I am here.

I would like to propose a mobile application/or feature that enables people to share public transportation routes and their current locations, as a spatial intelligence model: I am here.

The idea is actually triggered by a problem: how to let your contacts know about your location while using public transportation. When you’re staying on the subway with your hands full, it’s not efficient to try to find a connection to let people where you are before a meeting. There must be an easier way to manage this. On the one hand, we have the technology of location determination and sharing via some softwares such as Find my Friend and Uber (1)(2). On the other hand, the MTA already offers a mobile application that enables route planning and location tracking. So, why don’t we have an application which allows us to share your public transportation route with your contacts just by a swipe and click?

So, how does it relate to the idea of smartness?

– It is managerial.

Because it is based on decision making. There are two ways to apply this idea. It can be an independent application or it can be added to MTA’s application as a feature. Also, you can use it either by creating an account to keep your data in application or using it occasionally by typing the contact number rather than transferring your data of contact list.

– It is connective.

In many ways. It connects people by sharing location, which is a highly intimate way of sharing. By allowing to share it with more than one person, it creates various networks by translating types of data. Also, its system is based on the subway map, which is a literal network itself.

– It is communally conscious and safe.

Since it is totally based on the user’s will and choice, it respects privacy. It doesn’t track location if you don’t share it. Also, it doesn’t collect or distribute the data of the location. This is also the point that it differentiates it from Find My Friend, which allows your contacts on the application to track you all the time. Being safe with your own zone is pretty hard in this age of surveillance. I am here helps to make you feel safe, by letting the ones that you choose to know where you are. Also, it keeps you safe by protecting your most private information.

– It is ergonomic.

The interface is simple and user friendly; one swipe – choose your contacts and click. As I have mentioned earlier, it is much easier trying to find a connection to text someone while standing on the subway carrying a lot of stuff and probably a coffee.

– It is expressive.

Even though it seems so simple, it is expressive inherently. It is based on you as an individual; your location, your route, your decision, your contacts. And it is all about expressing you.

– It is archival.

You can create your own travelling archive by creating an account. In this archive, you can store all the information of your public transportation data including your shared status.

What are the weaknesses of it?

Even though wi-fi is available on many subway stations in New York City, it is still not a very strong connection. There might be some disconnections during the process, which might effect the operation of data transfer. Also, as an indicator of smartness, the application should be adaptable. It should be applicable to other transportation systems of another cities around the world.

This is the dimension which is waiting to be explored for now.

1 Comment

  1. What I like about this platform is both its specificity, and it being generated from our everyday life. In that sense, such a platform already taps into complex situations that are generated in//by our urban life.

    Regarding the Wi-Fi issue, can such a platform benefit from peer to peer communication technology (such as mesh networking which relies on peer-to-peer communication between devices instead of connecting through Wi-Fi or an Internet data plan). Examples of this include the FireChat app, which has been used in cases of dissent where the internet connection as well as cell phone service were shut down on purpose.

    So perhaps this idea can develop by pushing each of its intelligences to their limit (in the above case, it being communally conscious and safe as well as connective).

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