Hackathon was a success!

“Digitalkoot” (digital + talkoot) was a mixture of coding hack day, GUI prototyping, and event idea generation. Four tracks focused on different themes supporting development of the Siivouspäivä flea market day concept: Video, Mobile app coding + interface design, Event “How to…” Guidebook, and Stories.

Here I’ll mention just a few emerging ideas and how they relate to the CoMeUp platform:

  • A digital prototype for a Siivouspäivä mobile app was developed by drawing data and code from the Siivouspäivä website and the CoMeUp map-based web app. Designers of the event-specific Siivouspäivä app considered differences between vendors’ and shoppers’ perspectives. Some interactions, such as registering your marketplace before the event, are a priority for vendors. Other interactions, such as searching for items on the event day, are a priority for shoppers. While these interactions are supported by the same data sets, they must be represented differently (yet also be visually related) in the interface. The CoMeUp framework is suitable to use as a general basis for georeferenced media sharing.

One of the mobile track groups in action

  • The stories track discussed non-digital interactions that take place during Siivouspäivä. For example, face-to-face conversations between vendors and shoppers bring added value to items for sale and to the event experience. A price tag was designed that would encourage vendors to attach a comment to things they are selling. CoMeUp could support archiving, tracking, and browsing these spontaneous interactions that bring special energy to urban public spaces.
The price tag design

The price tag design

  • A unique aspect of events like Siivouspäivä is that corners of the city normally hidden to those who are not local residents are shared with visitors. Some people even open their private homes or work spaces. Discovery of these “hidden” gems of urban culture  could be facilitated or archived using CoMeUp. Because the simple CoMeUp interface supports easy browsing and sharing of large amounts of georeferenced media, users can quickly gather qualitative impressions about local characteristics beyond the practical understanding of where points are situated on the map. The CoMeUp interface could be used to suggest interesting routes or for individuals to create personal journals during the day.
  • The mobile app track and Stories track both generated ideas related to color-coded filtering of georeferenced data. Colors could be used to designate routes through the city, user-defined sets of interesting locations, etc. Color-coding has not yet been integrated into the CoMeUp prototype. It could be useful to consider using color, for example, to define groups, media sets, locations, or routes.
Ideas for a color-coded story path

Ideas for a color-coded story path

A big big thanks to all participants to the hackathon!

Citizen Toolkit

CoMeUp was initiated to address topics of community-generated georeferenced media collection and sharing (particularly in urban spaces). This general idea has relevance to topics such as citizen science, community-organised events and services, community informatics, and participatory urban planning.

One of the outcomes of the Aalto Media Factory funded CoMeUp project are seeds for a citizen toolkit, which is currently being further developed as the part of the Kansalaisen Työkalupakki project funded by the Innovative City® Programme. The toolkit is maintained on the Helsinki Neighbourhoods Association (Helka ry:n) web server.

Kansalaisen Työkalupakki is designed to continually receive contributions of digital tools available for public use. Example cases in which one of the tools has been used are also documented on the Kansalaisen Työkalupakki site. If you use CoMeUp or any of the other tools, you might consider adding a description of your use case to the examples page.

The Citizen toolkit prototype on Helka ry's website

The Citizen toolkit prototype on Helka ry’s website

The toolkit will be actively tested during spring 2013 with various users such as members of HePo. If you are interested in joining testing during this time, please contact Sirkku Wallin (sirkku.wallin(at)aalto.fi). Welcome!

Work with urban communities

During the past week we’ve introduced the CoMeUp system in two small workshops for Helsinki citizen activists and urban environment interest groups. Participants included members of Kotikaupunkipolut walking paths group, HePo Helsinki cyclists group, and Pohjois-Haaga neighborhood association. In these sessions, paper and digital prototypes of mobile and desktop interfaces supported informal dialogue and idea generation. Participants reflected on existing mobile tools they have used (such as the augmented reality app Wikitude and locative media collections that use Citynomadi). They also shared printed materials (maps and guide books) that have been used by their groups.

Some conclusions from the workshops:

1. CoMeUp supports small communities that need to collaboratively document the urban environment. The features developed so far for the CoMeUp platform, such as supporting all types of media collections (photos, audio, video), collaborative commenting, and possibility to export media in various formats, have been deemed useful. New features could be developed, such as:

  • The possibility to import existing data sets (such as public services or commute information), so that they could be supplemented with community-specific knowledge and media using CoMeUp.
  • The possibility to include media to the comments.

2. There is a need for sustainable project-based research. Projects such as CoMeUp need to develop better models for sustainability after project funding ends. For example, taking into consideration revenue logic should be addressed early on. There could be an interesting role for municipalities in providing services for supporting urban communities in maintaining platforms relevant to their activities.

Finally, we also briefly discussed the Citizen Toolkit activities that were kick-started as part of the CoMeUp project and received funding for this coming year from the Innovatiivinen kaupunginosa project.