Meeting with PhD Advisor

Posted: August 28th, 2007 | No Comments »

Meeting to discuss my DEA thesis. We agreed that the focal point of my research shifted from uncertainty to granularity of location information. The first is a problem to solve (while sometimes being an opportunity), the latter is a source for interaction. In my model of the social-technical gap in location aware computing, I intend to define their relations. I hypothesize that uncertainty appears when a location system does not match the granularity of information expected by a user. So I keep the work I have done so far on the reactions (uncertainty) to fluctuating location information, and focus more on the factors influencing people to tune the information. This is what I need to further investigate in my ethno study of the taxi drivers (e.g. the funnel metaphor to access information, their use of neighborhoods, landmarks, addresses). Similarly with my Flickr study I could include the analysis of the textual description (i.e. tags) to understand how the users describe the granularity (for example: city -> landmark). Results of complete studies from different contexts could already be a nice outcome to define key aspect of human interaction with location information granularity in a mobile context. It could open the door to the definition of sub-issues (psycho, social, cultural, gender, …) that would be mostly outside of the scope of my thesis. No decisions have been made on further studies (let’s see what the outcomes of the 2 current studies), but we certainly don’t lack of ideas. The concept of granularity of location information is nothing new. However, it is worth revisiting it since “we use things that did not exist previously”.

As for the DEA thesis, he shared my mixed feelings. I believe I have not achieved a good breadth-depth ratio, trying to cover too many aspects of my research domain. Then I lacked of energy to argument the choice (why a mention to privacy? -> uncertainty as opportunity + studies in spatial cloaking) and linkage of the key concepts. However, I think the breadth of this initial scope will help me in the long run. We discussed that chapter 3 (literature review) was not well self-contained. That is that I did not argue enough for the choice of the topics, the perspectives I chose to cover them, and their relevance to my work. The last section (Discussion) clearly revealed that lack of connection between the concepts described and the future work. I should rewrite that part by focusing and arguing the key elements of my framework and their relations.

Relation to my thesis: Still not quite in the narrow part of the funnel… but working on it.