Category Archives: research

The physical demands of Lemons racing

Fatigue – that’s a word you hear being thrown about a lot at endurance racing events. We know that as drivers do long stints behind the wheel, fatigue starts setting in and the lap times start to drop steadily. But the $64,000 question is how long can a driver stay out on track without compromising the performance of his/her car or the safety of the other competitors. People keep throwing around the statistic of F1 drivers having an average heart rate of 170 bpm for the 90 odd minute duration of the race. That data might be useful for a young fit F1 driver who spends the entire duration of the race on the ragged edge, but is not very relevant to the average Lemons driver who is generally older, considerably less fit, often drives longer stints and (speaking for myself) is generally well under the limit?… Read the rest

What is Mobile Spatial Interaction?

Helping organize the Mobile Spatial Interaction (MSI) workshop at CHI 2007 has made me very sensitive to the usage of the term MSI. Most people see Mobile and Spatial attached to Interaction and immediately start talking about location aware applications and services. However as someone who has spent the last few years working on location-aware applications, I have always felt that MSI and location-aware apps are two slightly different classes of research. As a result I’ve been spending some time thinking about how to define MSI as well as understanding how it differs (if it differs at all) from the current of location aware applications.… Read the rest

Vannevar Bush Best Paper Award

Vannevar Bush Best Paper Award JCDL 2007
Our paper titled “World Explorer: Visualizing Aggregate Data from Unstructured Text in Geo-Referenced Collections” just won the Vannevar Bush Best Paper Award at JDCL 2007. A big thanks to my co-authors Shane Ahern, Mor Naaman and Jeannie Yang for all their help in both building the system and writing the paper – it was a great joint effort. You can read the paper, see the demo or look at my slides below.

Judith Bush has a report about my presentation as well.… Read the rest

Talking at Ricoh: What’s in a place?

The following is the abstract of a talk I will be giving at the Ricoh California Research Center on Monday (11-Jun-07)

What’s in a place: Using geotagged images to explore the world
Can we automatically create an “attraction map” of the world from Flickr geotagged images and their associated tags? We performed an analysis of Flickr data and developed a visualization technique called Tag Maps to do exactly that. Using the analysis and the Tag Maps visualization, we created an exploration tool called World Explorer that allows one to, well, explore the world like never before.

The idea behind the data analysis is simple: by taking a photo, photographers essentially express their interest in a particular place, and implicitly “vote” in favor of that location.… Read the rest

TagMaps is live

TagMaps is the latest research project to come out of my group at YRB. It is a visualization technique that displays text on geographic maps. TagMaps can be used to communicate characteristics of location-based data in an easy-to-understand way. The World Explorer in particular uses TagMaps to display Flickr tags that denote the ‘important’ tags in any given geographical area. You can play with it at

I built much of the back end for the system and am in charge of the data apis that we uses. If you want to play with this API for yourself I suggest you head over to either the Yahoo Developer Network or to the TagMaps Yahoo group.… Read the rest

GPS mapping tools [Orig posted: 03/06/2005]

I have been spending a lot of time looking for various bits of software that will allow me to visually inspect the huge GPS dataset we have collected as part of the MMM project. Here is a quick listing of software that will hopefully save someone else some time 🙂

1)USAPhotomaps: a freeware tool written by Doug Cox that will display GPS route and waypoint information over maps and aerial photos that it downloads from the USGS and the MS Terraserver. It also can display USGS points of interest along with TIGER streets information. A triumph of freeware with available source code though no licensing information is mentioned.Read the rest

Heuristic Evaluation Checklist [Orig posted: 11/02/2005 10:26:55]

I was browsing through the STC Usability SIG when I found a wonderful heuristic evaluation checklist. I especially like the arrangement where it is broken up into
1. Visibility of System Status (29 points)
2. Match Between System and the Real World (24 points)
3. User Control and Freedom (23 points)
4. Consistency and Standards(51 points)
5. Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover From Errors (21 points)
6. Error Prevention (15 points)
7. Recognition Rather Than Recall (40 points)
8. Fexibility and Minimalist Design (16 points)
9. Aesthetic and Minimalist Design (12 points)
10. Help and Documentation (23 points)
11.… Read the rest

Interview Tips [Orig Posted: 11/02/2005 10:11:55]

Cooper design has a couple of online “take home” style questions as part of its recruitment process. They are an interesting read and can serve as a good warm up for a prospective interview. The positions are
Interaction Designer (pdf)
Design Communication(pdf)
Interaction designer(pdf)

Chauncey Wilson, the moderator of STC Usability SIG has compiled and shared this list of interview questions with his community. Most ar3e pretty standard but some are really thought provoking (eg: A participant in a lab study has been struggling on the same task for a long time. What would you say to get them to move on to the next question?)

1.… Read the rest