2010/Non-visual location-based augmented reality using GPS data

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What is GeoLoqi?

GeoLoqi is a website and mobile app for securely sharing location data, with features such as Geonotes, proximal notification, and sharing real-time GPS maps with friends.

See this presentation (slideshare link) for a more robust explanation.

Data Points:

Talk Abstract

Text messages have virtually eliminated the need for voicemail, and are a faster way to convey a message than a phone call. In the same way, GPS-based augmented reality could eliminate the need for text messages.

This presentation will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of visual and non-visual augmented reality. We’ll cover alternate types of augmented reality techniques and how they have been saving us time in the past few months. We’ll demonstrate how we’ve been merging available technologies with custom programming to create location-aware social networks with custom proximity notification. Finally, we’ll describe other uses for location sharing, such as automatically turning off house lights when leaving for work, and wayfinding with piezoelectric buzzers. Privacy and data transparency will also be discussed.

Aaron will also present data visualizations, animations, and a glimpse of the raw data of his two years of to-the-second GPS logs which provide the basis of the location-based augmented reality system. You can see a preview of some of the images here: http://aaronparecki.com/GPS_Visualization.

Hack Sessions at OSBridge

Build geoloqi with us at OSBridge!

Geoloqi Hack Sessions

All times are tentative. We're still ironing things out.

Who do we need? iPhone and Android developers. Back-end coders. PHP developers. Usability testers, UI developers, web developers and graphic designers. We need people to write documentation, bug test, and develop features. We need beta testers and beer and powerstrips.

Note: We'll have QR Code cupcakes one of the nights, inspired by Ariel Waldman

The Problem

You schedule a meeting for 3:00pm. You think it’s a precise time and expect the meeting to occur at that time.

But it doesn't. Really you get a 2:45 to 3:30 window of uncertainty. They could show up at any time within this window! UNCERTAINTY ENSUES.

When will they show up? This is an important question. There is no real way to know. This is frustrating!

Ah, the trials and tribulations of Co-location negotiation. Lets go over some of the common messages sent during a meeting attempt:

  • “On my way!” (What does that mean??)
  • “Almost there” “Stuck in traffic, will be 15 minute lates”
  • “Running late. 5 more minutes”
  • “Here! Where are you?”

It's even worse, because it's really difficult to bike or drive while sending text messages. Furthermore, these messages are redundant. They can be can be eliminated if the person waiting for the meeting knows where they other person is.

The Solution

Each user gets a real-time GPS map through E-mail or SMS a half-hour before the appointment. The map only lasts for 1 hour before expiring, so as to not compromise privacy.

How does it work?

A user's GPS-enabled phone sends data to the server at regular intervals. These points are used to create an accurate, real-time map that the other party can easily see.

What if two people have GPS-enabled phones?

Proximal messaging between @aaronpk and @caseorganic during co-location negotiation

Instead of having to look at a GPS map, the system detects when two people are a certain distance of one another. When the two users are a certain distance apart, an SMS message is sent to both parties.

A user can wrap up client work or finish what they are doing right up until the moment the other party gets there. I don’t have to waste time dealing with uncertainty. It’s the equivalent of “on my way” and “here”, the two most common co-location ‘drags’.

What's the key takeaway? Actions are reduced. Queries are eliminated.

A successful interface makes itself invisible

Like electricity in your house! A user does not see where the electricity is coming from. The electricity appears at the flip of a switch. It’s a push-button technology! But what if you didn’t have to push the button...?

Automatic Check-in with GPS and SMS

Social sharing platforms are hot, but they still require user action. This means that one still has to pause social flow to look down at a device, poke a few buttons, and check in. This is normal when one is around a tech-focused crowd, but should one still do this on a date? Or in the presence of a non-geek?

Automatic check-ins can occur based on a list of predefined areas. When you enter one of the areas, you are checked in.

If you draw a circle around your house, you can do neat things like control your lights when your GPS device enters or leaves the circumference of that circle.

For instance, if you plug your lights into a simple X10 module, your lights can turn on when you get home, and turn off when you leave. Basically, with GPS and SMS, you phone becomes a remote control for reality.


Leaving a Geonote

If you draw a circle that triggers an SMS when you enter it, you can leave yourself a note in a location. You can use Geonotes to communicate with your future self!

You might leave a note at the supermarket to remind you to pick up batteries, a note telling you what bus to take when you land in a foreign city. If you leave yourself transit directions at each point of the trip, there's no need for quering your E-mail account or Google Maps.

The data arrives geographically and contextually; it's right there when you need it. When becomes where.

Send @aaronpk or @caseorganic a Geonote:

Developing the standard for cross-platform location sharing

Interested? Want to help? Want to track yourself?

Hack Sessions at OSBridge

All times are tentative. Still ironing things out.


Sign up to beta test:


Augmented Reality and Geolocation have been hot topics this year, but there has often been a confusion between aesthetics vs. practicality, and fantasy vs. reality. This presentation will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of visual and non-visual augmented reality. We’ll tell stories from our experiences building location-aware social networks with custom proximity notification.

Speakers: Aaron Parecki, Amber Case

Return to this session's details

Contributed notes

Notes on what they said

Augmented reality isn't just about the visuals. Consider the "region of uncertainty" before a meeting, when you don't know if your colleague will be late / stuck in traffic / etc. "On my way" or "almost there" could mean anything. Do you have time to work on this other thing while you're waiting?

Wouldn't it be nice if your colleague's phone could SMS its location to you? If you know position and velocity, you know when they'll arrive. The result: the interface disappears. No redundant actions / queries. The same software could turn your lights on as you approach the house. Or automatically "check in" to certain locations for you. Or leave a note for yourself the next time you're at the store (see http://aaron.pk/geonotes). Finer-grained and less buggy than Google Latitude and other alternatives.

Introducing http://geoloqi.com. Kicking off the project at OSBridge. Looking for hackers. Have iPhone 4 prototype. It has an adjustable update frequency. (Idea: automatically update less frequently when you're at home / work, more frequently when you're on the road.) Will eventually have time-limited sharing, Android app, automated "I'm going to be late" messages, more.

From the audience

One attendee pointed out the paper Three Protocols for Location Privacy.