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.
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.
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 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.
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".
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.