Mobile computing provides a new dimension in communication and access to data resources that is transforming the way people use information and interact in physical space. The rapid acceptance of these technologies by the public presents researchers with opportunities to develop systems that support social interaction and spatial navigation in unprecedented ways. This research presents a paradigm for negotiating physical space as influenced and supported by information from the virtual. It is proposed that the system allows users to traverse their environments in a more spontaneous and serendipitous manner than possible with existing navigational systems.
We are accustomed to seeing physical spaces enhanced with localized information. Signposts and street numbers assist in locating ourselves in space and help us conduct physical search. Our physical location is a very powerful indicator of the kinds of information we need access to at any given point in time. Location-based information systems connect items of information to a particular coordinate in physical space. At a later time, users are able to access this information (e.g., text, images, URLs, videos) with a mobile device, thus achieving some level of contextual awareness of location (Burrell & Gay, 2002; Espinoza, Persson, Sandin, Nyström, Cacciatore & Bylund, 2001; Rantanen, Oulavirta, Blom, Tiita & Mantylä, 2004; Williams, Jones, Wood & Fleuriot, 2006). As this system becomes more commonplace, a further level of context awareness must be implemented to save users from informational overload. This could be achieved by invoking user identity as a filtering device. Espinoza, et al. (2001) suggest a method of enhancing access to digital information spaces by filtering information through the matching of a user’s history to that of other users. This can be done with a recommender system.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Mashup: A hybrid application characterized by its many layers of information.
Google Maps: Satellite images of the earth at various levels of zoom available online at http://maps.google.com .
API: Application Programming Interface, a source code interface that a computer system or program library provides to support requests for services to be made by a computer program (Wikipedia).
GPS: Global Positioning System, a satellite-based navigation system providing exact longitude and latitude information to users with the receiving device.
Recommender systems: A technique for information filtering based on user profile data.