Tout sur la géolocalisation et les médias géolocalisés, Nicolas Nova

Les médias géolocalisés, le livre de référence sur la géolocalisation, les GPS et leurs enjeux

256 pages

Juin 2009

ISBN-13: 978-2916571201

Collection : Innovation

23,90 euros TTC


Dans toutes les conversations distantes, la question « t’es où ? » est devenue aussi importante que la raison de l’appel. Mais très vite, d’autres questions sont apparues : « où suis je exactement ? Qu’est ce qu’il y a à proximité ? Qui ? »
La localisation est devenue un enjeu majeur, à la fois technologique, économique, et même social et politique, au travers de ce qui s’appelle désormais les médias géolocalisés. Mais ceux-ci provoquent des attentes démesurées quant aux changements qu’ils peuvent réellement entraîner…

Et les acteurs de ce secteur nous promettent des nouveaux usages supposés améliorer notre quotidien de façon spectaculaire : en cas d’accident, les secours pourront immédiatement localiser un blessé ; le promeneur ou un automobiliste égaré retrouveront leur chemin ; un SMS indiquera la présence d’un ami dans le quartier où l’on passe sa soirée ; nous serons guidés vers les places de parking disponibles à proximité de notre prochain rendez-vous ; au cours d’une randonnée la nature se transformera en encyclopédie vivante et chaque ruine, chaque vestige, seront identifiés, leur histoire sera racontée via notre mobile qui nous permettra aussi visualiser en direct les déplacements de nos enfants et les escapades de nos animaux domestiques…
Depuis les années 2000, nous avons ainsi vu se succéder des annonces de services nous promettant de révolutionner notre rapport aux autres et à l’espace. Mais ces nouveaux usages sont le plus souvent retardés ou très limités par des problèmes tant techniques que sociaux.
Au-delà des discours formatés, l’auteur – reconnu internationalement pour ses recherches sur les usages de la technologie – répond sans détour, de façon claire, complète et abordable à toutes les questions et les problématiques que soulèvent les médias géolocalisés.
Il identifie, révèle et permet de comprendre les implications que ces technologies auront véritablement dans notre quotidien, en expliquant comment et pour qui. Il propose des pistes concrètes et réalistes pour des usages encore inexplorés.

Nicolas Nova est chercheur, consultant et prospectiviste pour Lift Lab, et mène des recherches sur l’ergonomie et les usages des technologies. Après une formation en sciences cognitives et en interaction homme-machine, il a réalisé une thèse à l’EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) sur le thème des médias et services géolocalisés. Nicolas Nova est également responsable éditorial de Lift, conférence internationale sur l’innovation et les changements technologiques


"Computational journalism" - Fri, 24 Oct 2014

This idiom is new to me but I guess it makes sense these days. It's also an event ("symposium") with a live coverage here. The material in there is impressive and curious, see for yourself:

"Journalists and computer scientists increasingly are working together to develop innovative methods of reporting and telling news stories. Consider:

Why do I blog this? Im polishing a manuscript on algorithms and cultural production, which is strangely orthogonal to this set of examples.

IICloud(s) – Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) - Wed, 15 Oct 2014
CERN, Geneva.

CERN, Geneva.

Update from the front here: a new project I recently started at the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève) with my colleague Charles Chalas, along with Patrick Keller, Christophe Guignard, Christian Babski (fabric/ECAL) and Lucien Langton from ECAL, as well as the architecture team of Dieter Dietez (EPFL) and EPFL-ECAL Lab (Nicolas Henchoz) in Lausanne.

Funded by the RCSO (a local research body here in Switzerland), it's called "IICloud(s) – Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s)" and it addresses the design and the user experience of personal clouds. Here's the project proposal abstract:

This design research project explores the creation of counter-proposals to the current expression of “Cloud Computing”, particularly in its forms intended for private individuals and end users (“Personal Cloud”). It is to offer a critical appraisal of this “iconic” infrastructure of our modernity and its user interfaces, because to date their implementation has followed a logic chiefly of technical development, governed by the commercial interests of large corporations, and continues to be seen partly as a purely functional, centralized setup. However, the Personal Cloud holds a potential that is largely untapped in terms of design, novel uses and territorial strategies. Through its cross-disciplinary approach, our project aims at producing alternative models resulting from a more contemporary approach, notably factoring in the idea of creolization. From a practical standpoint, the project is intended to produce speculative versions of the “Personal Cloud” in the form of prototypes (whether functional or otherwise) of new interfaces, data processing, reactive environments and communicating objects. To do this, the project will be built around three dimensions forming the relevant pillars of a cross-disciplinary approach: interaction design, the architectural and territorial dimension, and the ethnographic dimension.


Our intention is to address the following questions with a series of workshops:

-    How to combine the material part with the immaterial, mediatized part? What functions are given concrete form through physical means and what others through digital means? Does physical concretization involve nearness to the Data Center? Can we imagine the geographical fragmentation of these setups? (Interaction design, architecture).

-    Might new interfaces with access to ubiquitous data be envisioned that take nomadic lifestyles into account and let us offer alternatives to approaches based on a “universal” design?[v] Might these interfaces also partake of some kind of repossession of the data by the end users? (Interaction design, ethnography).

-    What symbioses can be found by occupying the ground and the space between men and machines? Where and how is this ground, are these “expanses”, to be occupied? Are they to be camped in, to maintain mobility? Settled on a long-term basis? How do we factor in obsolescence factors? What setups and new combinations of functions need devising for a partly deterritorialized, nomadic lifestyle? Can the Cloud/Data Center itself be mobile [vi](Architecture, interaction design, ethnography).

-    Might symbioses also be developed at the energy and climate levels (e.g. using the need to cool the machines, which themselves produce heat, in order to develop living strategies there)? If so, with what users (humans, animals, plants)? (Architecture, ethnography).

More about it here.

"How you can hack your blood pressure implant to provide fake and healthy data to an insurance company" - Wed, 24 Sep 2014


"how biomedical data sent wirelessly from a human body, might be re-appropriated by services other than the remote healthcare. This discussion about data monitoring was developed in Nelly Ben Hayoun’s project Cathy the Hacker. Hayoun designed props and made short films documenting “how you can hack your blood pressure implant” to provide fake, healthy data to an insurance company that is monitoring the fictional Cathy’s lifestyle in order to make decisions on the premium she should pay on her health insurance. Through an interview and follow up conversations with Murphy, Hayoun devised hacks which included attaching a sensor to an energetic pet cat, in order to generate a surrogate data set, while “The closing spin cycle of the washing machine also does a good job”

Find in: Kerridge, T. (2009). Does speculative design contribute to public engagement of science and technology? Proceedings of Swiss Design Network Symposium‘09, Lugano.

Why do I blog this? A good example of a phenomenon that may or may not happen in the near future.

Networked lingerie for book reading - Tue, 23 Sep 2014
Paris, 2014.

Paris, 2014.

Some people are never short of good ideas, so to say. I run across this ad in Paris the other day. The notion of a networked pyjama seems slightly odd (slightly in the sense of "everything's can be connected to the network these days I'm not surprised). So I typed different combinations of keywords into a common search engine and I discovered that Etam – a French lingerie company – decided to create a weird contraption: a QR-code-enabled (this is the "networked" bit) panty/nuisette/pyjama that allows the owner to read short stories on a smartphone. Because yes, it's the rentrée littéraire these days in France (the period of the year in which more than 600 books are released) and people may find it fun to read stuff by scanning underwear... which is why this is the first collection of networked PJs. This thing is designed by Smartnovel, a company focused on new reading experiences.

Why do I blog this? Well, I didn't expect this kind of networking ability, I originally thought this would be some sort of huggable pyjamas but it seems far weirder. It would intriguing to know who actually used it this way (a common question with QR codes these days) and whether anyone conducted a focus group to ask what people may think about when told they can have a connected piece of lingerie. What's next? I mean, the kind of stuff we've put in the TBD catalog is definitely not far-fetched compared to this.

Futures? a short interview with Bruce Sterling - Fri, 19 Sep 2014
Bruce Sterling at HEAD – Genève / Photo by Emily Bonnet.

Bruce Sterling at HEAD – Genève / Photo by Emily Bonnet.


This is the second interview of the series I started last week, based on my recent book about future, sci-fi and design fictions. After Warren Ellis, here's Bruce Sterling (whose blogging have moved to this wonderful tumblr called 'Wolf in Living Room':

NN: In your opinion, as a science-fiction writer, how to you perceive this difficulty to go beyond the standard visions of "the Future" (from flying cars to humanoid robots)?

BS: At SXSW 2014 I was on a panel with Warren Ellis, Joi Ito and Daniel Suarez where an interesting atemporal design-fiction issue came up.  We science fiction writers were discussing the problem of inventing something far-fetched, satirical, extrapolative or socially critical and then discovering that it was already commercially available on the shelves of Wal-Mart.  This was immediately called the "Wal-Mart Problem."

Atemporally speaking, it’s clearly possible to write a form of "futuristic" science fiction in which all the "sci-fi gadgets" are already real objects in Wal-Mart. No science-fiction reader can possibly know the entire Wal-Mart catalog, so it might be possible to write a thing like this without anybody realizing it, as in recent William Gibson books where the weirdest and most far-out things -- airborne fish, giant Ekranoplans and so forth, are all existent technologies.  

Now that social crowdfunding is available it will probably be impossible henceforth for any journalist, critic or historian to determine if a gadget ever "really existed," or for how long, or in what precise circumstances.  So the apparent lines between designs and design fictions will get more and more blurred.

Daniel Suarez, who is a rather literal-minded guy with a lot of engineers and coders in his readership, is quite worried about the "Wal-Mart Problem," he feels it hurts his credibility. My own feeling is that it’s not a "problem" but a condition which will get bigger and bigger.  I even wonder if it’s possible to LIVE in the Wal-Mart problem deliberately, like literally furnish an apartment with items of these kinds.

NN: Sure it hurts SciFi writers’ credibility (and probably scientists’ credibility as well) but – I would say – what can he do ? The only tech realms where this problem might vanish corresponds to hard science like quantum physics, hyperchord/string theory and/or crazy neuroscientific exploration… simply because this type of science can be unlegible to normal humans. But what can he do? 

BS: He can write fantasy about alien planets, vampires, zombies and flying dragons, of course. That’s where the genre in fact went, as a commercial enterprise. Nobody fusses about the Wal-Mart problem in GAME OF THRONES.

I’ll pose you this puzzle: if there’s a "critical design" that’s brilliantly illuminating as design fiction, and it turns out that it once really existed among a small group of Belgians in the period 1998-2001, does that make it any better or worse as an act of critical design?  Why is that even a criterion of success in the first place?  The Near Future Laboratory video "Corner Convenience" has caffeine in Jack Daniels, but anybody can put caffeine in Jack Daniels, you just pour some whiskey into your coffee.  That doesn’t dilute the conceptual impact of that diegetic prototype within the space of the Near Future Lab video.

Of course this "Wal-Mart Problem" mostly applies nowadays to modest gadgets of the Makerspace and Wal-mart shelf variety, nobody is going to Kickstarter for a nuclear power plant any time soon. 

NN: You have an interest in the role of new media artists and designers in exploring future scenarios. Do you think it can be considered as a good follow-up work to what sci-fi writers used to do?

BS: Yeah, the means of production and distribution in the early days of science fiction and design were much cruder and more folksy, and characters like Ford, Edison and Marconi, were very much weird, self-educated tinkerers. Hugo Gernsback’s early radio experimentation magazines were hugely similar to MAKE magazine nowadays, and "Popular Mechanics" is so much like Makers that the latest issue of Popular Mechanics is all about Makers.  Design and science fiction were emerging out of the same print-cultural compost heap of the pre-radio, pre-TV 1920s.

However, when you point out that design has "taken away the baton from Sci-Fi,"  it would be more accurate to say that the baton has been taken away from all forms of print media, including journalism and history. Only search engines have that baton now.  They don’t hold that baton very well at all.

The "Wal-Mart Problem" isn’t so much a problem as a new historical sensibility.  In my book SHAPING THINGS I was postulating that we might get to a space where nobody really cares if a "real" object really "exists" at all; a spime can probably be made to exist if enough energy is thrown at it, and the real social issue is figuring out how to get rid of them, not to invent them or conjure them up.

I’m always happy when my pet interests in dead media, atemporality, network society, ubiquity and augmentation reveal some deeper unities.  There’s a metaphysical issue there: how do we know what we know that we know? -- and if the media mechanisms by which we build canons of futurity and history are in disruption, then atemporality must be the order of the day, it seems to me. In that Transmediale speech I was urging people not to fear this prospect but to creatively experiment with it, and "design fiction" seems to me to be properly suited to do that; more so than science fiction, which is always trying to sneak into the literary dignity of paper book covers and proclaim, look at me, I’m a classic for the ages now, just like Wells and Verne.

Les Médias Géolocalisés

Open Data at Lift China - Fri, 24 Oct 2014

During Lift China, Feng Gao and TH Schee , two entrepreneurs from Shanghai and Taiwan, held a workshop on open data and its implications in Asia. We thought the timing was right to send in our writer…

What a Busy Year: Lift Activities Updates - Wed, 22 Oct 2014

You may have heard these past few weeks about Lift Basel, Lift China or other Lift projects - fantastic things are going on! We thought it's time to give you aconsolidated update on Lift’s…

Lift sous la Coupole in Bern - Mon, 20 Oct 2014

Since 2006 Lift has been an active supporter and facilitator of the Swiss startup ecosystem through its various events and activities. We offer a platform to showcase upcoming projects (like in…

Volunteer at Lift Basel ! - Thu, 16 Oct 2014

Are you an inquisitive team player with a passion for innovation? Are you enthusiastic about being an insider and making Lift Basel a unique experience? Are you english-speaking, outgoing, hard-…

Lift Makers Tour Results in China's First Biohackspace - Wed, 01 Oct 2014

Temporarily hosted at Chaihuo hackspace , Haoqimao (litteraly "curious cat") is an initiative of Tony Gu (顾庆峰) , a Shenzhen-based entrepreneur. As a biohackspace, Haoqimao invites people…