Friday, August 28, 2015

Alliance megagame - a huge board in-person GeoGame

Here's a great example of a map-based, almost realistic, geopolitics/economy multiplayer game. It is interesting to think of how this game could be implemented online. Clearly the video illustrates the animated interactions that can happen when you gather 60+ players in the same room around one big game for a 4-hr play session. Can those interactions be as rich and nuanced when you can only hear a voice or see persons through video? Probably not, looking at the body language in some of those scenes. How much does that contribute to player engagement? Not clear, and certainly an interesting thing to look into.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Importance of Spatial and Visual Thinking

Kirk Goldsberry, professor of Geography at Michigan State University, makes a nice argument in this Harvard Business Review online post about the importance of spatial and visual literacy. I think each day about how well (or not) we manage to prepare all students (not just geography and associated areas) for critical consumption and use of spatial information. Unfortunately, most of the time, I come to say 'not very well'. Taking my own University's general education curriculum as an example, there are requirements in place to foster literacy in the written word, in science, in foreign language, in the arts and humanities, but very little if anything around spatial and visual literacy. Yet, pretty much any subject matter is spatially situated and modern culture is saturated by visual media. One of the comments on Kirk's posting came from Jack Dangermond, president of Esri, who added an observation that spatial thinking has found its way into the public mind through other avenues than academics. Clearly, every-day technology brings the power of maps and spatial data to more people than ever, and I hope all geographers celebrate that. I also side with Kirk that P-16 education need to recognize spatial and visual literacy as a main foundation for a well rounded individual. Reading, math, science, and art skills are great. Understanding their visual expression in space and time makes them even greater.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A RECIPE for Meaningful Gamification

In this video Scott Nicholson at Syracuse University shares his ideas around Meaningful Gamification that goes beyond the simple points, badges, and levels to dig more deeply into factors that will generate intrinsic motivation and engagement.
Here's a link to his blog -

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The story behind "The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life."

This great piece in the Huffington Post describes "...the biggest disaster in TED history!" It gave me an opportunity to revisit Jane McGonigal's talk from last year to hear how games (among other things) can make us live richer and healthier lives.

Be sure to follow up on and look at some of the research behind those remarks. In addition, just watching and engaging with the talk would also add 7.68245837 minutes to your life-span. So, while the talk is 19 minutes, your are really only spending less than 12 minutes watching it...?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

GLS 9.0 conference presentations

Myself and Brendon Mikula from our GeoGames team presented two posters at this year's Games+Learning+Society 9.0 conference. It was an energetic and stimulating meeting as usual and our latest work and results were very positively received by those who visited our displays (and there were a lot of people). Poster 1 describe the overall architecture of our Online Map Game platform and Poster 2 presents some of the early results from user studies using the game in Geography undergraduate classrooms.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Futurology of GIScience

Yesterday I had the great opportunity to address the 2013 University Consortium for GIS symposium attendees gathered at George Mason University. I was asked to talk a bit about what I think are important trends that will affect the GIS area in the near future, so I provided these few observations:

  • Location are becoming a required feature of (ever smarter) services 
  • Maps are created, designed and used differently –socially driven by anyone 
  • Any spatiality (Warped and imagined spaces and places) that helps organize an activity will be used.
  • Most applications will not be “serious and some will be "super-serious"
If you care to look through it here is the full presentation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New map games

A bunch of things are emerging, both in terms of online map games (OMG!) and research that look at what these creations have to offer. Some of the more interesting example from my own navigation is MapAttack from Geoloqi, and the new Google Maps promo game. Both offer some entertainment and fun, although I must say that I quickly stopped thinking about the real places when I played cube, and just treated it as a marble board with obstacles. On the research horizon I recently found one of the first journal papers reporting from the geospatial domain by Alenka Poplin in Hamburg who looks at the potential uses of online serious games for public participation in urban planning.