CoMob: Dynamic group mapping of lived environments
From negotiating a crowded shopping street to knowing how to find a friend’s house, we simultaneously negotiate both our own route through a place and our spatial relationship to other people, and in doing so, modify our movements to accommodate both. This workshop will experiment with mapping spatial relationships between people and how they modify movement through space. Using a hacked version of GPS tracking software the intention is to produce a live, mobile, visualisation of the links between people as they move, rather than each individual’s track.
The relationships between people and spaces elicits a variety of responses, including intimacy, irritation, and exhilaration. We are interested in an awareness of where other people are and how that affects our experience of place. This workshop will look at how those relationships can be mapped, as live and moving visualisations, and what other playful uses of the software workshop participants might find.
What people will experience
This workshop will offer participants the opportunity to experience group GPS walking. Through a series of scenarios in specific spatial contexts in and around the city, participants will be asked to respond to the themes of environmental footprint and pollution through the CoMob system.
The themes of the workshop will explore the shared nature the lived environment, using different layers of interpretation of the city as guides and aids to negotiation. Traffic, geochemical surveys, land use, water use and pollution level information will be used in combination with the walked understanding of the environment.
Maps typically describe static physical features, and we are interested in how the use of shapes that are controlled by a group of people can describe the time based and ephemeral forms that affect our environment and us. By choosing to outline a space, or walk closer together and further apart in response to an urban system, participants will be simultaneously engaging in the discussion of both the subject matter and in the process of mapping it.
Why this is interesting
We are interested in using this workshop as a critical opportunity to better understand how the platform affects the spatial awareness of participants, their co-walkers and the environment, as the groups use the software in different ways.
We are further interested in how groups will respond when asked to map the invisible environmental characteristics of the city such as pollution, traffic density and water use. Using their ‘collective’ body to describe or demarcate what they consider to be the issues that are central to the concepts of sustainability and community.
It is an interesting area of inquiry because GPS has largely been used to plot the paths of an individual. Sat Nav and GPS drawing have all capitalised upon the linear passage of time and movement of an individual to record where someone has been or direct them to where they want to go. Collaborative GPS drawing offers a less ‘teleological’ use of the systems and demands engagement with fellow members.