Saturday, September 09, 2017

Mapping and the Physical Web

I spent most of this morning hunting down 3D-printed creatures which were hiding in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. There are 15 of these creatures hidden around the park, which you can find with the Tales From the Park interactive map.

Tales of the Park is a new digital experience created by UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). Using an interactive map you can hunt down 15 3D-printed creatures which have been placed around the park. When you locate a creature you can even chat with it using your smartphone to learn more about the park.

If you have Bluetooth and location sharing on your smartphone the creatures will automatically send you a notification when you are in close proximity. Tales of the Park uses Google's Physical Web technology to send you these messages. This technology uses low energy Bluetooth beacons to connect you with the creatures over the internet. If you have the physical web option activated on your smartphone you automatically receive a notification which allows you to start chatting with the creature.

It is pretty good fun tracking down these creatures and chatting with them to learn more about the park. Tales of the Park is also a great example of how the Physical Web and Bluetooth beacons can be used to connect physical objects to the web. There is obviously a huge potential here for information to be attached to physical objects that passers-by can then access from their smartphones.

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