Mobile, mapping, neighbourhoods and Neolithic rock art

What I really like about Museums and the Web is the variety, so from Information seeking I jumped straight into Mobile and issues of geolocation. As people are accessing museum data wherever and whenever they like, it has huge implications on the ways in museums work, the models they use, and the projects they create.

The first project looked at building a community platform for sharing history and mapping it.   PhilaPlace is really nice actually, it created resources to showoff  the history and culture of Philadelphia’s unique neighbourhoods, by connecting stories to places.  Its interesting to see how a community curated content can be situated to give a really sense of place.

The second project is from the RAMP project, based at Newcastle University and looks at Neolithic rock art in Northumberland.  I love the cup and ring marks up there.  They are such beautiful, integrating carvings in the middle of nowhere. So the idea of using situating Cultural Technologies Outdoors to provide mobile interpretation of them is brilliant.

Here are some of my quick and dirty notes:

  • Natural environment of Northumberland not actively managed for visitors, complex land ownership. Interpretation is very limited.  Hardly any signs but there is rich digital documentation.
  • Visitors are Opportunistic, often coming across rock art by chance without any expectation and preparation for them.  Does lead to repeat visits
  • Alleged lack is signal for mobiles, but project found that it was workable coverage
  • Why mobile? Situated, opportunistic engagement, flexible self paced, no new infrastructure required
  • Idea of Bring your own device
  • Phenomenology – Situate digital tech in the landscape
  • Empathy in design Is about being able to imaginatively construct the world from another persons perspective.  But how do you translate empathy into design?
  • Visiting rock art- findability, sense of self, sense of place, desire for speculation
  • Intuitive navigation, Map a central to navigation, plus textual descriptions
  • And panel confirmation- not geo located, triggered by visitor
  • Space for speculation: dialogical style
  • Space for speculation: archaeological ambiguity
  • Dialogical content and space for speculation via questions
  • Resource intensive but ultimately rewarding process for all involved – Opportunities to build relationships
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