OZCHI 2008 [ http://www.ozchi.org/ ] was attended by over 130 delegates from Australia and overseas, and incorporated high quality papers, demos, workshops, tutorials, panels, and keynotes embedded in inspiring social activities and against the beautiful, tropical environment of Cairns and Palm Cove. The Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City [http://www.urbaninformatics.net/book/ ], was officially launched at OZCHI 2008 by my colleague Associate Professor Bharat Dave [ http://crida.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=40 ]. I could not have imagined a more appropriate person to launch the book, since Bharat’s transdisciplinary background spans the city and the technology aspects of urban informatics perfectly, and this is also demonstrated by his team’s work in the Critical Research in Digital Architecture [http://crida.net/ ] group at The University of Melbourne. The main prize of the raffle at the conference closing ceremony was a copy of the book, and Floyd Mueller [ http://floydmueller.com/ ] was the lucky winner. Congrats Floyd!

Posted by:  Marcus Foth


Sony Computer Science Laboratory’s (Paris) NoiseTube.net project aims to investigate how the general public uses their GPS-enabled mobile phones to participate in noise pollution monitoring.

Mobile phones are used as noise sensor devices, effectively creating a network of human sensors that can be used to inform urban dwellers about their personal noise pollution exposure.

Users are able to tag the quantitative data collected through their phone with qualitative data including information such as the activities that were taking place nearby and their feelings about the noise.

This geolocalised information will then be used to create real-time map-based visualisations of noise pollution.

NoiseTube has been created in the spirit of open participation and collaboration.

Its code is open source and its developers encourage feedback and new feature requests.

Instructions on how to participate in the project, which starts in Nov/Dec 2008, have been strategically placed on Instructables, effectively taking advantage of the site’s active community of interest and its radiating online social networks for distribution.

The project aims to generate findings that will be useful to citizens and their community, local government, urban planners, researchers and application developers, essentially creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

NoiseTube is representative of an emerging genre of research projects that can be described as “participatory urbanism” or “citizen science” (Paulos 2009).

Another notable project in this genre is Cityware (Kostakos and O’Neill 2009).

I discuss a set of design requirements for these emerging form of research tools in my OZCHI 2008 paper “Designing social tools for the bees, the buzz and the beehive” (Button 2008).

This paper aims to generate discussion in regard to a design intervention that can not only facilitate the collection, visualisation and analysis of data for researchers, but also promote social connectivity among diverse urban residents.

Many questions remain to be answered about these exciting developments.

For example:

•    How can we motivate diverse participants?
•    How can we overcome public concerns in relation to privacy and surveillance?
•    How can such a system be designed to be socially inclusive in a highly diverse urban environment?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts…


Button, A. 2008. Designing social tools for the bees, the buzz and the beehive. In: Australasian
Computer-Human Interaction Conference 2008, 8-12 December 2008. Cairns, Queensland, Australia: James Cook University.

Kostakos, V. and E. O’Neill. 2009. Cityware: Urban computing to bridge online and real-world
social networks. In Handbook of research on urban informatics: The practice and promise of the real-time city, ed. M. Foth, 196-205. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, Information Science Reference.

Paulos, E. 2009. Citizen science: Enabling participatory urbanism. In Handbook of research on
urban informatics: The practice and promise of the real-time city, ed. M. Foth, 414-436.
Hershey, PA: IGI Global, Information Science Reference.

Posted By:  Angela Button

It’s been quiet in blog land this week, only a couple of things to report.

One interesting post on “Thoughts on Architecture” called
“ShowCase: The Mondri and Elano Hotel”
ShowCase is an on-going feature on this blog; it often posts about new and exciting work from designers that represent all creative fields and all geographies relating to Architecture.


Recently Angela Button emailed us all about “Mapmania” and “I feel London” here is their links again.

Will 2009 be the year in which all things ‘contextual’, ‘app’, ‘local’, ‘urban’, ‘tags’, ‘lidar’, ‘smartphone’, ‘convenience’, ‘Cell ID’, ‘spontaneity’, ‘infolust’, and ‘GPS’ come together in one orgasmic celebration of map-based tracking, finding, knowing and connecting?

Mood maps for London, New York and Toronto. Find things to do when you are feeling X.

Posted by: Joel Fredericks

A couple of interesting post this week in the land of blogs, first one that I came across was “Mobilisable at Arts Deco In Paris” posted on “Pasta & Vinegar” 3rd Decemeber 2008. This was a conference held in Paris called “Mobilisable” that was organised at the “Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs”.  Nicolas Nova the author of “Pasta & Vinegar” attended the conference; his post discusses how the conference was a scientific and art event focussing on mobility and the hybirdization of technologies, environments, objects and people.  Nicolas further discusses how the event highlighted issues relating to interaction design, new media art and new mapping forms.
There is a detailed  report of the conference posted on Nicolas’s blog, check it out.

Secondly Dan Hill from the “City of Sound” blog had a post back on August 22, 2008 about wi-fi at the State Library of Queensland called “Post-occupancy evaluations of public wi-fi”.  Dan was researching the usage patterns of wi-fi from various quantitative and qualitative perspectives.  His recent post on November 08, 2008 called “Wi-fi structures and people shapes” (http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2008/11/wi-fi-structure.html) follows up on his initial research where he has collaborated a series of sketch ups showing constructed snapshots of wi-fi signal strength around the library.

Posted by: Joel Fredericks

I came across these two You Tube posts, I know its not directly related to our research however I thought it was interesting.

The Informatics Forum is a new building for the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.  This building was specifically designed for interaction; it incorporates aesthetically pleasing views with large open spaces for people to interact and communicate.

The Informatics Forum is a centre for innovation, interaction and research that creates an environment for creative thinking and communication.  The facilities available for this building include meeting rooms for workshops, recording studios and a robotics centre, just to name a few.
Check out the two You Tube videos I have posted below and hopefully this would have been of some interest to you.

Posted by: Joel Fredericks

The University of Melbourne

Strategic Innovation Research Project

New digital technologies (such as interactive internet applications, video-enabled mobile phones and iPods) are changing the way local, national and global histories are created and presented for public education and enjoyment. Tours of cities, monuments and landscapes are now beginning to be enhanced by interpretive materials downloaded to widely-owned mobile devices; including archival photographs, maps, oral history recordings and dramatic reconstructions, alongside conventional text narratives. In this way, the narration of places through the telling of informative stories and histories is undergoing a transformation and raising new historiographical and curatorial questions.

Further details available at: http://mobilehistory.crida.net/

Making Links 2008: Community – Responsibility – Sustainability
the conference where social action and technology converge

11th – 14th November 2008 at The University of Melbourne

Only 20 sleeps before the conference begins – register now at:

Horse Bazaar Digital Arts Festival, Tuesday 11th November
We are very pleased to showcase exciting and engaging community
produced films and digital stories at the Horse Bazaar digital bar,
Tuesday 11th November 6pm. This should be a great night, with diverse
viewing entertainment plus opportunities to network amongst pizza and
drinks aplenty. While the exact program is yet to be confirmed,
contributors of films include the Australian Centre for the Moving
Image (ACMI), Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), Vibewire’s
Reelife youth film festival, and Straight Arrows, a service for HIV
positive heterosexuals and their families in Victoria. Tickets are
$15. Register at http://www.makinglinks.org.au/ to ensure your seat.
Remaining tickets (if any) will be available at the door.

Intensive Web Day, Friday 14th November
We only have limited space for participants in the intensive web day
on Friday November 14. Register now so you don’t miss out. The final
program is now available on the Making Links website. The day will
cost $66 (Including GST) if you are also registering for Making Links,
and $110 (including GST) if you are not.

About Making Links
The Making Links Conference is Australia’s leading forum for the not-
for-profit and community sectors to showcase their work and to explore
current and emerging new media and information and communications
technology. This year Making Links is focusing on how technology can
enhance and support social inclusion. For more information about
Making Links, visit the website at http://www.makinglinks.org.au/

Making Links Conference venue is disability accessible.

Conference Chair
Jill Sergeant, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)

Organising Committee
Marcus Foth, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of
Nathan Frick, Vibewire
Simon Gee, DonorTec / Connecting Up
Sriram Guddireddigari, Infoxchange Australia
Jonathan Hallett, WA Centre for Health Promotion Research, Curtin
University of Technology
Jason King, Consultant
Liliana Ruti, Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE)
Dinna Tayao, Infoxchange Australia