Mobile Web Final: StreetEyes

Phil Groman and I presented our mobile web app, StreetEyes, for our NYU-ITP mobile web class.  StreetEyes is intended to be a way for a web viewer to look at a map of broadcasters and ask them to collect information on a desired event, protest, or location.  The app allows a web user to view a map of broadcasters, select one, and make a view request to him to start collecting data from the ground and reporting it to the news “stream” that the viewer made from the web.  The viewer and broadcaster (or multiple viewers) could chat in real-time to assign tasks for info collection or to take more photos or to get more descriptive updates.

We feel a good application of this would be for documenting a quick-moving protest, or for getting eyes on a line at a supermarket or at the DMV.  Traditionally, news is collected by sifting through peoples’ random Twitter updates, or more crafted news stories that come later.  If some investigative curator or someone who knows which details are pertinent in an emergency (say, a first-responder), then there is not much way to contact people on the ground to gather data.  We rely on people on the ground to be knowledgable enough to get the right data, but this is the wrong way to go about things.

Why not have curators direct people to breaking news or emergencies?

 

TODO:

  • Make the camera work, submit photo to a stream.
  • Fix display bugs in Google Map dynamic view.
  • Much better styling for the stream page.
  • Video-streaming?
  • User authentication and multi-user potential.

 

Final note.  We feel as though video-streaming apps are stuck on just getting the video up.  Ustream has a nice Android app that very quickly allows you to view a full-screen stream, or start your own.  But it does not function well in disseminating information, particularly on a directed topic.  We would like to be able to embed the video into a stream so that the end result is like a curated Reuters news feed, which differentiates between admins, editors, and random commenters.  Those last commenters are very important though, as they may actually be on-site and have a lot of info to share.  It is a curator’s role to promote that info and demote the chaff.

Another thing.  We found prezi very useful for our presentation, as well as the app Droid@Screen, which is a Java file that goes in your Android SDK folder containing adb.  That app allows you to display what’s going on on your phone’s display onto the monitor, which can then be projected onto a wall or large screen.