Supporting Running Navigation through Social Media

We often engage in navigation where there is no known destination, wandering around an unfamiliar place without a clear objective in mind, only hoping we can get back to where we started.  Whilst a common form of navigation, occuring in a number of difference scenarios, there isn’t a lot of work investigating such undirected navigation, or how to support it. 

My CHI 2013 WiP investigates how undirected navigation occurs and can be supported for Runners. Through questionnaires and focus groups I identified how runners plan and carry out running in familiar and unfamiliar places. These exposed that running was often unplanned and undirected, with runners constantly “foraging” the environment to identify a good direction to run. Yet, there was also a need to support the navigation techniques runners employed.

From these, we developed RunNav: a visualisation, running on a smart watch, that categorises the environment around the user in terms of its suitability for running. Using foursquare data, areas around the user are classified as red (bad area for running) to green (good area for running). In this way RunNav provides at a glance awareness of the immediate area categorised according to the user’s task. Future work will involve long term evaluations as well as applying RunNav to other undirected navigation scenarios.

RunNav furthers my research into the ways that geo-tagged media in and around the user’s current location can be used to support richer and deeper engagement with the physical environment. The poster will be presented on Wednesday and Thursday at CHI 2013 in Paris, and the abstract is available here.

Sony smartwatch RunNav Overlay

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