Inspired by the sense of discovery in geocaching, I questioned whether that physical experience could be combined with photography and an experience in the digital space.
Photographs are forms of communication, now more than ever before with cameras built into our phones that fit into our pocket, that go everywhere with us. We document our experiences through photographs and then share those moments with others.
I came up with the concept for a hyper-location based photo sharing application. I wanted to create an experience that would allow two strangers to connect through images in the shared space of a train. I also thought about the relationship between space and place. A fellow student describes it simply and beautifully:
"Space becomes place when we attach story or meaning to it and when it starts to take on an identity."
The images collected from users would create a dynamic time capsule of the experience of traveling by train. The train would become its own unique place through the collections of images, not just a space you occupy in-between. Users would be able to leave a piece of themselves behind for someone new to find. By capturing and viewing images, a story of this experience begins to take shape, all through user-generated content.
It was important for me to encourage users to go do, explore, and be present in the moment. What constraint can I present that is not in other photo sharing applications? Typically, I can browse photos by location tag from wherever I am and immediately be transported to a new place through the window of my phone. PhotoCache counters that by only allowing users to view and share images when they are in that specific location. With the aid of a technology called iBeacon, users connect and are notified when there is a Beacon nearby for them to explore a collection of images.
iBeacon, an indoor positioning system that works on Bluetooth Low Energy, enables an iOS device or other piece of hardware to send push notifications to iOS devices in close proximity. In other words, the PhotoCache is password protected and a user's location acts as the password to unlock the collection of images.