• Veriplace
  • AT&T Interactive
  • DigitalGlobe
  • Google
  • Yahoo! Inc.
  • ZoomAtlas
  • Digital Map Products
  • Microsoft Research (MSR)
  • Pitney Bowes Business Insight

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Yvonne Romaine at yromaine@oreilly.com

Media Partner Opportunities

For media partnerships, contact mediapartners@ oreilly.com or download the Media & Promotional Partner Brochure (PDF)

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For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at maureen@oreilly.com

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Map and Share Your Psychogeographic World with Cognitive Surveyor

Geotech usually focuses on the world as it exists. But what about the world as we remember and use it? Cognitive Surveyor is a distributed system developed in the Spatial Cognitive Engineering Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that constructs “cognitive maps” for users and for communities. The system collects and analyzes data relevant to users’ spatial behavior – that is, their travel patterns – and users’ spatial cognition – that is, their spatial knowledge.

User’s travel patterns are recorded and their spatial knowledge is “read out” using the GPS and digital compass units in their Android and iPhone smartphones. The mobile Cognitive Surveyor app allows users to mark personally meaningful landmarks, and when they visit these landmarks, they are asked to relate their position to other known locations by pointing their phone and estimating distances. A mock-up demo of the data collection process

These measurements are sent to a server in real-time and made available for geovisualization and analysis through a Web interface. It’s using this Web app that users can produce “cognitive maps” showing the distorted way in which they remember cities, in addition to quantitative analyses, such as the number of times they’ve visited given locations in the past week. As users accumulate data in the system, they’ll be able to construct a psychogeographic atlas of their travels.

Cognitive Surveyor has been in use as part of behavioral research studies at UCSB, but it’s with this talk at Where 2.0, that we would like to launch the system for public use and to release the source code under an open license. The conference attendees, who are geotech pros and likely own smartphones, will be a great first set of public users to invite to use the system. And we hope to use the opportunity to discuss with attendees how components of Cognitive Surveyor can be used to personalize and humanize other location-based services and to work toward open personal location sharing platforms.

Photo of Drew Dara-Abrams

Drew Dara-Abrams

University of California, Santa Barbara

Drew Dara-Abrams is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, weaned on computers and the Internet but also intrigued by cognitive science and urban design. By developing and applying psychologically plausible modeling and measurement techniques for built environments, Drew seeks to advance research on human spatial cognition and to improve the design of real-world buildings, neighborhoods, and cities.

After receiving undergraduate degrees in computer science from Foothill College (Los Altos Hills, California) and cognitive science from Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota), Drew is now a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has received a master’s degree from the Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience area of the Department of Psychology and is presently working toward a Ph.D. in the Department of Geography. The U.S. National Science Foundation supports Drew’s work at UCSB through an IGERT traineeship in interactive digital multimedia and a Graduate Research Fellowship.

As a senior editor of The Next American City, a quarterly magazine on urban issues, Drew assembled a special issue on the future of suburbia. Drew’s other publications include two co-authored computer science textbooks from Prentice Hall, “Supporting Web Servers” and “Analyzing E-Commerce and Internet Law”; assorted technical papers; and a self-printed, self-published guide to the Bay Area.

With his doctorate, Drew intends to develop technical tools and services for architects, urban designers, and city planners to better understand the needs and desires of their environments’ inhabitants, based on basic research in spatial cognition and behavioral geography.

Drew maintains membership in the Environmental Design Research Association, the Association of American Geographers, Sigma Xi, Phi Theta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa.

More information on Drew’s research and publications can be found on-line at http://drew.dara-abrams.com/ and he can be reached at drew@geog.ucsb.edu

Photo of Alan Glennon

Alan Glennon


Alan is a doctoral student in geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara researching spatial network analysis. He is interested in the open source geostack, interactive maps, and turbulent groundwater.