This project defines a course research aimed at developing a location-aware mobile-weblogging system. Through use of the Patholog system, users are able to engage in a form of personal storytelling through space based on the paths they have traveled, as well as contribute to a larger community narrative virtually layered upon a physical space.
In the past few years, online journals, also known as “web logs” or simply “blogs,” have exploded into an important social phenomenon. Weblog authors typically maintain their sites in order to keep an ongoing documentation of their experiences, link to other web sites of interest, and engage in an continuing discourse with their readers. More recently, with new technological developments, weblogging is evolving. Such advancements, including phones with cameras, SMS messaging and email, are allowing many authors to update their blogs with pictures, text, sound and even video by using their mobile devices. As these trends expand, the authorship of blog content will increasingly move away from the static PC desktop environment and into a more mobile space.
With this move towards the updating of web logs on mobile devices (mobile blogging, or m-blog) comes an increasingly location-specific type of publishing. No longer are blogs simply online journals, but they are also travelogues–intricate and specific histories of movement. A picture of the pacific ocean, a text-message from a tube station in London, a short video of a sporting event—all of these are posted to blogs and act as a reflection of an author’s path through their environment.
Current m-blogging techniques often ignore this location specific nature of mobile content, simply displaying a picture, or at best a brief description of the image. But again, new developments in technology, particularly Global Positioning Systems (GPS), are changing the ways that location and movement is defined, providing access to specific physical coordinates that describe accurately where we are, and where we have location context.
The Patholog system allows users to create and publish the paths they travel into a web log format, a amalgam of m-blogging, blogging, and location information. By simply moving throughout their environment with a GPS device, users can access community authored data, such as annotations, photos, or videos, embedded in locations along their path. They can also create their own location media, and contribute it to the community database. Based on these paths, users can then publish web logs that not only reflect a personal narrative of their own trajectory through a space, but also the patterns and movements of others in the community.