[Locative Media] Why geo-annotating location?
The blog Future Now dealt with the use of geotagging. I have always been amazed by this topic, especially with regard to how people will use it. There are many projects like Urban Tapestries, GeoNotes, Mauro's projects... The author proposes a kind of typology of geotagging uses (listen mauro!): There are 2 types of messages: "I was here" or "You are here".
People will take the time to compose a message and tag that message to a place because they want you to know that they were there, or because they have information that will be relevant to you later when you're in the same location, or some combination of both.
And then, each of those 2 categories could be divided in:
the "I was here" motivation will be largely emotionally driven. Examples: 'This is the place where he proposed'; 'I needed to mark the spot where occurred'; 'I'm a tourist and really having a great time'; even 'I lost a bet, as part of my payoff I have to mark the spot where..'. Ultimately, these types of annotations are still meant for other people -- what is the sound of an unread geo-annotation? -- but the value for the viewer will largely be to participate in someone else's experience and get a sense of the unrecorded history of a place. (...) The "You are here" motivation for leaving physically-tagged messages would seem to offer more utility for both person tagging and person viewing. Examples: geo-personals ('if you're in this location, you might be my type'); geo-classifieds ('if you're here on this bike trail, you might want to buy the bike I'm selling'); announcements ('if you're here, you might want to come to my event'); community organizing ('we're often here...if you are too, join us next time'); tips/assistance/warnings ('if you're here at night, be extra careful', or 'here's what worked for me...'); lost&found ('if you're here, do you see the bracelet I lost?'); temporary notes ('if you're here, we were here...an hour ago! now we're at the party'); gaming and scavenger hunts (even incorporating features of the location -- imagine GeoEverQuest in Central Park); and filling in gaps left by other annotations ('Did you know that this spot will be the site of Starfleet Headquarters? I bet *that* isn't on the official geo-tour!').
I fully agree with the conclusions of the author: there are 2 crux issues: interface and people's adoption. The system is so related to people's use that it needs a critical mass of users (the system itself does nothing, it's just a kind-of shell that allow a new type of interaction).
peterme argues that the author is wrong. He discusses the notion of doing stuff for yourself or for the others. He takes the example of del.icio.us. Why would you want to annotate space for yourself? For whatever reasons you would use del.icio.us. While del.icio.us thrives as a "social bookmark" site, it depends on the me-ness of the activity -- by and large, I'm saving items to del.icio.us that interest me, that I might want to return to later, and the posting-for-others aspect is largely secondary. It's an added benefit, but not the raison d'etre. (...) In fact, I would argue that if people are annotating space only to serve others, it will never, or only rarely, happen. What do I care what some stranger 8 months from now thinks about what I wrote at the corner of New Montgomery and Market in San Francisco? What on earth could I possibly say that's meaningful to them? What benefit do I derive by acting as a tour guide to a stranger?