What’s up that Street? Exploring Streets Using a Haptic GeoWand

  • Ricky Jacob
  • Peter Mooney
  • Adam Winstanley
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


In this paper we describe a Location-based Service (LBS) ‘point to query’ system called Haptic GeoWand where we use the orientation of the user to retrieve information for that user along a given street. Haptic GeoWand provides the user with location, orientation, and distance information using varying vibration patterns. This helps to reduce the visual mobile interaction required from the user. With the textual description of query results we use the vibration alarm to provide haptic feedback to the user about the availability and distance to their desired points of interests (POI) along a particular path or street. To test the usability of Haptic GeoWand we developed two mobile prototypes – whereHaptics and whichHaptics. The distance to Point of Interest (POI) information is provided by the whereHaptics which uses vibration feedback of varying frequency to represent distance to the POI. The whichHaptics uses vibration alarms of varying frequency to deliver information about the density of features along a particular street. With our system we demonstrate that the user can point and query the availability of POI along the street which are not directly visible to them but are along the path he/she intends to take. After selecting a POI, the user can follow this route without increased cognitive burden of interaction with the mobile interface. The user is not required to constantly look at the mobile screen. Haptics has proven to be powerful notification technique used to convey quantitative information. To test the system we integrated this with OpenStreetMap as the spatial data source.


haptics orientation pointing gesture geowand 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricky Jacob
    • 1
  • Peter Mooney
    • 1
  • Adam Winstanley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceNational University of Ireland MaynoothMaynoothIreland

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