The Google Flanuer

Scott Page's picture
Building on the Google thread here started by Chris, this Geo-Tracing site was brought to my attention that links google mapping with individually uploaded content. Its, as I see it, the next iteration of Found City and other geo-tagging sites. Very interesting combination of technology to provide a sense of experience and place in cities that is often hard to capture on screen. As stated from the site:

"The main concept is depicted above. The MobiTracer is a personalized Java (J2ME) application running on a mobile phone. MobiTracer reads GPS location data from a Bluetooth GPS module and sends it to a server. Within a browser the routes followed by MobiTracers can be viewed. Each MobiTracer can also be followed in real-time moving over the map. In addition the MobiTracer can send track-annotations in the form of media (images/video/audio/text) ratings (e.g. road-conditions) and Points of Interest (POIs) to the server. Media and annotations are shown at their geographic locations on the map. "





The images provide a strong base of what is possible. Once video becomes even more widely used and distributed in these types of applications, Baudelaire's 'flanuer' and the Situationists' 'derive' (for those of you up on your urban theory) will have a new voice and impact on how we experience and plan for cities. As planners we inevitably use public outreach as a key tool in our planning and design process. I'm interested in what happens when local residents and business owners are loaned tools like video cameras to document their perceptions of place which is then posted on-line as a diary. These publicly available annotations could bring a lot of value to planners, moving beyond 2d and, at times, 3d representations to a more dynamic method of seeing neighborhood's from mutliple viewpoints and perspectives.

For a further description of the issues and opportunities associated Google map applications, see Ken Snyder's previous posts on Google and GIS and Geotagging.

Scott Page is the founder of Interface Studio, a collaborative design office based in Philadelphia.

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