Exploring the GeoWeb with Digital Planet

Followers of the OU’s new release feed (or my Twitter feed;-) probably know that The Open University and Digital Planet have joined forces to produce a series of specials (one every two months or so) over the coming year.

The first special, on the geo-web, those bits of the web that provide an intersection between digital and physical space, aired last Tuesday; (there’s a brief pre-emptive write up on Platform: Taking the travel bug to Nepal with Digital Planet).

If you haven’t listed to it yet, it’s available for one day more from the BBC World Service Digital Planet webpage – so if you hurry, you’ll still be able to download (or stream) a copy…

(Digital Planet actually goes out weekly, so you can also find a podcast feed for the series there…)

The topics covered in the programme included a feature on location awareness and Streetview integration from Google’s mobile mapping division, which taught me something new – Streetview’s crazy use of compass and accelerometer data!

The programme also contained some good discussion on privacy issues and a package on geocaching, featuring the OU’s very own Gill Clough, who you can see chatting to Digital World presenter Gareth Mitchell (with producer Pam Rutherford in the background!) here: The OU and Digital Planet: Gareth and Gill Go Geocaching (*video exclusive*).

Now if only they’d got Bill Thompson traipsing around in the mud, rather than sitting comfortably in the studio, too…;-)

As the OU’s academic contact on the episode, I got to bounce ideas around with the producer and presenter in the couple of weeks before the programme aired, as well as casting an eye over a draft of the script during the weekend before the Monday afternoon recording.

I’ve also been working sideways, as it were, with the producers of the Open2 website that supports the programme: Digital Planet on open2.net

One of the things we wanted to start exploring with the website was how we might start to engage with Digital Planet’s global audience.

And our first offering is: the interactive Open2 Digital Planet listeners’ map, which allows listeners to add a marker to the map showing where in the world they listen to the programme from…

Along with placing a marker, listeners can also tell us how they listen to the programme, and link to a photo of themselves if they wish:

As we’re running a lazy, userflagging moderation system, links are added to user marker bubbles to report content, if necessary…

You might also have noticed a Twitter feed – this is currently aggregating tweets tagged with #digitalplanet, and we’ll hopefully find some novel ways of using it – and appropriately licensed photos tagged digitalplanet on flickr – to support future programmes…

And finally – one package that aired that I haven’t mentioned yet was all about some travel bugs that are making their way to Nepal (Geocaching schools project: travel bugs to Nepal)… With a bit of luck, I intend to get a post up about that on the Open2.net Science and Technology blog over the next week or so… and maybe even travel bug tracking map on the open2.net Digital Planet site (if we can get a feed from geocaching.com, that is…)?! :-)

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