Locative Lab

researching locative media

The Energy Harvesting Dérive

The Energy Harvesting Dérive

Jean-Baptiste Labrune recently pointed me to this excellent overview of “Walking as art.” Here’s a new project to add to that list:

The Energy Harvesting Dérive turns the popular Heelys roller sneaker into a platform for generating electricity from human motion.


Electricity harvested from rolling powers a microcomputer and lcd display embedded on the shoe to deliver random directions for a pedestrian to follow. Arrows and text show up on the screen display telling the wearer which direction she should travel next — North, Northeast, Southwest, etc.

Depending on the speed of rolling, directions appears on the screen every 15 to 20 feet. They invite the wearer to follow a random zig-zaggy path that mimics in physical space the mathematical simulation of the random or drunkard’s walk. The design motivation behind the sneakers’ functionality is also informed by the Situationist practice of the dérive.

The addition of locative technologies such as GPS is feasible, but the intention of these shoes is rather to incite their users to get lost and explore territory outside of their typical transport routines. The shoes force their owner to make choices about whether or not to challenge urban obstacles or interrupt automobile traffic when instructed to move in seemingly hard to traverse directions. Participating in an Energy Harvesting Dérive thus fosters an exploration of the city and its flows. It reveals the impacts of urban planning decisions and encourages users to act out and playfully brainstorm alternative modes of transport and energy.

Besides, The Energy Harvesting Dérive, developed by Christian Croft & Kate Hartman, hopes to promote discussion in the realm of sustainable energy development and alternative transportation design.

Documentation about the making process.

The project will be presented at dorkbot NYc on September 5, 2007, at 7pm and during the Conflux Festival in Brooklyn on Sunday, September 16, 2007, 12:00pm — 5:00pm.

Related: Net_Dérive, the city as instrument.

More walking: the Walking Machine, Self-Sustainable Chair, Walking the Cabbage, Uniblow Outfits, the muk.luk.flux boots, etc.


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Getting to the bottom of the gPhone rumors

Getting to the bottom of the gPhone rumors

googlecelphone.gif Google is rumored to be developing its own, Linux-based operating system for the upcoming gPhone, according to several reports.

Some of the rumors may carry more merit than others, history has shown that when news picks up, something is on the way. And while it may not be launching as soon as some rumors claim, a 2008 launch may not be out of the question.

[via ars technica]

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Locative Media As Socialising And Spatializing Practice: Learning From Archaeology

Locative Media As Socialising And Spatializing Practice:
Learning From Archaeology

by Anne Galloway

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

7th Floor, Loeb Building

Carleton University

1125 Colonel By Drive

Ottawa, Ontario

Canada K1S 5B6

anne [@] plsj [dot] org

and Matt Ward

Design Department

Goldsmiths College

University of London

New Cross, London

SE14 6NW

United Kingdom

m [dot] ward [@] gold [dot] ac [dot] uk


everyday life, context, locative, technology,
design, hybridity, mapping, curation


Pervasive computing and locative media
are emerging as technologies and processes that
promise to reconfigure our understandings and
experiences of space and culture. With the critical
hand of material and cultural studies, we start
to shape questions about locative media representations
of urban mobilities, and begin to unearth some
of the struggles and tensions that exist within
these fields of operation. By looking at archaeology’s
constitutive processes of collection, ordering
and display we highlight some of the problems
found in mapping people and objects in space and
time, and ask what kinds of social/spatial relations
are made possible in particular locative media
projects. Ultimately, we take archaeology’s
critical focus on authorship and ownership, explain
its relevance to locative media, and suggest questions
to consider in the future research and design
of locative media.



In archaeology – as with locative media – nothing
is considered more important than context [1].
Archaeology is tasked with making sense of material
artefacts using words and images, and the processes
of archaeological mapping, classifying, collecting
and curating can be understood as primarily socializing
and spatializing practices. Enacting present interests
and values, as well as producing histories of
change, they shape and reshape worlds. For example,
Stevenson [2] summons archaeology as “the
design history of the everyday” where histories
are shaped by cultural (political, economic, environmental,
etc.) forces, but in which “many have assumed
that material goods are socially inert artefacts
that simply reflect human taste or fashion”.
Along these lines, Michael Shanks also draws out
an intimacy between people, places and objects:

“The archaeological experience of ruin,
decay and site formation processes reveals something
vital about social reality, but something which
is usually disavowed. Decay and ruin reveal the
symmetry of people and things. They dissolve the
absolute distinction between people and the object
world. This is why we can so cherish the ruined
and fragmented past” [3].

And as Hodder [4] explains,

“Certainly, there is a widespread interest
in many disciplines in materiality, in the ways
that the social is constructed in the material…
in the ways in which materiality is active and
constitutive… [and through archaeology]
the social present can be seen as the long term
product of slow moves in daily, nondiscursive

Pearson and Shanks [5] also shed some light on
the socializing and spatializing practices of
archaeology by reminding us that the material
past is not merely *reconstructed* in the present
– it is more profoundly *recontextualized*. Throughout
their use, artefacts continue to change depending
on their field of reception; even after they have
been discarded and covered by dirt, they are re-shaped
again when rediscovered by a grave robber, a scholar
or a weekend gardener.

Taking inspiration from archaeology’s approaches
to understanding and representing what may very
well be ineffable social/spatial experiences,
the remainder of our paper looks more closely
at socializing and spatializing practices in archaeology
and locative media. Finally, we take archaeology’s
critical focus on authorship and ownership and
explain its relevance to locative media.

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In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
wealthy Europeans and less affluent scholars assembled
material collections that became known as cabinets
of curiosities. Titillated by wondrous artefacts
acquired from the colonies and a contemporary
intellectual culture interested in the accidental
and the anomalous, these collections were organized
and displayed in specially designed pieces of
furniture, often filling entire rooms and overflowing
onto ceiling and floor. By effectively constructing
and presenting microcosms of the known or projected
universe, the cabinets themselves remind us of
the importance of design in framing subjects,
objects and desires. By focusing specifically
on the curious, the collections have also been
described as attempts to seize or capture the
most spectacular elements of nature and human
creation, a want in keeping with European expansionist
and colonial values of the time [6].

By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries cabinets
of curiosities began to give way to scientific
collections based on natural law. One-of-a-kinds
were replaced by the serial, and the mysterious
by the ravenously rational:

“I demand, I insist, that everything around
me shall henceforth be measured, tested, certified,
mathematical, and rational. One of my tasks must
be to make a full survey of the island, its distances
and its contours, and incorporate all these details
in an accurate surveyor’s map. I should
like every plant to be labeled, every bird to
be ringed, every animal to be branded. I shall
not be content until this opaque and impenetrable
place, filled with secret ferments and malignant
stirrings, has been transformed into a calculated
design, visible and intelligible to its very depths!”

During this era, world fairs and museums played
a variety of pivotal roles in shaping public histories
and values, personal identities, political and
economic interests around the world [8]. Despite
differences over time, curiosity and control remain
constant undercurrents. Our desire to experience
and make sense of the world around us by removing
people, objects, practices and ideas from their
‘original’ contexts and reconfiguring them in
‘new’ places and according to different principles
is integral to cultural (re)production [9].

In recent decades, the critical and reflexive
eyes of anthropology and archaeology has been
turned to the collection and representation of
cultural ‘property’ in all forms. Museums are
understood to produce and engage a variety of
“histories, discourses and spectacles”
and collections are seen to convey as much about
collector values as the cultures they ostensibly
represent [10]. Moreover, the ethics of collecting
and curating cultural artefacts have emerged front
and centre in recent years [11] and practitioners
continue to question their roles in the writing
and production of culture through research, collection
and curation choices.

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Lacking the disciplinary boundaries of
archaeology – a diverse project in its own right
– locative media resist easy definition and may
be best represented by one of Deleuze and Guattari’s

“The map is open, connectable in all its
dimensions, and capable of being dismantled; it
is reversible, and susceptible to constant modification.
It can be torn, reversed, adapted to montages
of every kind, taken in hand by an individual,
a group or a social formation… Contrary to a
tracing, which always returns to the ‘same’, a
map has multiple entrances” [12].

The term ‘locative media’ was coined by Karlis
Kalnins as a “test-category” for processes
and products coming from the Locative Media Lab
[13], an international network of people working
with some of the technologies above. Although
place-based arts have long and rich histories,
Pope suggests that “the novelty of [locative]
projects seem to be in the way they extend the
human community to include an array of agents,
arranged in space which includes antennae, rooftops,
trees, buildings, masts and the like” [14].
Albert further explains locative media as “artwork
that utilizes media that can express an index
of spatial relationships” and claims that
locative media practitioners “are keeping
the technologies close to the ground, available
for hacking, re-wiring and re-deploying in non-authoritarian
ways” [15].

Locative media practices are inextricably connected
to the research, development and availability
of particular material devices, applications and
services, as well as to the private and public
policies and laws regulating their use. All locative
media projects rely on some sort of (not necessarily
equitable) financial, intellectual, political,
material, etc. collaboration between government,
university, industry and ‘independent’ artists,
designers or researchers. And so, just as in archaeology,
the spaces and cultures of locative media represent
and perpetuate particular interests and values;
the choice of what tools to use, what to map or
how to classify, as well as how to collect and
curate cultural objects, are also of central concern
to both fields of practice.

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For any technological device to be ‘aware’
of its context – physical or otherwise – it has
to be able to locate, classify, collect, store
and use ‘relevant’ information, as well as to
identify and discard or ignore ‘irrelevant’ information.
If we imagine these devices and data as cultural
artefacts, and servers and databases as cabinets
and museums, then locative media begin to share
many of the same interests and concerns as archaeology
and anthropology.

Alexander Galloway [16] argues that Internet
protocols are architectures of control – ones
that have, from the very beginning, been implicated
in various power struggles between military, government,
university, industry and citizen interests. Closer
to the topics at hand, we can acknowledge how
the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) is
inextricably connected to military complexes and
its increasing commercial ubiquity — including
availability to locative media practitioners –
can be understood as part of the broader ‘civilianization’
of technology. At the same time, access to maps
and cartographic data is not universal and GPS
use is constrained by technological, political
and even commercial ‘protocols’.

Just as Galloway cites hackers, viruses and Internet
art as forms of resistance to, and subversion
of, network protocols, locative media projects
also tackle social and political contexts of production
by focusing on social networking [17], access
[18] and participatory media content including
story-telling and spatial annotation [19].

Inherent in creating and maintaining these protocols,
databases and networks – just as in the maps,
taxonomies and artefact collections of archaeology
– are socializing and spatializing practices.
By focusing the remainder of our essay on the
ways in which individual locative media projects
collect and classify – how they make maps and
curate culture – we shine some light on the types
of social and cultural, political and ethical,
issues that arise in the process.

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As we dig a bit deeper into how particular
locative media projects negotiate local and global
spaces, we see the increasing ‘technologization’
and commodification of urban and public spaces.
Graham points to how “places [are] becoming
increasingly constructed through consumer decisions
which, in turn, are influenced through the…
surveillance, and sorting, of cities” [20].
And these “software-sorted cities” point
to a related and politically-charged question
posed succinctly by Borden: “How can differential
space be sought in the land and epoch of the commodified,
the abstract, the homogenized, the reductive and
the powerful?” [21] In other words, what
relations of difference – of production and consumption,
of public and private – are possible in the worlds
shaped through pervasive computing and locative

For example, representational technologies (the
map, the photograph, the GPS trace) capture and
expose moments within the city’s history,
but not necessarily the city’s processes
of becoming. In the moment of capture the viewer’s
gaze is projected onto the city as a *happened
place* or totalizing system of meanings and relations,
and freezing of relations -however temporary –
can be limiting when we consider the desire of
locative media to effect cultural change. A map
without multiple entrances – a map that denies
multiple interpretations – is a map that discourages
change, that presents the world as a *fait accompli*
or worse, a world without *hope* [22].

By shifting the focus of our attention away from
functions, structures and subjective experiences
of technology, space and culture – away from totalizing
explanations of the everyday – we move towards
decentralized performativities [23] and the kind
of open mapping described by Deleuze and Guattari
that we cited above. Instead of approaching the
physical, the social and the digital as spaces
than can be bridged, we are interested in how
each emerges through the actual practices of locative
media. In other words, what kinds of social/spatial
relations are possible in particular locative
media projects?

In *Uncle Roy All Around You* [24], players are
presented with the urban as game-play, where they
are confronted by the strangeness of other people,
objects, spaces and times. Both the city and the
Internet are positioned as ‘open’ boards or stages
on which we play; despite providing an ultimate
objective, players are free to negotiate the city
in creative and resistive fashions. For example,
project researchers reported that players use
‘glitches’ like GPS shadows to their advantage
during game play [25]. Projects like *Amsterdam
Real Time* [26] and *The Daily Practice of Map
Making* [27] record the movements of individuals
and groups of people through urban areas, and
render them as static maps. By abstracting and
stabilizing our movements in spacetime, GPS tracings
can become de-contextualizing practices, and ultimately
shift focus *away* from our (constantly changing)
‘on the ground’ potential. Furthermore, by reducing
our spatial experiences to latitude and longitude
coordinates, social/spatial interaction can take
on a totality, precision and predictability that
it lacks. While the city may indeed emerge as
the collective movement of her people, these maps
and curatorial projects are not particularly amenable
to such (re)interpretation, and risk only ever
being intelligible to, and actionable by, the
people who created them.

On the other hand, projects like *34 north 118
west* [28] fix narrative fragments in physical
space while also allowing for multiple readings.
Effectively creating an open curation, actually
activated by movement through space, the project
conjures a world of flow and fixity. Projects
like *Milk* [29] use GPS to track the people involved
in the production of cheese, and map a world in
which cheese is considered the first project participant
or subject. The project transforms the political
boundaries of transnational commerce into micro-level
personal interactions, both humanizing individual
workers and redrawing national identities. Some
projects, like *Shadows From Another Place* [30],
use GPS to create “hypothetical mappings”.
These maps exist specifically to offer glimpses
of other possibilities and potentials, and despite
having fixed parameters, they are easily undone
and re-imagined. In spatial-annotation projects
like *Yellow Arrow* [31] and *Neighbornode* [32],
cities are positioned as surfaces on which we
can inscribe meaning, and which ultimately perform
as collective memory. These story-telling projects
allow for social and cultural (re)readings of
space, allowing private narratives to become public
and subject to reinterpretation.

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In addition to learning from its world-building
potential, archaeology offers two major contributions
to the understanding and practice of locative
media arts. First, the question of authorship
compels us to look not just at who is currently
able to create and use locative media, but at
who will be able to re-create and re-use locative
media in the future. Second, the question of ownership
requires us to be aware that most locative media
projects require large databases and these data
are subject to the same curatorial issues as any
cultural collection.

When it comes to creating and using locative
media, we can evaluate the relations of production
and consumption: Where does the technology originate?
How is the project funded? Who gets to use these
technologies to create cultural ‘content’ or artefacts?
Who gets to set the rules of engagement? What
are the power relations at play? What shape can
resistance take?

We can also evaluate the archiving of locative
media data: Who owns the data? To whom do they
belong? Are they for sale? Who has the access
to view them? Who has the ability to change them?
What are the short- and long-term exhibition,
storage and preservation needs?

The matters of authorship and ownership are also
critical to the definition of locative media:
Is it defined by itself or its other(s)? What
are its antecedents and living relatives? Authorship
and ownership are central to the classification
of new media artefacts or data: What makes a bottom-up
classification scheme more authentic or valid
than one constructed top-down? What makes a locative
media project less politically and ethically charged
than a cabinet of curiosity?

At stake in all these questions are relations
between artists and corporate researchers, designers

and users, subjects and objects, pasts and futures,
material and immaterial, commodities and values.
If locative media are ultimately understood as
collections of cultural artefacts, what roles
do they take in shaping personal identities, collective
histories and values, political and economic interests
around the world? And finally, what roles *should*
they take?

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1. Contextual information is valued so highly
in archaeological interpretation that excavation
of a site is never total because it is understood
that excavation is a destructive process and care
must be taken to preserve some parts “intact”
for future study (and other methods).

2. G. Stevenson, “Archaeology as the design
history of the everyday”, V. Buchli and G.
Lucas (eds.) *Archaeology of the Contemporary
Past* (London: Routledge, 2001) p. 53.

M. Shanks, *The Life of an Artifact*, May 1998. Available online at:

4. I. Hodder, *Archaeology Beyond Dialogue* (Salt
Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2003) p.

5. M. Person and M. Shanks, *Theatre/Archaeology*
(London: Routledge, 2001).

6. See for example, O. Impey and A. MacGregor
(eds.), *The Origins of Museums: The Cabinet of
Curiosities in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century
Europe* (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1985) and P.
Mauriès, *Cabinets of curiosities* (New
York: Thames & Hudson, 2002).

7. Tournier as cited in D. Gregory, *Geographical
Imaginations* (London: Blackwell, 1994) p. 15.

8. See for example, T. Bennet, *Birth of Museum:
History, Theory, Politics* (London: Routledge,
1995) and G.W. Stocking (ed.), *Objects and others:
essays on museums and material culture* (Madison:
University of Wisconsin Press, 1985).

9. See S. M. Pearce (ed.), *Interpreting objects
and collections* (London: Routledge, 1994) and
S. M. Pearce, *On collecting: an investigation
into collecting in the European tradition* (London:
Routledge, 1995).

10. D. J. Sherman and I. Rogoff (eds.), *Museum
culture: histories, discourses, spectacles* (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1994).

11. See for example, P. M. Messenger (ed.), *The
ethics of collecting cultural property: Whose
culture? Whose property?* (Albuquerque: University
of New Mexico Press, 1999) and L. J. Zimmerman,
K. D. Vitelli, J. Hollowell-Zimmer (eds.), *Ethical
issues in archaeology* (Walnut Creek: Altamira
Press, 2003).

12. G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, *On the Line*
(New York: Semiotext(e),1983) pp. 25-26.

13. http://www.locative.net

S. Pope, *The Shape of Locative Media*, Mute Magazine Issue 29, 9
February 2005. Available online at:

15. S. Albert, *locative literacy – four locative
micro-rants – preview from upcomin [sic] mute
magazine #29*, Locative email list, 27 April 2004.
Available online at: http://db.x-i.net/locative/2004/000368.html

16. Alexander Galloway, *Protocol: How Control
Exists After Decentralization* (Cambridge: MIT
Press, 2004).

17. See for example, http://flickr.com/, http://www.dodgeball.com/,

18. See for example, http://www.magicbike.net/,

19. See for example, http://www.yellowarrow.org/,
http://murmurtoronto.ca/, http://www.grafedia.net/,
http://rabble.com/, http://www.kakirine.com/passing

20. S. Graham, “The Software-Sorted City:
Rethinking the ‘Digital Divide'”, in S. Graham
(ed.), *The Cybercities Reader* (London: Routledge,
2004), pp. 324-331.

21. I. Borden, *Skateboarding, Space and the
City: Architecture and the Body* (London: Berg,
2001) p. 267.

22. M. Zournazi, *Hope: New Philosophies for
Change* (London: Routledge, 2002).

23. A. Galloway, “Intimations of Everyday
Life: Ubiquitous Computing and the City”,
*Cultural Studies* 18(2/3), 2004, pp. 383-407.

24. http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_uncleroy.html

25. Steve Benford and others, “Uncle Roy
All Around You: Implicating the City in a Location-Based
Performance”, Proceedings of ACM Advanced
Computer Entertainment (ACE 2004), Singapore,
July 2004, ACM Press.

26. http://www.waag.org/realtime/

27. http://www.planbperformance.net/dan/mapping.htm

28. http://34n118w.net/34N/

29. http://www.milkproject.net/

30. http://paulalevine.banff.org/

31. http://www.yellowarrow.org/

32. http://www.neighbornode.net/

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ANNE GALLOWAY is a Ph.D candidate
and Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and
Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa,
Canada. Her doctoral research in social and cultural
studies of technology focuses on pervasive computing
and its relations to our social and cultural experiences
of mobility and everyday life in urban contexts.
Anne has presented her findings at international
conferences and workshops in technology, design,
and sociology and her publications include articles
for both academic journals and magazines. In addition
to teaching undergraduate courses in the sociology
of science and technology and urban cultural studies,
she regularly writes at Purse Lip Square Jaw (http://plsj.org)
and Space and Culture (http://spaceandculture.org).

MATT WARD is a lecturer in design at
Goldsmiths College, University of London, where
he runs the M.A. in Design – Critical Theory
and Practice. His research focuses on the technological
construction and negotiation of social space through
design. Before his post at Goldsmiths, he worked
for NCR’s Knowledge Lab, researching and
designing wireless systems for domestic environments.
He holds one international patent and has a further
six pending on his work. Matt has acted as research
affiliate to The Auto-ID Centre, MIT Media Lab
and Interaction Design department at The Royal
College of Art. Matt also writes at Thinking about
Things (http://triptychresearch.typepad.com).


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Reporters with a twist or how reporters use Twitter

Reporters with a twist or how reporters use Twitter

The author of ‘Here’s how reporters use Twitter’ is involved in the launch of a newsroom for freelance journalists using Twitter. The reality-style reporting site is called www.reporTwitters.com. ReporTwitter will be up soon. Hold your breath. Read the blog.

We designed our formula so that reporTwitter stories have a high probability of reaching (the) critical mass come what may; be it through making it to the newspapers or by organic development right on this platform.

These are some interesting feeds by people who twitter about their journalistic adventures most of all:
http://twitter.com/fieldreports is interesting because it features the work days of a German freelance journalist.

http://twitter.com/GroundReport is the twitter by the Groundreport guys, who run a grassroots reporting site. In their Twitters they focus on journalistic issues.

http://twitter.com/JohnMone takes the Yank approach and addresses his audience; ‘…Good morning. Do you remember murderer so and so?…’

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Mapping sex offenders

Mapping sex offenders

offenders map
A free service at Vision 20/20 lets you display the locations of sex offenders in your neighborhood. The image above was created when I entered my zip code and requested a map. This is a very powerful tool from the world of map mash-ups, explained as follows on the Web site hosting the project:

There are 650,000 registered sex offenders in America – and that number grows by about 25,000 every year. Wouldn’t you like to know if any of them are living in your neighborhood? Now you can!

Use the Vision 20/20 POM Offender Locator to identify registered sex offenders living in your area. Do it now. It’s Free! Just type your address and zip code, and find out exactly where they live. Our system will reveal their location instantly – with their address and their picture.

You can also register with POM Offender Locator to receive an alert the moment any new offender moves into your neighborhood. It’s a Free service!

Now that you are empowered, you can be rest assured that you are taking the appropriate measures to safeguard your family.

via Techcrunch

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Players take on the role of marine biologists who seek to learn as much as possible about sharks through advanced observation techniques. In the game, players control their ships, but the sharks are controlled by real-world white sharks with GPS units attached to their fins. Real-world telemetry data provides the position and movement of actual great white sharks in the game, so every shark that players encounter corresponds to a real shark in the real world.

Ships in the game move in real-time, so players receive email and/or SMS alerts during the day when their boat is within range of an encounter. Players login, choose crewmembers and an approach http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/sharkweek/shark-runners/shark-runners.html, and then collect various data from the nearby sharks.

Read more about it here.

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Crow Road Complete

Crow Road Complete

The Crow Road pilot has now been completed as a functioning GPS Flash Lite mobile programme complete with video, audio, text and still image related to each location and cross-referenced to the novel. Iain Banks examined the work during the Bath Literary Festival and personally endorsed the project.

The completed project will be beta-tested on PDAs and mobiles with the Scottish Tourist Board on location in the Western Highlands.

Read more about it here.

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always something somewhere else

Click To Play

‘always something somewhere else’ is a GPS based
soundwalk that builds itself as you experience it. To create it I
worked with Hewlett Packard in Bristol and their new mscape software ( http://www.mscapers.com ).

In the work the listener is asked to locate various substances that
form the contemporary urban environment (glass, stone, concrete etc.).
As they mark the location of each one they begin to hear interwoven
stories connecting them to remote locations around the world,
soundtracked with a generative music score. The narratives are
progressed and concluded as the listener returns to the locations they
chose. The piece is reflective and sometimes melancholy, it touches on
issues of climate change and global awareness, but ultimately
encourages the listener to treasure the moments around them…


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Location-based mobile phone games overview

The Shroud, by Your World Games.
Location: US, 2006 –NEW

The first location-based role playing game comes to mobile in Winter 2006 � The Shroud. Build a thriving community based on real world locations, defend it by any means necessary and venture out on heroic quests. For the first time, a truly immersive gameplay experience comes to wireless.
+ pics on IGN

RealReplay, by Mopius.
Location: US, 2005 –NEW

GPS racing on your mobile phone. It’s one of our inherent necessities to compete with other people and to compare ourselves to them. It would be perfect if we could compete with everyone, without being dependent on their time. No matter if it�s a car race, bike tour, sailing trip or a relaxed hiking tour.
RealReplay offers the solution. You simply choose the track you want to race on, select your opponent and start right away! Your own race will be recorded by an accurate GPS system, which makes it possible to see your own current position and the route your opponent took when he recorded his race. In some games this is known as the �Ghost� mode � now you can race for real!

Treasure Hunt, by Treasure Hunt Mobile.
Location: US, 2004(?)
Treasure Hunt is a location based mobile phone game that uses GPS and internet enabled handhelds. We have hidden an imaginary treasure somewhere in your game zone and you must attempt using the clues we give you to try and find it. All players begin the game with one video or picture clue, and a number of multiple-choice answers, only one of which is the correct answer. Be careful when answering the clues, if you answer the clue incorrectly your next clue won�t be so helpful in your quest for the treasure, instead you might find yourself going in circles.

Songs of North, by The University of Tampere’s Game Research Lab
Location: Finland, 2004
Songs of North is a multiplayer game concept, in which the player is a shaman trying to either make the persistent game world a better, or a worse, more chaotic place. The game draws it�s inspiration from the Finnish mythology, especially the epic Kalevala. The background story revolves around the legendary Sampo, a machine that is able to produce anything. Sampo has been destroyed in the battles between the Northmen and the sons of Kaleva, and it�s pieces are scattered around the world. Player, the Shaman, has two options: if she fi nds a piece of the Sampo, she can either keep it and gain some power, or destroy it by sinking it into a swamp, thus returning the energy of the Sampo to the world, making it a better place.

The Journey I&II, by Jakl Andreas Reinhard at Mopius
Location: Austria – 2004?
The Journey is a new and unique adventure game experience for your mobile phone. You are in the role of an infamous detective and have to solve a mysterious case not only by making it through the story, but also by walking to different locations. The game is aware of your movement. Right at the beginning when you, as the detective, have to leave your bureau and go outside, you have to take your mobile and go through the streets of the city you live in.
The game saves the locations (CellTower ID) and in the course of the story you will have to return to your bureau and walk back to the place where you started playing.

GPS::Tron, by Tom Winkler
Location: Austria – 2005
GPS::Tron is an adaption of the classic arcade game Tron, for mobile phones. The players move in real space, they are tracked by GPS and their position influences their position in the game. The communication between the mobile devices is done over GPRS. The players do not have to be geographically close-by. The 2 players do not have to run, they can also play using a car, bike, ship, whatever.
(I remember reading somewhere that Dan Egnor in the US had a similar system running as early as 10/2003)

Frequency 1550, by Waag Society
Location: Amsterdam – 2005
Waag Society has developed a ‘mobile learning game’ together with IVKO, part of the Montessori comprehensive school in Amsterdam. It’s a city game using mobile phones and GPS-technology for students in the age of 11-12. The games examines whether it’s possible to provide a technology supported educational location-based experience.
In the Frequency 1550 mobile game, students will be transported to the medieval Amsterdam of 1550 via a medium that’s familiar to this age group: the mobile phone. The pilot will take place in 2005 from 7 to 9 February and is supported by KPN Mobile’s UMTS network.

Raygun, by Glofun
Location: US – 2005
A cell phone loaded with RayGun software emits �spectral� energy that lets you attract and track ghosts. Unfortunately, the energy also annoys the ghosts, so you�d better �ionize� them before they get to you.
Here’s the twist: RayGun is a GPS game, and to play it you have to move through the real world�that is, running around using your real feet.

Conqwest, by area/code and SS+K
Location: Several Cities in the USA – 2004
big game + treasure hunt + phone cam + semacode + giant animal + totems. ConQwest is a high-stakes, team-based treasure hunt in the urban jungle. Five teams race through the city searching for treasure in the form of printed codes that can be captured by phonecam. Each code has a dollar value, and the first team to find $5,000 worth of treasure codes wins the game and earns a $5,000 scholarship for their school.

Swordfish, by Blisterent
Location: Canada – 2004
An exciting new location based fishing game that uses the latest GPS technology. Using your phone’s GPS capability and Blister’s unique Swordfish finder, you can locate schools of fish that are close to you, move to them and land the BIG ONE!

Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis (mobile phone version), by Square Enix
Location: Tokyo, Japan – since 2004
[GameSpy] The most interesting twist in Before Crisis is how it utilizes the properties of a mobile phone. Materia is an integral part of the game and players will need to use the F900’s camera and phone features to make the most out of it. To activate the various types of material, you must take a picture of an object of a similar color. However, each phone can only have a finite amount of material; the only way to get more is to interact with other users. (It’s almost as devilishly clever as needing another player to catch all the Pokemon.) Players can also call each other for help when they’re stuck or tag along in an adventure, though not in an MMORPG sense as the creators want the game to be more random.

Undercover, by YDreams
Location: Hong Kong / Portugal – since 2003
[SmartMobs] YDreams and Hong Kong mobile telecom operator Sunday last week launched Undercover, a massively multiplayer, persistent game for mobile phone users in Hong Kong. In the game, the players’ real location is the main tool in a quest for justice and survival. Undercover has been available nationwide in Portugal since July 2003. Sunday Hong Kong customers are the first players outside Portugal to join the game – trial versions are planned for over 14 countries.

Mogi, by NewtGames
Location: Tokyo, Japan – since 2003
[IN-duce] For a month now, I have been playing a java mobile phone game called Mogi, Item hunt from French company Newt Games. It uses the GPS functions of the KDDI AU phones and allows you to pick up virtual items spread on the whole of Japan. Let the game know where you are and it will tell you what items are around you; if you get closer than 400m to an object, you can pick it up and try to complete your collections, you can also trade with other players. The objects vary in frequency and value and the aim is to get the maximum amount of points.

GunSlingers, Mikoishi Studios
Location: Singapore – 2003
Gunslingers is a multi-player network game where players move around, track and engage enemies within their vicinity. All this, just using just an ordinary handphone. You walk around Singapore, you locate the nearest opponent around you and then you blow the crap out of each other. The game uses network positioning technology to help you find the nearest enemy. It is similar to GPS or Global Positioning System, except that you do not need a special phone with GPS capabilities. We use Cell-ID-Network-Positioning-Technology.

TreasureMachine, BattleMachine, Girlfriend, Take-It, CrowdMachine, CreatorMachine, by Unwiredfactory
Location: Germany, Denmark

BotFighters, by It’s Alive
Location: Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Russia – since 2000
BotFighters is the world’s first location based mobile game that takes advantage of mobile positioning and let’s the users play against others in their vicinity by using a standard GSM phone. It’s a fast-paced game mixing action- and roleplay ingredients.

HANDHELD BASED (mobile phones may be used during game play)

Environmental Detectives, by MIT
Location: US – since 2002 –NEW

As groups launch their PDAs, they are presented a unique cover story, custom-tailored to their role. Environmentalists learn that a local watershed has become polluted with mercury after a class of students reports some bizarre readings during a routine examination of a local watershed. Later, the EPA learns of increased levels of mercuric chloride through routine inspection of a major river in the area. As fish begin washing ashore, a hostile press learns of this catastrophe, and immediately implicates a textile facility further down the river. As concerned parents start checking kids into a local hospital, the stakes are raised further.

Mystery at the museum, by MIT Teacher Education Program
Location: US – since 2003 –NEW

First indoor Augmented Reality simulation created by the program. In this game, teams consisting of a Biologist, a Technologist and a Detective must work together to solve a crime. The infamous band of Flamingo Thieves has struck again and stole a priceless object from the Museum of Science, but players must figure out what they have stolen, how they did it, and catch the thieves before they get away.

Vienen Por Ellas (They come for them), by Telefonica
Location: Chile – 2004
[WMMNA] Mixes the real world with the game world. Aliens are planing to conquer the Earth. They will capture all the women to fill the planet with “hybrid creatures.”
Users become part of an anti-alien organisation called Plan-EVA which tries to save the human race by solving quiz, answering questions, finding the clues, etc. Users play via SMS, voice messages, Web sites, WAP, moblogs, MMS, ringtones, etc. For example, by calling the 321 (called “intercomunicador 321”), the player can listen to his present mission, get clues to solve the riddles, etc. Forums were also created for players to share and comment their experience.
So far, the game is a success, with more than 300,000 users (mainly between 12 and 30 years old) registered.

I Like Frank in Adelaide, by Blast Theory
Location: Adelaide, Australia – 2004
This project takes place online and on the streets using 3G phones. Players in the real city can chat with players in the virtual city as they search for the elusive Frank. Whether braving the 40-degree heat of a South Australian summer or logging from around the world, the players will build relationships, swap information and test the possibilities of a new hybrid space.

CitiTag, by HP Labs, the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute (KMi)
Location: Bristol, UK – 2004
CitiTag is a wireless location-based multiplayer game, designed to enhance spontaneous social interaction and novel experiences in city environments by integrating virtual presence with physical. In the first version of CitiTag you roam the city with a GPS- and WiFi-enabled iPaq PocketPC in search for players of the opposite team that you can �tag�. You can also get tagged yourself if one of them gets close to you. Then you need to find a friend to free you. Urban space becomes a playground and everyone is a suspect.

Uncle Roy All Around You, by Blast Theory
Location: London, UK – 2003
Uncle Roy All Around You is where the console game breaks out onto the streets; a game that pitches Online Players around the world alongside players on the real streets of the city.
Street Players use handheld computers to search for Uncle Roy, using the map and incoming messages to move through the city. Online Players cruise through a virtual map of the same area, searching for Street Players to help them find a secret destination.
Using web cams, audio and text messages players must work together. They have 60 minutes and the clock is ticking…

Urban Challenge, by Verizon Wireless
Location: Several Cities in USA – since 2002
The object of Verizon Wireless Urban Challenge is to visit twelve checkpoints in correct order and return to event headquarters. The first team back wins.

The Go Game, by Wink Back, Inc.
Location: San Francisco, USA – since 2001
The Go Game is an all-out urban adventure game, a technology-fueled, reality-based experience that encourages hard play and a keen eye for the weird, the beautiful, or the faintly out-of-the-ordinary. The “rule book” is reality, the “board” is San Francisco, and the “pieces” are the players — you and your team.

MobileHunt, by HIPnTASTY
Location: USA and Canada – since 2001
So you’ve played other people’s games, but have they ever played yours? It’s time for MobileHunt� … the ultimate scavenger hunt game engine!

Cutlass – Treasure Hunt, by DCA Productions, Steve Bull (CEO)
Location: Times Square, NYC, USA – since 2001
No cellphone tic-tac-toe, Cutlass requires players to use digital phones, wireless PDAs, the net–even ordinary phones–and lots of real time footwork to find a treasure hidden nearby.

Seamful Game, by University of Glasgow, UK
Location: Glasgow, 2004
A fully featured multiplayer team game, which has been accused of being fun to play. Players must develop an understanding of the network coverage and the effect of signal strength in order to successfully play the game. In this way we are turning the patchy network coverage, which is usually seen as a problem to be overcome, or worse ignored, into a feature (indeed possibly the main feature) of the game.

Backseat Playground, by John Paul Bichard & the Interactive Institute
Location: Stockholm, 2005
Backseat Playground is a mobile gaming research project that will enable kids to
play with the world outside their window from the back seat of a car.
There are 4 core areas: Episodic Narratives, Real World Game Engine, De-focusing technology, Fuzzy Learning.

Savannah, by NESTA Futurelab
Location: Bristol, UK, 2004
Savannah is a strategy-based adventure game where a virtual space is mapped directly onto a real space. Children �play� at being lions in a savannah, navigating the augmented environments with a mobile handheld device. By using aspects of game play, Savannah challenges children to explore and survive in the augmented space. To do this they must successfully adopt strategies used by lions.

CatchBob!, by Nicolas Nova and Fabien Girardin
Location: Switzerland – 2004
CatchBob! is an experimental platform in the form of a mobile game for running psychological experiments. It is designed to elicit collaborative behavior of people working together on a mobile activity.

NetAttack, by Fraunhofer FIT
Location: Germany, 2004
NetAttack “is a new type of indoor/outdoor Augmented Reality game that makes the actual physical environment an inherent part of the game itself.” In this game, two teams are fighting to destroy the central database of a virtual big company. Both teams have indoor players, who control the game from their laptop computers, and outdoor players, equipped with GPS receivers, trackers, sensors and video cameras.

Can you see me now?, by Blast Theory
Location: Europe – since 2002
Can You See Me Now? is a game that happens simultaneously online and on the streets. Players from anywhere in the world can play online in a virtual city against members of Blast Theory. Tracked by satellites, Blast Theory’s runners appear online next to your player on a map of the city. On the streets, handheld computers showing the positions of online players guide the runners in tracking you down.

NodeRunner, by Yury Gitman, Carlos J. Gomez de Llarena
Location: NYC, USA – since 2002
A competitive game, Node Runner fuses the streets with wireless networks to convert the city into a playing board. Two teams racing against time must log into as many nodes as they can and upload photographic proof to the server, documenting their progress.

Navigate the Streets, by Level 28 Brands
Location: Several Cities in Canada – 2004
‘Navigate The Streets’ is an experiment in modern city exploration, in which teams of two compete using wireless gadgets and public transportation to race through nine different Canadian cities, solving riddles to discover their next checkpoint. While use of technology isn’t required, various WiFi hotspot vendors will be sponsoring the race, providing free access to participants throughout.

Demor – Audiogame, by Utrecht School of the Arts students
Location: The Netherlands – 2004
Demor is a location based 3D audio shooter. This highly innovative game was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of seven EMMA-students for the Bartimeus Institute for the Blind. Demor does not only focus on the entertainment aspect of computer gaming, but also attempts to contribute to the emancipation of the blind and visually impaired people in order to enhance their integration with the �sighted� world. It is a proof of concept developed on the basis of theoretical and practical research.

Human Pacman, by Mixed Reality Lab of National University of Singapore
Location: Singapore – 2004
The game has several novel aspects: Firstly, the players immerse in role-playing of the characters Pacmen and Ghosts by physically enacting the roles. Players physically move around in a wide-area setting, performing tasks to reach their goals. Secondly, Human Pacman also explores novel tangible aspects of human physical movement, senses and perception, both on the player’s environment and on the interaction with the digital world. Thirdly, users enjoy unrestricted movement outdoor and indoor while maintaining their social contacts with each other. Players interact both face-to-face with other players when in proximity (physically) or indirectly via the wireless local area network (LAN).

Pirates!, by PLAY research studio, Interactive Institute
Location: HUC conference in Bristol, UK – August 2000
A collaboration between the Nokia Research Center and the PLAY Research Studio.A PDA-based context-sensitive game were the players’ physical location and social interaction in a gaming area influences the events in the game.

Mad Countdown, by Playbe
Location: Switzerland – 2001/02
One of the first mixed/hybrid reality pervasive game using a physical building as a game board on top of which players, actors, physical artefacts, and diverse media (such as automated phone calls) communicate with the player’s PDAs & positions to track down a bomb in time to prevent a group of art haters from blowing up the University for Art Media and Design Zurich (where the game takes place).


Monopoly Live, by Hasbro
Location: London, UK – 2005 –NEW

Monopolylive.com let you play Monopoly in the real London with 18 real cabs fitted with GPS systems as your movers.
We pitted your cabbie against 5 others for 24 hours, and you could make millions by buying properties and placing apartments and hotels. There were some amazing prizes up for grabs, including your mortgage or rent paid for a year.

Digital Street Game, by Intel Corporation
Location: Manhattan, New York, USA – 2004
Crap name, Fun game. Digital Street Game is a hybrid game of misadventure set on the streets of New York. It’s a battle for turf, a contest of wills in short an excuse to explore the city. Players compete for turf by performing and documenting stunts on the physical streets of New York in order to claim territory on a virtual map. Stunts are comprised of a random combination of 3 elements: 1) an object commonly found in the city (e.g. bodega) 2) a street game (e.g. stickball) and 3) a wildcard/urban situation (e.g. happy hour). Players interpret these elements as they wish, then stage and photograph their stunt in order to claim a spot on the map. The more stunts players perform the more turf they claim. But of course some players may want to compete for the same territory. In order to hold on to territory, players stunts must score high with the rest of the game community.

Pac-Manhattan by Dennis Crowley, Frank Lantz (instructor) and others
Location: Manhattan, New York, USA – 2004
PacManhattan is a live-action version of PacMan, played around Washington Square Park, in which people in Pac Man and ghost suits chase each other through the streets, seeking out power-pellets.

Operation Urban Terrain, by Opensorcery.net
Location: NYC, USA – 2004
Two women in gear are on the ground. One with a laptop and the other with a projector pointing onto building walls in key locations in the city. They are connected through a mobile wireless bicycle to an online team of five game players located around the world. They intervene on servers in a popular online military simulation game with performance actions carried out by the whole team.The live projections in the city can also be viewed through web cams on the OUT website.

Geocaching/GPS Stash Hunt, by Groundspeak
Location: anywhere!!
A GPS device and a hunger for adventure are all you need for high tech treasure hunting. Here you can find the latest caches in this fun and exciting sport.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Navigate the Streets

Navigate the Streets

Navigate the Streets is Canada’s original urban race.

Read more about it here.

Filed under: Uncategorized


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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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