The Mashup App on iTunes

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Entries in geolocation (2)


Curating the Internet of Things

The Mashup App is an intelligent application that can use-- and only with your permission-- the location sensors on your device to help you remember the details of your trips. You can group, or mashup, related data such as pictures, audio, video, and web content to provide context and commentary to the places you visited.

As we have discussed in previous blog posts, The Mashup App leverages many advanced ideas from academic research. For example, your personal database supports spatio-temporal (that is, location and time) features. This allows you to save into your personal database time and location data in addition to web, PDF, images, audio and video content. By allowing a user to annotate the "when and where" of their content allows for example, a student to visualize on a map where a document such as the US Constitution was signed... and a rescue worker or archeologist to catalog his findings while still in the field.

The Mashup App has also benefited from research into data stream management systems. Specifically, if you choose to save a log of your trips, The Mashup App will receive a stream of location data from the sensors on your device and save the location data into your personal database. In general, generating and processing this stream of location data will not adversely impact your battery level and will consume between 5 to 10 percent of your battery charge per day.

The Mashup App helps you remember your trips by allowing you to create a location log. From the location log you can visualize your trip on an interactive map.You also have the option to have The Mashup App monitor your device’s battery and stop receiving the stream of location data from the device’s sensors at about 30 percent battery level. This will ensure that you can still use your device to make calls towards the end of the day.

Research into data stream management was mostly conducted in the early to middle 2000s. After seeing the meteoric rise of internet usage by consumers in the mid 1990s, researchers speculated that companies would create special devices that would also use the internet to communicate. It was envisaged that these devices would contain special sensors to monitor their surrounding environment for things like atmospheric or seismic conditions, levels of chemicals in the air or water supply, and would perhaps report on the speed, direction, and location of the device. This new phase of the internet was called the Internet of Things and sometimes the Web of Things.

Researchers also realized that enterprise databases where not well suited to handle the streams of data generated in the Internet of Things and began to build research prototypes that could better support these streams of data. These systems are called data stream management systems (DSMS) rather than database management systems (DBMS).

The Mashup App implements both a spatio-temporal database and a data stream management system. Your personal database can store both the web, PDF, image, audio, video, time, and location data that you have manually saved as well as the stream of data generated by your device’s sensors. 


Curating Your Location Stream

If you use The Mashup App to automatically log your trips, the stream of location data that your device generates will naturally include important and unimportant places. Consequently, The Mashup App will allow you to delete the unimportant places from the data stream. And if the data stream did not include an important place, you can manually add a location so that it better represents your trip. Likewise, for any specific location you can correct its latitude and longitude coordinates and augment the coordinates by having The Mashup App determine the corresponding street/postal address and neighborhood information through a process called geolocation. As discussed in this blog entry, The Mashup App supports 4 representations of a location including the latitude and longitude coordinates, the Google Map URL, the street/postal address, and the neighborhood in which the location is found.


You can send an SMS text message about each place you visited. And because your device uses cell towers to determine the locations you visited, The Mashup App allows you to correct your trip data.

Knowing the street address of an unfamiliar place can be vital while travelling-- for example to get a taxi or meet a friend in Washington DC when you are at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street-- but after the trip, the name of a neighborhood can be a better memory aid as it allows you to group related locations-- for example, "while in Georgetown on a trip to Washington DC".

The Mashup App can use Location Servers found on the internet to determine the street address and neighborhood of a location. The Mashup App will only send the latitude and longitude and does not send any personal information or the unique device id.


The Mashup App allows you to extract the important places from the location stream (which is more formally called by researchers as bounded subsets of the stream), group related places together by providing a meaningful description for them so that you will better remember your trip, and perhaps share your experience with friends. You can add photos, videos, and web content to the location data and provide context and commentary about the places on your trip.

When you want to memorialize your trip, you can save it into a descriptive category. 

Some users will want to remember the places that they visited by their general location-- for example, "The National Mall" or "Capitol Hill". Other users may prefer to remember the places they visited during the calendar seasons-- for example, "Summer of '69" or "Late December Back in '63". And still other users may prefer to remember their trips by both the time and location-- for example, "Paris in Spring"-- or perhaps by the name of an event such as the "Cherry Blossom Parade".


When you want to memorialize the places you visited during a trip, The Mashup App will categorize the places by the day of the trip. Of course, you can provide a more memorable description.


The Mashup App empowers you to curate your digital data to create lasting and sharable memories... even if those memories originated from the sensors of a machine.


Location: A New Type of Data

The Mashup App allows you to save location data into your personal database. Location data can include the latitude and longitude of a place, Google Maps URL, the street/postal address, and neighborhood of a place, document, or media content such as images, audio, and video. 

Due to the desktop metaphor of files and folders, computer users have had limited exposure to location data and usually only through specialized photo management applications and photo sharing web sites. Enterprise databases have recently added support for location data. Database researchers describe databases with location support as geo-spatial databases. 

Your device can determine the latitude and longitude of its location. Unfortunately, this may not be very accurate so The Mashup App allows you to edit the location data to ensure the best possible accuracy. Using the latitude and longitude information generated by your device, The Mashup App can then determine the street address of the location by querying Location Servers found on the internet. This feature is called geolocation. 

The Mashup App does not transmit any personal data nor does it transmit your unique device identifier and only transmits to the Location Servers the latitude and longitude.
In addition to the street address, The Mashup App also uses Location Servers on the internet to determine the neighborhood for an address. This is helpful so that you can search your personal database for locations in a neighborhood, a city, or a state. Likewise, The Mashup App allows you to search your personal database for nearby places. For example, you can find places within a few miles from your current location.

The Mashup App can display location data on a map and you can share your location via email or SMS text messages.

There are 4 major benefits for saving location data: 

  1. Saving your current location. The Mashup App can determine the street/postal address, neighborhood, and the latitude and longitude of your device. This is helpful if you want to remember an address  or information about an unfamiliar place. You can provide a detailed description about the location, describe nearby places, and share with friends.

    The launch view of The Mashup App. From here you can save your data into your personal database. With just a tap you can save, edit, and organize web, PDF, audio, video, images, location and time data.

    If your data has location information associated with it or if it is a real-world place, you can browse and search by neighborhood, city, or state.
    Of course, you can visualize your location data on a map.

  2. Saving your location during a trip. The Mashup App can create a location log which you can visualize on a map. This helps you remember the streets you travelled on a trip, perhaps while sightseeing. The Mashup App is intelligent and will do its best to limit the drain on your device's battery.

    From the location log you can visualize your trip on an interactive map.

    The Mashup App provides detailed information about each place you visited.

  3. You can add location data to web and PDF documents as well as images, audio, and video content. Users such as rescue workers, archaeologists, and historians can use The Mashup App to quickly associate location and time data with their artifacts while in the field. The Mashup App also supports comprehensive reporting allowing the user to generate GeoRSS feeds.

    In addition to generating an RSS feed, GeoRSS feed, and custom web site from your data, you can also generate a formal report with a table of contents.

  4. Alerting you of important nearby places. For the mobile professional or just a person getting their clothes from the cleaners, The Mashup App can automatically display the data related to a location just before you arrive. So if you save your presentations and receipts in your personal database, you can always be prepared. This feature is called Vicinity Alerts and is based on a technology called geofencing.

    The Mashup App also allows you to set a Vicinity Alert around a location. When you travel near that location, The Mashup App will notify you that you are in the general area of that location and display any data related to the location. Vicinity Alerts decrease the time it takes to search your personal database by preloading and displaying data before you need it. This is helpful for mobile users who travel for business meetings or when you go to a place such as the cleaners where you must display a receipt. If you save your presentation and receipt in your personal database, The Mashup App will automatically search and display your data just before you arrive at your destination.