A Visual Approach to Locative Urban Information

A Visual Approach to Locative Urban Information

Viktor Bedö (University Pécs, Hungary)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-152-0.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter contributes to the ongoing effort to understand the nature of locative urban information by proposing that locative urban information is a kind of problem that necessitates the use of visual instruments, such as maps integrated into spatial annotation systems. The thesis is that the dynamics of the movement and behavior of messages appearing, disappearing, and spreading on the urban maps provide clues as to what extent a specific type of information is dependent on urban space for context, i.e., its level of location-sensitivity. A parallel is drawn between the interpretation of dynamic patterns appearing on urban maps and scientific discovery supported by the use of visual instruments. In order to illustrate how the question of locativity arises when developing technologies for urban life, a short examination of BlueSpot, a locative media project in Budapest, is provided.
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Background

The question, “If most people are only tourists for about two weeks of the year, what location-sensitive services are being devised for the other fifty weeks?” (Giles, & Thelwall, 2006, p. 9) bridges at least two of the larger research fields: Mobile Studies4 and Locative Media. As the research series in Mobile Studies suggests, while networked ICT devices liberate community formation and the flow of knowledge from geographical space (Meyrowitz, 2005), information of a primarily practical nature transmitted by mobile communication remains situation- and location-sensitive (Nyíri, 2003). Locative media projects originating from new media arts, address a very similar concern as:

Locative media may be understood to mean media in which context is crucial, in that the media pertains to specific location and time, the point of spatio-temporal ‘capture’, dissemination or some point in between. The term “locative media” initially appeared (...in 2003...) as a tentative category for new media art that sought to explore the intersection of the virtual space of the Internet with (...) physical space. (...) The term locative media has (...) been associated with mobility, collaborative mapping, and emergent forms of social networking. (Hemment, Evans, Humphries, & Raento, 2006)

Mapping issues in locative media refer on the one hand to tracing people, information and objects (OpenStreetMap5) and on the other hand, to spatial annotation and geotagging (Plazes, denCity, Urban Tapestries)(cf., Tuters, & Varnelis, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Studies: is a term coined in 2006 by the Hungarian research team Communications in the 21st Century, who conduct humanities and social science research into the impact of mobile communication on human thinking and social life (Nyíri, 2007, p.11). With the involvement of international academics, research has been pursued since 2001 in Hungary within the framework of the project, conducted jointly by T-Mobile Hungary and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. URL: http://socialscience.t-mobile.hu/

Locative Information: is a term derived from locative media. As locative media pertains to a specific location and time (Hemment, 2006), locative information can be interpreted in the context of a concrete place at a concrete moment in time, or its relevance is a function of the concrete situation.

BlueSpot: is a Budapest-based locative media experiment initiated by the interdisciplinary research team, the Emergent City Action Group. The Bluetooth hotspot-based platform allows users to address messages to places in the city using their Bluetooth and Java enabled mobile phones. URL: http://bluespot.hu/.

Hybrid Urban Space: refers to the condition of urban space where the use of mobile communication technologies merge the borders between physical and digital space and create a hybrid space (De Souza e Silva, 2006). The hybrid urban space also results in a new cartographic paradigm (Kitchin, 2007).

Spatial Annotation Systems: refer to systems which allow users to associate messages or any information with places in geographical space via computers or mobile communication devices such as PDAs or mobiles. Depending on the system used, the location to which a message will be attached can be either selected manually on a map or supported by locating services, for example, based on GPS or mobile cell information.

Urban Self-Organization: is a term derived from the natural sciences. The analogy of biological self-organization applied to urban structures became widely recognized through Jane Jabobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities in the 1960s (Jacobs, 1960). Self-organization means that the entities of a system interact with each other in such a way that order emerges without central control.

Context Awareness,: besides recognizing and taking into account factors defining a situation such as people, roles, activities, times, places, devices, and software, also refers to imbuing meaning, based on these factors (Vian, 2006). Location in urban space, for example, can provide a context that facilitates the interpretation of locative information.

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Anthony Townsend
Preface
Marcus Foth
Acknowledgment
Marcus Foth
Chapter 1
Amanda Williams, Erica Robles, Paul Dourish
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Urbane-ing the City: Examining and Refining the Assumptions Behind Urban Informatics
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Chapter 2
Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi, Adam Greenfield
Once a city shaped by the boundary conditions of heavy industrialisation and cheap labour, within a few years Seoul has transformed itself to one of... Sample PDF
To Connect and Flow in Seoul: Ubiquitous Technologies, Urban Infrastructure and Everyday Life in the Contemporary Korean City
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Chapter 3
Nancy Odendaal
Recent literature on African cities examines the way in which social networks function as critical livelihood arteries in the ongoing survival... Sample PDF
Creating an Analytical Lens for Understanding Digital Networks in Urban South Africa
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Chapter 4
Wayne Beyea
Community planning is facing many challenges around the world, such as the rapid growth of megacities as well as urban sprawl. The State of Michigan... Sample PDF
Place Making Through Participatory Planning
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Chapter 5
Mike Ananny, Carol Strohecker
In this paper, we describe the design and installation of a new kind of public opinion forum—TexTales, a public, large-scale interactive projection... Sample PDF
TexTales: Creating Interactive Forums with Urban Publics
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Chapter 6
Jenny Preece
This chapter describes a small networked community in which residents of an apartment building in Washington, D.C., USA supplement their... Sample PDF
An Event-Driven Community in Washington, DC: Forces That Influence Participation
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Chapter 7
Fiorella De Cindio
After more than a decade of e-participation initiatives at the urban level, what remains obscure is the alchemy—i.e., the “arcane” combination of... Sample PDF
Moments and Modes for Triggering Civic Participation at the Urban Level
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Chapter 8
Michael Veith
Societies face serious challenges when trying to integrate migrant communities. One-sided solutions do not pay tribute to the complexity of this... Sample PDF
Fostering Communities in Urban Multi-Cultural Neighbourhoods: Some Methodological Reflections
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Chapter 9
Victor M. Gonzalez, Kenneth L. Kraemer, Luis A. Castro
The practical use of information technology devices in domestic and residential contexts often results in radical changes from their envisioned... Sample PDF
Beyond Safety Concerns: On the Practical Applications of Urban Neighbourhood Video Cameras
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Chapter 10
Colleen Morgan
This chapter explores how we may design located information and communication technologies (ICTs) to foster community sentiment. It focuses... Sample PDF
The Figmentum Project: Appropriating Information and Communication Technologies to Animate Our Urban Fabric
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Chapter 11
Barbara Crow, Michael Longford, Kim Sawchuk, Andrea Zeffiro
The Mobile Media Lab (MML) is a Canadian interdisciplinary research team exploring wireless communications, mobile technologies and locative media... Sample PDF
Voices from Beyond: Ephemeral Histories, Locative Media and the Volatile Interface
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Chapter 12
Helen Klaebe
This chapter defines, explores and Illustrates research at the intersection of people, place and technology in cities. First, we theorise the notion... Sample PDF
Embedding an Ecology Notion in the Social Production of Urban Space
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Chapter 13
Vassilis Kostakos, Eamonn O’Neill
In this paper, we describe a platform that enables us to systematically study online social networks alongside their real-world counterparts. Our... Sample PDF
Cityware: Urban Computing to Bridge Online and Real-World Social Networks
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Chapter 14
Katharine S. Willis
In our everyday lives, we are surrounded by information which weaves itself silently into the very fabric of our existence. Much of the time we act... Sample PDF
Information Places: Navigating Interfaces between Physical and Digital Space
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Chapter 15
Viktor Bedö
This chapter contributes to the ongoing effort to understand the nature of locative urban information by proposing that locative urban information... Sample PDF
A Visual Approach to Locative Urban Information
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Chapter 16
Tristan Thielmann
Car navigation systems, based on “augmented reality,” no longer direct the driver through traffic by simply using arrows, but represent the... Sample PDF
Navigation Becomes Travel Scouting: The Augmented Spaces of Car Navigation Systems
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Chapter 17
Daisuke Tamada
A lot of street view services, which present views of urban landscapes, have recently appeared. The conventional method for making street views... Sample PDF
QyoroView: Creating a Large-Scale Street View as User-Generated Content
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Chapter 18
Hideyuki Nakanishi, Toru Ishida, Satoshi Koizumi
Many research projects have studied various aspects of smart environments including smart rooms, home, and offices. Few projects, however, have... Sample PDF
Virtual Cities for Simulating Smart Urban Public Spaces
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Chapter 19
Andrew Hudson-Smith
Digital cities are moving well beyond their original conceptions as entities representing the way computers and communications are hard wired into... Sample PDF
The Neogeography of Virtual Cities: Digital Mirrors into a Recursive World
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Chapter 20
Laura Forlano
This chapter introduces the role of community wireless networks (CWNs) in reconfiguring people, places and information in cities. CWNs are important... Sample PDF
Codespaces: Community Wireless Networks and the Reconfiguration of Cities
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Chapter 21
Katrina Jungnickel, Genevieve Bell
From WiFi (802.11b) with its fixed and mobile high-speed wireless broadband Internet connectivity to WiMAX (802.16e), the newest wireless protocol... Sample PDF
Home is Where the Hub Is? Wireless Infrastructures and the Nature of Domestic Culture in Australia
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Chapter 22
Andres Sevtsuk
This chapter presents the iSPOTS project, which collects and maps data of WiFi usage on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in... Sample PDF
Mapping the MIT Campus in Real Time Using WiFi
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Chapter 23
John M. Carroll
We discuss the vision, plan, and status of a research project investigating community-oriented services and applications, comprising a wireless... Sample PDF
Supporting Community with Location-Sensitive Mobile Applications
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Chapter 24
Christine Satchell
Early 21st century societies are evolving into a hybrid of real and synthetic worlds where everyday activities are mediated by technology. The... Sample PDF
From Social Butterfly to Urban Citizen: The Evolution of Mobile Phone Practice
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Chapter 25
Jong-Sung Hwang
u-City is South Korea’s answer to urban community challenges leveraging ubiquitous computing technology to deliver state-of-the-art urban services.... Sample PDF
u-City: The Next Paradigm of Urban Development
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Chapter 26
Dan Shang, Jean-François Doulet, Michael Keane
This chapter examines the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in urban China, focusing mainly on their impact on social... Sample PDF
Urban Informatics in China: Exploring the Emergence of the Chinese City 2.0
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Chapter 27
Francesco Calabrese
The real-time city is now real! The increasing deployment of sensors and handheld electronic devices in recent years allows for a new approach to... Sample PDF
WikiCity: Real-Time Location-Sensitive Tools for the City
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Chapter 28
Eric Paulos, RJ Honicky, Ben Hooker
In this chapter, we present an important new shift in mobile phone usage—from communication tool to “networked mobile personal measurement... Sample PDF
Citizen Science: Enabling Participatory Urbanism
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Chapter 29
Mark Shepard
What happens to urban space given a hypothetical future where all information loses its body, that is, when it is offloaded from the material... Sample PDF
Extreme Informatics: Toward the De-Saturated City
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Chapter 30
Roger J. Burrows
Is it still the case that one can symptomatically read the early work of the cyberpunk author William Gibson as a form of prefigurative urban theory... Sample PDF
Urban Informatics and Social Ontology
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