In our post a few days ago on location aware devices we speculated that next few years will see more and more devices launching with integrated GPS units and with these we expect to see a lot more location aware services.
Location aware services are a very simple concept – all that is required is a GPS reading to load up the relevant media and you have a system that provides information dependent on a users position. With this in mind Hewlett Packard in conjunction with FutureLab have released Mediascape. Mediascape is free software which allows the development of simple location based information applications. The movie below from Hewlett Packard explains the concept:
Mediascape is described as a ‘series of composed of sounds and images placed outside in your local area. To see the images and hear the sounds you need a handheld computer (PDA) and a pair of headphones. An optional GPS unit can automatically trigger the images and sounds in the right places’.
To create a mediascape, you start with a digital map of your local area. Using special, free software, you can attach digital sounds and pictures to places that you choose on the map (see below).
By going outside into the area the map covers, you can experience the mediascape. Using the handheld computer and headphones, you can hear the sounds and see the pictures in the places the author of the mediascape has put them’.
Of interest is the emphasis on education, combining GIS with a PDA and sounds/images prerecorded by a teacher opens up a lot of possibilities for the teaching of geography and history.
You can download the software free of charge and create your own Mediascape.
For a lot more info on the teaching of geography using digital means take a look at the Digital Geography Blog.
Let us know if you have used the software for any urban teaching…