Posts Tagged ‘geotagging’

Augmented memories – Thoughts on QR codes on headstones

Posted on: September 7th, 2012 by Fransgaard 5 Comments

A colleague of mine, Ed Fowler, posted a link to an article on BBC about QR codes on gravestones linking to memorial webpages. Ed wasn’t keen in the idea and other people have voiced their concerns as well.

I think this is a fantastic idea with some amazing possibilities.

A new world of digital memorials

Social media is fast becoming a facet of our lives rather than being a separate digital world. Our digital selves are becoming part of our lives so naturally death, being part of life, is becoming part of social media as well.

In 2009 Facebook introduced the possibility to create memorial Facebook pages for deceased users. A clear sign of a maturity of the industry. Another example is BoingBoing journalist Xeni Jardin who is sharing her experiences fighting cancer on Instagram.

And the older the population becomes online, the more relevant it becomes to deal with serious issues like death and dangerous illnesses online.

Why QR on gravestones is a good and possibly therapeutic idea

With easy access to digital cameras and camcorders we have more content of people than ever before. It can be argued that vast amount of photos, videos, sound files etc may slow down the process of “letting go”, but speaking from personal experiences I for one am thankful for all the media available to me of deceased family members and friends.

Attaching these digital memories to a QR code on a gravestone makes a lot of sense to me as it collects these memories in one physical place which was always designed for remembrance: The graveyard.

It gives people a time and a place to revisit these memories leaving them space at home to move on with their lives without feeling guilty.

Why stop with a web page? Augmented memories

But why stop with a web page? Augmented reality equipment is fast becoming commonplace either on smart phones or initiatives like Google’s Project Glass so wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to attach virtual reality memories to a QR code as well?

In the second book “Spook Country” in William Gibson’s amazing “Blue Ant Trilogy” the protagonist is confronted with a world of locative art, augmented reality art attached to specific physical locations.

When I first read this I thought it would be an amazing art project to attach augmented reality art to the global geo-tagging treasure hunt hobby, Geocaching, but reading the BBC article I can see this idea work with the QR decorated gravestones.

The dangers

Ofcourse medling with peoples grief is a delicate matter and I recognise there are dangers of “memorial trolls”, defacing or other digital vandalism. I for one think it is no different that idiots kicking over gravestones.

Real life vandalism hasn’t stopped us from using gravestones or have fond memories of loved ones by visiting them. And while digital vandalism is easier to commit (and commit remotely), I also believe it that a secure environment can be create to protect digital memorials.

The new Instagram map has killed my desire to geotag my Instagrams

Posted on: August 23rd, 2012 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

Recently Instagram added the “Photo Map” feature to Instagram. As I have been maintaining two hobby maps for years (London Restaurants and Japan Travels) I initially liked the idea and migrated all my Instagram photos to the new Photo Map.

But then I realised two things:

  1. I’m not looking at other people’s Photo Maps.
  2. I don’t use geotagging on Instagram THAT way.

What way?

To me a map is a tool displaying items with a long-term value; for example a museum or a restaurant. If it doesn’t have long-term value the map itself becomes useless as it sends people to items that have come and gone.

For example if I have put an Olympic event on a map a person finding that on the map in a few years will gain nothing from it other that it will clutter the map with noise obscuring the items that DO still exist and have a value.

Even if I did curate my Photo Map I would just be maintaining an extra map. I’d rather I could pinpoint selected Instagrams directly to my Google Maps so all geotagged information I produce was held in the same place.

I use geotagging in Instagram rather differently

With Instagram I will geotag events rather than places, so for example I walked past a big ‘A’ being painted yesterday. Normally I would geotag this in case somebody nearby is interested in big ‘A’s. I would not put it on a map though as I suspect this ‘A’ won’t be around for long. It is relevant now as it is happening right now.

But Instagram has removed my ability to geotag

That’s when it hit me: I can no longer geotag photos on the fly on Instagram unless I put it on the Photo Map! Which I don’t want to do for the reasons above.

Suddenly Instagram has lost some of its value to me by adding a feature!

I have been worried about where Instagram would be heading after Facebook bought it. While Facebook has stated they will let instagram run separately I am sure the Instagram team feel under pressure to “evolve” (and I am using that term very loosely) as fast as Facebook changes their interface.

What do you think about the Photo Map? Are you actually using yours or visiting other people’s Photo Maps at all?