Improving the Way-CyberParks Monitoring Tool: Augmented Reality and Behavioural Mapping

Alfonso Bahillo
May 11th – May 31st, 2015

As part of COST Action TU1306 activities is development and research of the applicability in public spaces of ICT tools which serves as the interface between the public space and the people.
On the one hand, these interfaces could help public space designers to catch the perception, demand, attention or complaints of people visiting a public space. On the other, the people could use these interfaces to enhance their visit with contextual information, games or socialising.
The aim of this STSM has been highlight a new unobtrusive tool as a potential interface between the public space and the people. It allows researchers to determine how participants use a designed space by recording participant behaviours and/or tracking participant movement within the space itself. Not only the participants' movements but various factors -including the time of day, the day of the week, the season, weather conditions, special events and calendar holidays- which may have a dramatic impact on the types of participant behaviours displayed.
The tool consists of a smartphone application (app) and a web service. The app, on one hand tracks the way participants use the space, allowing them to get contextual information, answer contextual questions, and to send augmented reality suggestions or complaints. On the other, the web monitors the way participants use the space in real time allowing to visualize participants' suggestions, answers, or the paths filtered by gender, age, occupation, or reason for visiting the space.
The main theoretical and methodological perspectives have been outlined in context of a case study in Ljubljana, where the tool has been applied. The tool features and its research ability have been discussed as well as some lessons will be drawn towards building a more participatory and collaborative process in planning of urban spaces.
This tool, easy to use and unobtrusive, is an attempt to better understand how participants use public open spaces and to investigate the crucial elements to be responded by design, research, and policy making aiming to produce more responsive, stronger, safer and inclusive cities.