Tagsmartphone

A smarter marathon

What if you could use your smartphone to identify runners in a marathon, get their stats and home country, know why they’re running and donate to their cause?

It’s another idea from the geniuses at the School of the Art Institute’s “Living in a Smart City” class with professor George Aye.

Other ideas in this project included using a new kind of tracking method that pings your spectating family and friends about your current or upcoming location so they can more easily find you. Or grouping runners into “pods” at the end so runners can meet their parties at the end of the race, saving time and eliminating the need to get to a phone.

Weighting people’s experiences in route choice

An iPhone app is not a substitute for a paper map*, good signage on your bikeway network, or someone just telling you, “Turn right on Church, right on Chambers, left on Reade” to get to the bike shop where you left your water bottle.

At the bike shop I asked about how to get to the Williamsburg bridge so I could go “home” to Brooklyn. After looking at the map, he said, “Oh, take Grand.” -He then told me how to get to Grand.

The Williamsburg bridge. I took this one even though the Manhattan bridge was probably closer to my “home” because I hadn’t yet ridden on it!

I did. It worked. It was excellent. I even passed by the Doughnut Plant (which I had forgotten about visiting).

Doughnut Plant makes really tasty donuts. I wouldn’t get them too often, though, because each one costs $3.

Not only did I receive a “tried and true” route suggestion, I got it faster than any automated route devising device would have generated one.

Each month I’m asked by people how to get somewhere in Chicago. We have so many resources these days but we often still rely on the spoken interaction to get us to our destination.

*I’ve read or heard people suggest that “someone should make” an app that puts the bike map on their smartphone. I don’t think this app would be very useful or easy to use. But a paper map is both – and almost always free.

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