Two essays have been published today in Proboscis' Cultural Snapshots series:
Social Tapestries: public authoring and civil society by Giles Lane [A4 PDF 167Kb] which outlines some of the ideas and practices that are informing both the new Social Tapestries research project and the last two years of Urban Tapestries.
Sensing the City and other stories by Katrina Jungnickel [A4 PDF 209Kb] – a paper on Urban Tapestries given in April 2004 at DigiPlay 2: Mobile Leisure and the Technological Mediascape, at the University of Surrey.
The last participant's final questionnaire was submitted today, which means we'll be in the thick of evaluation over the next few weeks. Of the 24 participants signed up to the trial we've actually got rich and usable data sets for 11 – not quite as many as we'd hoped for, but more than enough to occupy us in analysing and evaluating the implications.
In addition to 6 experience-related questionnaires submitted by each of the participants, we're also analysing the system logs to draw out patterns of usage: over time, acitvity (whether browsing or authoring etc), and possibly even location.
We'll correlate this with the participants experiences, as well as the actual content they created on the system to build up a picture of how they used UT. An interesting suggestion from Nicholas Nova has prompted us to plan a series of short interviews with the participants presenting them with what they said about the experience, as well as what they did and when they did it, to see what additional observations or insights into their use and behaviour this might trigger.
From our point of view its been a great success – generating a wealth of data about how people can actually use mobile spatial annotation/public authoring platforms with current technologies, and points to some of the key issues that manufacturers and telcos are going to have to address in the near future. We'll be posting snippets from the evaluation as we proceed and make sense of it all, with a final report planned for September.
Today's Guardian Online section has an article on the OS's MasterMap GIS database, which mentions UT as a research project exploring potential uses for the data (but doesn't credit us, nor provide a link).
We've posted our development roadmap for UT today which sketches out the broader set of functionalities we believe that a public authoring / spatial annotation system like UT would ultimately need to be powerful, flexible and responsive to the needs and desires of local people capturing and sharing local knowledge.
The functions have been grouped in three phases for implementation (above and beyond the functionality of the existing prototypes): basic, intermediate and advanced. Proboscis is proposing to implement these in stages as we raise funding and secure partnerships and collaborations to develop the overall project.
The field trial is now coming to a close and we've been exceptionally fortunate to have had participants willing to share their experiences with us, as well as the content they've entered into the system. Many thanks from Proboscis and our partners to all of you.
Our next task is to begin the daunting task of collating and evaluating the participant feedback, analysing their threads and pockets on the system, as well as analysing the system logs. We hope to build up a picture of why, what, where, when and how often the system was used. Coupled with the experiential feedback from the participants this should become an invaluable resource for looking at the future of mobile data services and spatial annotations systems. We'll be publishing the results in September in a commercial / policy white paper, as well as online. Meanwhile you can sample some extra-curricular notes from participant Dan Hill here and here.
We are particularly pleased to report that, aside from frustrations with the slowness of GPRS and the P800, none of the participants suffered any major problems requiring technical support. Our worst mishap seems to have been the loss of one phone in a burglary!
Our next task is to build a web viewer to allow remote access to the UT system which we hope to have ready by late July/early August (pending license agreements with the Ordnance Survey).