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I have now moved into a different area for my dissertation to coinside with my project. I am researching into Social Navigation and in particular Digital Graffiti.

Social Enhancement of Physical Space

When the internet first became part of everyone’s lives, people talked up cyberspace as some sort of alternative global space, a new frontier where distance was dead and you were free to associate with like minds around the world. Where you were in the real world wasn’t important and had no meaning.
Now, things are beginning to move in the opposite direction. People are beginning to see that location is important and that linking the net to the real world may open up all sorts of interesting possibilities. A location-enhanced web will get people out of the house and give them new ways to interact with the world around them. The net might be a tool for localisation as much as for globalisation.

Social navigation examines how we navigate information spaces in “real” and “virtual” environments, how we orient and guide ourselves, and how we interact with and use others to find our way in information spaces. This approach brings a new way of thinking about how we design information spaces, emphasising our need to see others, collaborate with them, and follow the trails of their activities in these spaces.

Location-based information systems allow the user to access information in relation to the user’s position in geographical space. This paper will outline navigational and social aspects of such systems. It is argued that location-based systems must allow users to participate as content providers in order to achieve a social and dynamic information space. Moreover, as these systems allow commercial and private users to annotate space with information on a mass-scale, information filtering techniques will become essential in order to prevent information overload and user disturbance. Simply put, in the real world graffiti is a major problem and if it was made legal then surely over time it would become an amalgamation of tags overlapping each other into one huge undecipherable mess.