Maptool by The Place Lab Ltd.

Andrew Sempere, The Place Lab Ltd.


Audience Experience:
 - Community engagement
 - Geolocated XR content
Development Stage:
 - Community Engagement
 - Public Performance

Summary of Project:

An MIT-licensed computational tool for generating locative media projects, Maptool mainly functions as a database for location and media. Designers using Maptool need to configure their own interface and user experience. Maptool can be used as the basis for locative storytelling. A story can be told through an app using locative information and/or various forms of media.

Description of User Experience: 

Maptool is a tool that allows designers to create locative media content and can be used to develop smartphone apps, both for Android and iOS.

Unique Innovations: 

Maptool can be used by a designer or design team in various ways. Apps developed with the Maptool may require participants to be in a certain location or at a certain time to access particular media, or they may not. It depends on how the design team wishes to design the user experience.

Maptool was created to address the following problems:

  • How do we author storytelling experiences that involve locative media when the timeline for doing technical work do not line up with the timeline for doing storytelling work?
  • How do we store media such as video and photos and distribute that media to end-users’ cellphones?
  • How do you deal with location information that doesn’t line up in the way you’d like?
  • How do you visualize the experience for the authors, who can’t necessarily walk through the space that the media is designed for?

Identified “Best Practices” for Mixed Reality Production:

A recommended  model for collaboration between a technical team and an artistic team (with use of the Maptool) includes the following phases:

  1. Conception Phase: The technical team and the artistic team conceive of an approximation of the technology that will be used in the project.
  2. Technical Development Phase 1: The technical team creates a working prototype of the technology.
  3. Rehearsal Phase: The prototype is completed as rehearsals begin, and the technology is used in the rehearsals by the artistic team. The artistic team makes note of any frustrations or problems with the technology.
  4. Technical Development Phase 2: The technical team fixes the bugs and frustrations.