Granularity of Location Information, the Plazes Example

Posted: June 29th, 2007 | No Comments »

I like to introduce Plazes to highlight the importance of granularity in to communicate the timeliness and quality of location information.
Plazes Location Granularity
The now classic slide on “Location information granularity” with the Geneva airport in the Rhone river and me at the train station (while I took the screenshot in another city)

I might have to update my slides. The new version of Plazes came up with a “My World” view that (I think) has some intentions to take into consideration the granularity in space of the “trazes” I left recently. Drawing a circle is an obvious way to communicate the uncertainty in the location sighting (as modeled by Leonhardi and Rothermel).
plazes granularity
No recollection of a trip to the midwest…

Relation to my thesis: Collecting example of visualization location information granularity

Urban Sensors

Posted: June 29th, 2007 | No Comments »

Barcelona counts several spars flow sensors deployed on the city bike trails.

bike sensor
A bike counter in Barcelona
So far these data have been kept by urban planners away from the people who actually produce them. The emergence of “web of data” platforms such as freebase and geocommons offer the opportunity to use a new kind of urban data. I mentioned in a previous talk, using these systems to cross-linking official data with (explicit and implicit) citizen-generated digital footprints might produce an awareness on the pulse of a city valuable to both city planners and citizens (e.g. “my pulse in the city”).

Bottom Up Spatial Data
New sources of urban data

Relation to my thesis: Thinking on new sources of urban spatio-temporal data and how to deliver (with their imperfections) a global and individualized awareness to their “producers”,

Study on In-Vehicle Navigation System Usage and Driving Behavior Patterns

Posted: June 19th, 2007 | 1 Comment »

As part of the In-Car Computing Research led at the Mixed Reality Lab Nick Forbes performed a study on in-vehicle navigation system usage and driving behavior patterns. This works has some outcomes related to my current ethno study of taxi drivers’ use of navigation system:

Types of navigation system usage
Passive navigation system usage: the system mainly provides a sense of orientation and situation awareness.

Active navigation system usage: can be defined as occasions where the destination is entered. The system may provide routing advice, turn by turn guidance and traffic information.

Navigation mode and familiarity with environment
Previous research has shown that although navigation system users frequently use their systems in an active manner when travelling in unfamiliar environments, there is a clear tendency to use the system actively less frequently when travelling in familiar environments (where drivers have the benefit of local knowledge).

Navigation mode and familiarity with the system
The results also suggest a tendency for novice navigation system users to utilise full system functionality more often than experts while travelling in unfamiliar environments.

Maps and complacency
Only 15% of participants thought that routing instructions generated by their navigation systems were always completely reliable.

A follow-up longitudinal diary-based study should provide more qualitative and contextualized data.

via the Map Room

Less scientific, but still revealing to the study of in-vehicule navigation system usage, GPS Review reports on the large gaps in expectations of GPS devices from people shopping for GPS devices (a source of the social-technical gap in location-aware computing):

What I was most amazed about was how quickly their expectations of the device went from pure amazement of the moving map and being bewildered by the fact that the GPS has side streets to disappointment that not every POI was in the database and road changes just completed a few months before were not yet in the database.

Relation to my thesis: This work first provides some key references in psychology, hci and traffic and transportation I was definitively lacking. Then, previous works in that field seem to mainly rely on quantitative survey-based data. I see a niche to come up with in sitiu ethnographic observations that could bring other perspective to the domains of system usage, familiarity with the environment and familiarity wit the system. Moreover, the recalling mechanism might be easier for the user while being in the context of usage.

Presentation on the Contemporary Research in HCI

Posted: June 11th, 2007 | No Comments »

Slides (without notes) of a 1-hour lecture on the Contemporary Research in HCI I gave to students of the UPF Master Program in Information, Communication and Audiovisual Media Technologies. First, I briefly introduced the raison d’être of research in HCI, the methods applied in the field and the growing pains. Then, I categorized the current research areas by clustering the many paper tracks from this year’s CHI. The idea was to show the variety of the themes and exemplify the eclectic approaches in 4 arbitrarily picked tracks. I presented Y! Research’s work on understanding tagging behaviors, my research proposal in location-aware systems, Nicolas Ducheneaut‘s study of online gaming communities and the latest surface computing buzz (to reveal the importance of HCI research to balance with such technological breakthrough). I could have picked many other examples, but I intended to focus on the type of research that show a direct impact to design from the problem statement to the “product”. Finally, I mentioned a couple of themes (selfishly close to my interests) that might raise more attention in the future: the design for everyware, human-robot interaction and corporate ethnography.

Contemporary Hci Cover-1

Relation to my thesis: a healthy and fun to do exercise to describe my domain.