I found a map-based project called LiquiData that piqued my interest. The project uses a smartphone app and a multitouch tabletop display to visualize a user’s location data on the table and enables them to interact with it.

Location data is collected by the user’s phone. The table displays an interactive map. Upon placing the phone on the table, this data (including location history and geotagged photos) “flows” from the phone to the map. A dynamic thread on the table display connects the phone to locations on the map. Moving the phone and swiping enables the user to lookup or submit information about places visited by them or others.

There are two things that I find interesting about this project. Firstly, the cross-device interaction between smartphone and tabletop for “pouring” information onto the map appeals to me. It feels like a simple, intuitive way to transfer data to a bigger map for visualization. The larger screen also makes it easier to interact with the data (by adding or looking up photos, comments or ratings).

Secondly, the concept of having the table hold location data from multiple people has potential applications in a lot of public domains. The project page gives the example of a hotel lobby where guests can see which places are highly recommended by other guests.

A shortcoming that I perceived in the project is the inability to pull or “suck” information up from the table to the user’s phone. This would have fully exploited the interaction between the two devices, allowing the user to bookmark or save places they intend to visit on their phone. If many people are using the table simultaneously, it would also help declutter the map by allowing them to read information about specific places on their phone’s screen.