Simon’s Backup Weblog


Pimp our other blog: Imaging the City.

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 25, 2007

Over at IT Pro I’ve been writing about Danyel Fisher’s “How we watch the city” paper. It’s a fascinating look at how we can use geographical search data to see how places grab our attention. I’m becoming more and more fascinated by the idea of “attention”, and how we can work with collections of attention data. I suspect it’s going to become one of the key approaches to understanding interaction context.

I’ve been reading a fascinating paper by Danyel Fisher, of Microsoft Research. He’s one of the folk behind the SNARF email triage tool, and is currently looking at how people use online maps.

“How we watch the City” is surprisingly beautiful (in the way many computer-mediated visualisations are). To show how people and searches gravitate to specific places he’s created an application that draws a heat map over Microsoft’s Virtual Earth, letting him zoom into the “hottest” searches, bright clusters that illuminate the virtual space of the search engine. With access to the services search logs, he can show just how searches relate to geography.

Here’s one of his images, a look at how map searches of Las Vegas focus on the Strip.

Our eyes are bright in the digital world.

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