Geographic ‘Place’ and ‘Community Information’ Preferences
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People dynamically structure social interactions and activities at various locations in their environments in specialized types of places such as the office, home, coffee shop, museum and school. They also imbue various locations with personal meaning, creating group ‘hangouts’ and personally meaningful ‘places’. Mobile location-aware community systems can potentially utilize the existence of such ‘places’ to support the management of social information and interaction. However, acting effectively on this potential requires an understanding of how: (1) places and place-types relate to people’s desire for place-related awareness of and communication with others; and (2) what information people are willing to provide about themselves to enable place-related communication and awareness. We present here the findings from two qualitative studies, a survey of 509 individuals in New York, and a study of how mobility traces can be used to find people’s important places in an exploration of these questions. These studies highlight how people value and are willing to routinely provide information such as ratings, comments, event records relevant to a place, and when appropriate their location to enable services. They also suggest how place and place-type data could be used in conjunction with other information regarding people and places so that systems can be deployed that respect users’ People-to-People-to-Places data sharing preferences. We conclude with a discussion on how ‘place’ data can best be utilized to enable services when the systems in question are supported by a sophisticated computerized user-community social-geographical model.