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Location Innovation and Navball

How do you combine LBS technology with GPS and mobile phones with a gaming environment that is fun, educational and gives you plenty of exercise? That’s one of the questions we have for Kiwis who enter the GeoSmart Location Innovation Awards.

29 people have entered the awards so far and we know of several more people who are working on projects. A lot of interest has come from universities and we all know that university students love coming up with ideas for fun things to do. The Auckland City Flashmob Group already has 487 members who have signed up through their Facebook page.

In this blog I am going to give you some examples of applications that might gove you ideas on applications to create yourselves. One that I really like as a concept is Navball which comes from Amsterdam. The Netherlands are of course a nation of football fans and it makes a lot of sense to combine their love of the round ball game with GPS and LBS technology to come up with something that is fun, fast, competitive and very Generation Y.

The concept is that you have two teams of 11 players, just like you would in a game of soccer and they compete to kick a virtual ball into a virtual goal. The playground is a set of predefined streets, unknown to the players before they hit the field. The players off course have soccer strips so that they are recognisable from the general public and won’t cause concern for pedestrians as they go about their business.

Each player is equipped with a Nokia N95 which is GPS enabled. The players are shown where the ‘ball’ is and the location of the first ‘goal’. They have to form a line in the shape of an arrow in order to be able to identify the direction the ball will be kicked. The game lasts for 45 minutes and the winner is obviously the team which has achieved the most goals.

The play can be followed on a Google Maps mashup which allows viewers to monitor a scoreboard and see the locations of each of the 22 players as they make their way around the course, which is the streets of Amsterdam.

Here is a promotional video of the game being played in Amsterdam.

Navball is the brainchild of The Saints mobile software, one of many innovative Dutch developers. Another application they have launched which would be great fun for both tourists and locals is Get Lost in Rotterdam. It’s sort of like a treasure hunt, except that it is simply about finding new places and having fun. It is designed such that it could be played in any city in the world.

You send a free txt message to a short code and can then download the application which has 15 consecutive instructions. I watched a video demonstration on the website, which went like this:

1. Get on the tram heading for the city centre and get off at the 5th stop.

2. Take the first Metro (subway) entrance and go one stop.

3. Follow the first dog you see for (x) time and then turn left

4. Catch the first available bus. etc

There are lots of prizes for people who send in photos from their journey and the game will run on many different brands and models of phone that have Java capability.

These games are entertaining, fun, involve adventure and exercise. I don’t know if they allow you to track the people or their trail on a map website like AA Maps, but that would obviously add some more fu, not only to the players but to others.

So there are a couple of cool examples of LBS Games. What do you think you could come up with? You can enter to win prizes with your idea at www.locationinnovation.co.nz. If it’s really good, you could be heading for a free trip to the USA to the Where 2.0 conference in May next year!

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December 4, 2008 - Posted by | AA Maps, awards, competition, competitions, geosmart, gps, lbs, lbs games, location innovation awards, maps, new zealand, satnav, Uncategorized, university, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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