude-installed phone.” The main problem is really, that our location is already in the system. It is not so much about this one product, but rather towards a recent development in technology. Google is just a good target because of its size and popularity, but there are a lot of companies that track our movement and habits on a daily basis. In London for example TFL, Transport for London, knows the location roughly of hundred thousands of people, or financial institutes trough the use of ATMs even internet providers know roughly where the computer is located you are logging in and there are many more examples and of course speculations. All these information’s are not made public to our knowledge. Compared to this with Google Latitude there is the option to share this information with others. Google seems to have given some thought to these concerns prior to launching the service. They have taken a number of measures to help prevent “accidental” use or the use trough a third person, mainly trough integrating it into the Google services and therefore protecting it from third person access. But also by implementing a number of steps that lead to the activation of the service.

Image by UrbanTIck – Google Latitude screen on the iPhone

How ever for now I have my position on the blog for everyone who is interested. I have given this some thought over the past four years and I am not too concerned about people knowing my location. While working with GPS and tracking every now and then people would ask and laugh whether my wife has access to the data. These sorts of jokes are not only funny but reveal peoples concerns, in this case as stereotypes, but still people are thinking about it. I myself have never really seen the location information as a potential risk factor. Perhaps very naive I usually think of it in terms of my project, but also very personally as a statement of activity, a memory of reality in my daily world of computer, blog and internet.

Image by UrbanTIck – Google Latitude settings on the iPhone

How ever these concerns are real and have to be addressed. On the other hand people also have to learn to live with the use of this technology and adapt to the new implications of security. I am not saying we just have to accept this as is, but find ways to improve the situation.

On the other hand the actual location information trough the Google Latitude service is somewhat crude. I am not sure if this is only on the iPhone, but it is not very accurate. It is very slow too, in terms of response to movement. By only using the browser based service, my location in central London is generally 200 to 500 meters of. I have found that if I first open Maps and define the location, this is usually very quick and gives a good accuracy (sometimes a bit off the street inside a building, but all right) and then switch in to the browser the pinpoint is much better. Of course this is partly down to the settings to implement some privacy while public (how complicated is this).

An in detailed Latitude critique can be read at readwriteweb.com. As an opposition to the concerns raised on personal location information I would like to mention the large communities that are forming around the services to share location information. Google Latitude is by far not the only service available. There are a number of communities. And most of the applications are offering more option, control and supposedly fun than Latitude. In the earlier blog post services were Brightkite, Loopt or Pocket Life by Vodafone. They are still around and well used. Some offer now iPhone applications, but surprisingly some are paid apps. An additional service is the one of mapme.at. It does the same and it has a really cool time line feature, similar to the one in timemap developed at the MIT.
So to conclude there is a lot more out there than just the Google Latitude and I will have a closer look at these services soon.

Read More

This week I came across two campaigns that caught my interest because of their language of communication. I thought, wow, the topic now become very popular, if it is used in add campaigns.

One is an article on mens cloths in the latest edition of the GQ magazine, German edition (GQ, 2009, April) and it plays with the daily routine of working people in the city. The suite changes every day, but the location it everyday approximately the same. The story over five spreads implies that the guy is following a working week routine and passes this yellow hydrant in the morning on his way to work just before nine.
It is a brilliant setting for fashion and works very well. Although I think the photographer could have played a bit more with light and weather.

Images by GQ

It somehow reminds me of this 90ies hair conditioner add on TV, where the blond woman was portrayed on three different locations in three different weather conditions, but her hair stayed the same. I think it was a product by Schwarzkopf. A clip can be found here.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The other one is advertising UK holiday locations employing Google Earth style location data by enjoyEngland.com, found in the Guardian, Saturday 2009-04-04.
The story here is that on a satellite image sowing a costal town, presumably in the UK, specific locations are marked with information on activity and duration, very much like the UrbanDiary project. The arrangement is used to tell the story of one particular weekend trip, but stands for what you could do with your next weekend. It then also points out that there are 112 weekend and bank holiday days a year, presumably enough time for one or two such experiences… How did they calculate the amount of days of?


Images by enjoyengland.com

Read More

The MIT SESEABLEcity lab produced a clip of a visualization of geotagged Flickr photographs located in Spain. The visualization covers a time period of one year and gives a good impression of which spots get photographed by digital and web enthusiasts.

“(Un)photographed Spain maps thousands of these public, digital footprints over one year. As photos overlap in certain locations, they expose the places that attract the photographer’s gaze . In contrast, the absence of images in other locations reveal the unphotographed spaces of a more introverted Spain.” (by senseablecity on vimeo)

(un)photographed Spain from senseablecity on Vimeo.

Through digitalurban.blogspot.com

Read More