Funology 2 pp 225-240 | Cite as

Reorienting Geolocation Data Through Mischievous Design

  • Ben KirmanEmail author
  • Conor Linehan
  • Shaun Lawson
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


The increasing capability of smart mobile devices to use geolocation and networking has resulted in a proliferation of digital mobile computing services that respond to the social and physical places we visit as we move through the world. This chapter reports and comments on a series of four provocative design projects undertaken in order to better understand location data as material comprising complex social, psychological, and physical properties, and to problematise the growing trend of services uncritically built upon these data. We describe how approaching these goals in a playful and mischievous manner allowed us to explore surprising, jarring or under-reported qualities of geolocation data. In each project, the design process began with ideation around the subversion of stereotypical uses of this data. Working prototypes were designed and implemented using contemporary hardware and software services. Through playing, using, or reading about these prototypes in the media, participants raised new questions and new concerns about how location data is mediated by smart devices, which were developed further in subsequent projects. We believe that this series of projects highlights the value of mischief and fun as a valid design position through which to explore sociocultural aspects of new technologies.



Special thanks to Andrew Garbett, the lead developer on Fearsquare, and all other former members of the Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre (LiSC).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of YorkYork, EnglandUK
  2. 2.University College CorkCorkRepublic of Ireland
  3. 3.Northumbria UniversityNewcastle upon Tyne, EnglandUK

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