MC3: The Mobile Cartographic Command Center Design Document (v 1.1)
a TCM project in collaboration Project Atol and the Locative Media Lab
The Mobile Cartographic Command Center (MC3) is the forward command post to engage free and open GIS, educational and commercial geographic institutions, and the tactical media art community in active discourse related to locative media, military conversion, collaborative cartography, and tactical public visualization.
The purpose of the project is to actively create and display locative media and free GIS applications (such as, for example, gps3d, GPS satellite monitor/world view
www.mgix.com/gps3d/art/orbits.jpg , gpsdrive, path tracking www.gpsdrive.cc/screenshots.shtml , vterrain, earth modelingvterrain.org/Locations/ca/yukon800.jpg and SaVi, satellite Visualization savi.sourceforge.net/).
The environment will engage participants through visualization and interaction while offering a technically stimulating environment that is not exclusive by being to technically intimidating. The display area will be visually dense, with GIS information, through interactive interfaces, projected displays, touch screen panels, and display monitors. The space will be well designed and finished, with a strong visual theme, and clear structural intent.
In light of a number developments --both internal and external- since the RIXC/Locative Media Lab project proposal for ISEA 2004 was initially conceived, the artists feel that the theme of our proposed installation (i.e. the visualization of location-based information throughout the festival ), would be better addressed by re-conceiving the delivery system. Thus, the following is intended as an amendment to the initial proposal, which was entitled "ISEA_RIXC_Locative_Installation_proposal.rtf".
The Concept: a cartographic command centre
While the installation's content would essentially remain the same (geo-located data, distributed throughout the three cities and along the ship's route), in the proposed amendment, we would focus on centralizing the actual experience to a single site.
Rather than, only creating a once-off location-based wireless installation with which participants interact, individually, as they walk throughout the festival's locations, in the proposed amendment we will, instead, focus on developing an actual location that will allow ISEA participants to visualize all "geo-encoded" data for the regions in question, from a single location on board the ship itself : a cartographic command centre .
The inspiration and design for the cartographic command centre will be based upon a proven model taken from RIXC's installation at World Information Org, in Rasa and Raitis Smits created a mock military-style command-and-control centre in order to display the data from the Acoustic Space Lab event which took place at the RT-32 radio satellite in Latvia, in 2001 <acoustic.space.re-lab.net/lab/>). As the World Information Org installation did with "acoustic space", this installation will do for "locative space", depicting the relationship between the wireless, mapping technologies on offer, and issues of surveillance and control. (see APPENDIX B)
More than simply an interactive gallery space, the cartographic command centre will house informal discussions and workshops on the general theme of "locative media".
Background of amendment
The Locative Media Network <www.locative.org> is designed to shelters community efforts in the development of collaborative approaches to web-based, mobile cartography. Since this projects' initial proposal, a number of Locative Media events have been organized throughout the world (most recently at O'Rielley's Emerging Technologies Conference <conferences.oreillynet.com/pub/w/28/events.html>). These events have brought together tool-builders interested in "collaborative cartography" to pool a set of resources for the authoring and visualization of geo-located data (or locative media). Prior to ISEA 2004 there will have been several more Locative Media events in Helsinki at Pixelache in April <www.pixelache.ac/locative/>, at Futuresonic in Manchester in May <www.mobileconnections.org/>, at the RAM 5 workshop in Riga also in May <http://www.rixc.lv/ram/>, as well as at series of RIXC -led, Culture 2000 supported events, scheduled throughout the Baltic region this summer, entitled Trans Local-Mapping .
As a result of these above investigations and the successful proof of the concept of mobile community generated collaborative cartography (at last year at IMPAKT festival <www.impaktonline.nl/songlines.html>), the Locative Media Lab feels that it has already successfully demonstrated itself in the aforementioned area. The artists have consequently reassessed what they consider to be compelling and original the field of locative media.
The cartographic command centre will serves as a space which allows ISEA participants to explore web-based and mobile cartography applications, and general the field of "locative media". It will feature large-scale visualizations of geo-encoded data (projected on two or three walls of the room) that will use a variety of web-cartography applications to display: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) databases of GPS waypoints, climatological data, geological data, local historical data, and geo-encoded information produced specifically for ISEA by this project and hopefully by other 'geo' projects at ISEA as well.
Housed in a room on board the ship, the cartographic command centre has been conceived-of specifically for ISEA's maritime theme. Visitors will be able to enter the cartographic command centre , and virtually explore the ship's current location in relation to sum total of "geo-located" data throughout the festival. The space will have to be large enough to feature 3 simultaneous wall-sized projections (in 2D and 3D ) as well a a half dozen dedicated terminals for visualizing all relevant GIS data in the maximum number of views. (see APPENDIX A)
The atmosphere will be at once demonstrative, playful, critical and comfortable in order to encourage real-time collaborative audio-visual compositions, for display within the space , composed from sample of the cartographic command centre's locative data (here we will follow the model of the Acoustic Space Lab's open-source sampling project <http://www.kunstradio.at/PROJECTS/CURATED_BY/RR/statement.html>).
Immersed in visuals and acoustic ambience (provided, amongst others, by the project's resident DJ Mukul Patel), the cartographic command centre will also be meeting space where people with an interest in location-based media can hopefully come together, to participate in regular scheduled workshops throughout the week of ISEA on: collaborative cartography, mobile mapping, psychogeography and other locative media artistic practice. Additionally the space will serve as a more informal "collaborative workspace" for hackers to experiment with each others technologies (the model for this space has been tested, most recently at ETECH <locative.net/etcon/plan.pl>, and will be honed through the summer of RIXC -led Locative Media events).
In collaboration with ISEA's curators, the cartographic command centre would be able to offer workshops on the following topics: open-source mapping applications (led by Jo Walsh <space.frot.org/> and Karlis Kalnins <www.gpster.net>, amongst others), ad-hoc wireless networking (led by Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki <www.undertheumbrella.net/system.html>, psychogeography and computing (led by Wilfried HoJeBeck <socialfiction.org/psychogeography/PML.html>), and real-time, open-source "radio-space" sampling (led by Derek Holzer <kuda.org/e_workshop4_derek.htm>). These various events will be continually blogged by members of the project team and streamed on a project website, for telematic connections into the space from on-shore.
Technical and organizational requests
One the motivations for proposing this amendment is that it significantly clarifies, simplifies and reduces the installation's technical and monetary requirements, to the point that the artists can more-or-less produce the project themselves. Furthermore, unlike in the former proposal which required a lot of on-site preparation, much of the installation can perfected by the artists throughout the RIXC -organized events this summer, and then simply re-staged for it's official "debut" on the ISEA boat!
While the installation will not ask for much in the way of investment from ISEA , there is however one extremely valuable piece of hardware that the project needs from ISEA in order to succeed: a decent, dedicated room onboard the boat . This room should ideally have three walls for projection, and enough room to comfortably house an informal workshop environment.1
In order to create the desired atmosphere, we would also request that ISEA help us find the appropriate furnishings. Finally we would like for the organizers to furnish the cartographic command centre with DJ "kit": amp, speakers, turntables and mixer (while we would prefer ISEA to help us with the former, these things can also potentially be brought-up from Riga by RIXC in the sauna-van, see below).
Since the cartographic command centre wants to create a dynamic workspace for open collaboration between our artists and other ISEA participants (especially those doing work in the location category of ISEA ) we would like to be able to offer a range of "kit" to work with, including: a number of dedicated open browsers loaded with open GIS visualization (all of us will bring laptops, but 2-3 extra desktops could be helpful); 3D glasses for certain visualizations (which we will provide); 3-4 DLP projectors; and location-aware PDA's or smart phones for participants to test wireless mapping applications with (such as geograffiti: <www.gpster.net/geograffiti.html> the new Java client being developed for the TransLocal Mapping series, as well as any other location-based wireless applications on offer).
Our assumption is that the ship will maintain high-speed Internet connectivity throughout the voyage via microwave satellite uplink, it would, however, be helpful if the organizers could provide the artists with a copy of the floor-plans annotated with hotspots for WiFi connectivity to be implemented throughout the ship. 2
The Hot Zone
Several of the artists involved in mounting the cartographic command centre installation will also be working on a mobile sauna-bus over the summer, at the K@2 media space in Karosta, LV. As a counterpoint to the heady activity in the cartographic command centre we thus propose, as an added bonus, to bring the Saunabus up from Latvia and park it outside the doc of the Tallin event (there is also another one that the organizers may wish to obtain for Helsinki, at the University of Art & Design : <karlis.baremetal.com/sauna/saunabus.html>).
1 In considering assigning an on-board location for the cartographic command centre we would thus request that the organizers send the artists: a photo of the room, size specs and deckplans/"floorplans" of the entire ship.
2 this could perhaps be done in consultation with the Locative Media artists in order to make location acquisition possible to all users of the network (see Locative Media Network's Where-fi project <www.gpster.net/where-fi-design.html>)
Visually, the cartographic command centre will connect all open locative data to a dynamic map interfaces allowing participants to compose their own maps through a range of open tools, themselves created by affiliated locative media technologists.
- gps3d, GPS satellite monitor/world view
- pointmapper , & Jaanis Garancs's Baltic locative map: visualizations of local data
- gpsdrive, path tracking
- vterrain, earth modeling
- SaVi, satellite Visualization
"The Command-Centre Look"
Projected on the walls, these maps will show the current location (including all freely accessible location-based data in the area), and three small cutouts on the side showing Tallin, Stockholm and Helsinki (each showing a sum of locative data in that city). For images of how this will look you could consult the following hyperlinks: