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


Futures? a short interview with Warren Ellis - Sun, 14 Sep 2014

Few weeks ago I published a new book about the kind of topic we deal with at the Near Future Laboratory: the disappearance of "big futures", design fictions, the role of science-fiction, etc. The book is only in French, but some of the interviews I've conducted when preparing it are in English (I translated some of them in the book itself). In the next few days, I'm going to publish this material here on the blog. Some interviews are pretty short, others are longer but they are quite insightful.

The first one features Warren Ellis, the English author of comics, novels, and television.

NN : If the future is dead, if we didn’t get the future that we were promised, it does not mean that the present, the here and now isn’t curious. In a talk you gave few years ago at Improving Reality in Brighton, you coined the term "sci-fi condition", what did you mean by that?

WE : I don’t know if I coined it, to be honest.  But I think it’s important to look at the present moment with clear eyes and understand the wonder of a contemporary context where we can see the glass lakes of Titan and satellites orbiting the sun can report to our phones.  Or even that several thousand years of developing communication technology means that I can type this right now and you’ll see it in seconds.  We tend not to see it.  We’re conditioned to see the present moment as "normal," with all the banality that implies.  This is not a banal moment.  It’s the sort of intense, chaotic moment, full of strange things, that we previously only found in science fiction.  "Right now" feels like all of science fiction happening at once, and needs to be considered in that context -- that  we’re living in that promised world of miracles and wonder, and that we’ve been trained by the culture not to see it.

NN : What kinds of situations/examples/technologies do you have in mind to refer to this awkward condition?

Sometimes it’s the things that seem simplest.  Networked maps on phones.  If you’re in the Western world and in a context of relatively low-level privilege, you will never be lost again.  You could draw up your own list of things that would seem completely alien to someone from 1984.  Or things that would simply seem science-fictional, like public internet kiosks.  

NN : In this context, what’s the importance of science-fiction according to you?

WE : In lab-testing the potential pressures of all possible futures.  And in universalising the poetry of science, which is the machinery of the world.


Algorithms+reverse engineering - Wed, 03 Sep 2014

Everyone interested in software studies and research about algorithms should read this piece by Nick Seaver called "On reverse engineering: Looking for the cultural work of engineers". Based on TheAtlantic's investigation of Netflix's tagging system, the author discusses the consequences of reverse engineering for how we think about the cultural lives of engineers.

Some excerpts that attracted my attention:

"reverse engineering, as both a descriptor and a research strategy, misses the things engineers do that do not fit into conventional ideas about engineering. In the ongoing mixture of culture and technology, reverse engineering sticks too closely to the idealized vision of technical work. Because it assumes engineers care strictly about functionality and efficiency, it is not very good at telling stories about accidents, interpretations, and arbitrary choices. It assumes that cultural objects or practices (like movies or engineering) can be reduced to singular, universally-intelligible logics. It takes corporate spokespeople at their word when they claim that there was a straight line from conception to execution. [...] The risk of reverse engineering is that we come to imagine that the only things worth knowing about companies like Netflix are the technical details hidden behind the curtain. In my own research, I argue that the cultural lives and imaginations of the people behind the curtain are as important, if not more, for understanding how these systems come to exist and function as they do. Moreover, these details are not generally considered corporate secrets, so they are accessible if we look for them. Not everything worth knowing has been actively hidden, and transparency can conceal as much as it reveals."

Why do I blog this? Because it's an interesting argument and practical recommendation for researchers working on such topics. Being interested in the interplay between technical constraints and cultural/imaginary elements, I quite appreciate the point Seaver makes here.

The street is the best museum - Sat, 16 Aug 2014
Geneva, June 2014

Geneva, June 2014

Probably of the best graffiti I ran across in the last few months. That (and the composition) could be a nice book title.

Street IP address - Sat, 16 Aug 2014
Geneva, June 2014

Geneva, June 2014

An IP (Internet Protocol) address written on the wall of this building in Geneva, Switzerland. A new kind of graffiti ? An awkward reminder ? A weird joke ? A curious ritual anyway.

Update: my friend Hannes Gassert, on FB, commented on this by saying something that makes it's even more intriguing:

That's not an address, that's a subnetwork definition ("mask"), the /24 indicating a network with 255 possible participants. Usually that's used with, so this is one off, for some reason. This notation was introduced with a network architecture that is called classless, so this might very well the most nerdy propaganda for small, classless societies ever encountered. Or, as the name of that notation is CIDR and it's a bit off, someone just might have had a bit too much cider.

Lucky charm assemblage - Sun, 10 Aug 2014
Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne, Switzerland

A fascinating assemblage – a five Swiss francs coin duct taped to a calculator – spotted at a bubble tea place in Lausanne few weeks ago. When asked about the meaning of this, the waiter told me that "the owner is from Taiwan and she's quite superstitious"... which is a good explanation for this coin-based lucky charm that I found interesting.

Why do I blog this? I like the low-tech character of this obviously, and lucky charms are generally low-tech, but the combination of plastic, duct-tape and metal is very interesting. I wonder about similar approach with smartphones, laptops and other digital artefacts. Are we going to see smart-watches turned into lucky charms with weird materials? Seing this, I'm pretty convinced that it's going to be the case.

Les Médias Géolocalisés

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