Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How? These are all some things to consider while assessing GeoGraffiti, and all it may have to offer.
GeoGraffiti has been described as a free verbal message board for exchanging location-specific community information. From any mobile phone, GeoGraffiti enables the user to “mark” real world places by publishing a Voice Mark message. These Voice Marks are made in 100% voice form and are linked to a locality using a zip-code, or geo-tagged to an exact spot on earth using coordinates.
The name GeoGraffiti is a combination of the prefix “Geo”, meaning earth or land, representing our location-specific focus, while “Graffiti” represents the expressive and informative content marking those locations. GeoGraffiti is in public beta, providing its service via a phone call to (213) 221-3802, or online via its Google Maps mashup. The online map is made available so that desktop-bound web surfers can easily search for and create Voice Marks in relation to their social network and community.
The image above shows the very first Voice Mark, which announces the launch of GeoGraffiti’s beta startup.
In addition to announcements, GeoGraffiti users can share information such as advice, opinions, warnings, etc. This information could prove useful to someone else who might be in that same location in the present, or the future tense. What if you just had the best meal that you have ever had in a restaurant and wanted to share your experience with other food lovers? This seems to be the angle that has some advertisers and business owners looking deeper into the possible opportunities of this service. How will GeoGraffiti address the issue of spammers if, and when, their application becomes more widely used or abused?
While providing some selective and customizable informational needs, GeoGraffiti is a community-driven voice platform, designed to collect and organize the public’s “wisdom of crowds” intelligence. Allowing the user to combine their real-time thoughts with the collective knowledge of the creative, it is being described as a free form creation whose reason for being is up to the user to decide. There is not much for content yet, but the designers want to encourage everyone to make this a community research and learning project, similar to Wikipedia.
In 2002 Paul de Armond, research director at the Public Good Project, described an event in which mobile, location specific information, had a huge real-time effect over a group of people:
The potential of mobile, locative media to affect the threshold for collective action is also giving rise to a kind of intelligent crowd phenomenon in which people are organizing spontaneous events via text messaging from street performances to political protests, popularly known as ‘flashmobs’. Flashmobbing was arguably first, and most famously used as a civilian technology when, in 1999, a loose association of protest groups used their cell phones to evade a police force who were synchronized by a single dispatcher, thereby disrupting the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle…
GeoGraffiti welcomes any questions or suggestions, as this is a community based learning project, and these can be addressed on the website. One can also find a list of FAQs, and a very informative video demonstration of the service.