PlaceSticker: Using a New Location-based Technology to Create Mobile Gallery Guides

Vivian Kung Haga, USA , Wesley Hsu, USA

Mobile applications using global positioning systems (GPS) are considered state of the art for location-based services (LBS). The technology, however, is not effective for indoor or underground environments. Wireless local area networks (WLAN) are one solution, but implementation can be problematic, especially in scenarios where the location of objects may change frequently.

This project featured a collaboration between the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC), the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA), the Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experience (PRIME) program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) to create an indoor Android-based mobile gallery guide, which allows visitors to construct their own personalized gallery tour. Visitors place their hand-held mobile device on a touch table, which synchronizes the devices. Then visitors can select exhibition artworks by dragging the artwork towards the mobile device. Once visitors have finished their selections, they can create their tour by transferring the artwork and associated metadata to the mobile device. A listing of the artworks and locations are displayed on the mobile device.

Once visitors are within range of the artwork they selected they receive information from a palm-sized device (PlaceSticker, Information Services International-Dentsu LTD, Tokyo, Japan) that uses periodic radio signals with limited information content such as a unique identifier and positional data. When the visitor is close to the artwork, the appropriate metadata is displayed on the device. Once the visitor leave the artwork location, the gallery tour is updated and the visitor can proceed to the next artwork.

The prototype developed for this project demonstrates the use of a novel, location-based technology that is usable indoors, and more importantly, provides easy deployment and flexibility in positioning for the end-user. PlaceSticker is ideal for deployment in museum art exhibitions to help manage the delivery of metadata to the museum audiences in an engaging manner. With each PlaceSticker device uniquely assigned to an artwork, this allows for increased flexibility of positioning the artwork as well as easy implementation by museum staff.