Just watched a video of a recent talk by a University of Washington professor named Popovic. His schtick is crowd-sourcing difficult tasks by turning those tasks into games. (Have you heard of Rosetta, an online protein-folding game? He was in on that.) He mentioned a new
gam project: PhotoCity. In this game, you are a member of a team. You take photos of local buildings. If your team takes enough photos of a building from enough angles you "capture" that building for your team.
Various research groups have been figuring out 3-D data of places, figuring it out from massive numbers of photos. There's a cool video out there from a MicroSoft research group where they reconstruct St Mark's square (I think?) from the tons and tons of tourists' photos that are out there. But not all spots have so many photos. I think I took a photo of UW's red square once. Not many people have taken such photos, not compared to St Mark's. How do you
tric encourage more people to take photos of a place? Turn it into a game, a game that encourages folks to take more photos of an area than they otherwise might.
I know some Seattle-area folks read this blog, and they might be excited when they look at that PhotoCity site: the game's happening now in Seattle! They can win! San Francisco people might not be so excited: Seattle, Ithaca, Manhattan, Boston, Chicago (hey Joe, you got some free time?), Moscow (oh that other red square), ... but no San Francisco, no Palo Alto, ...
I registered anyhow. And when I registered there was a list of starting locations to choose from. I couldn't help but notice that San Francisco's Union Square was one of those choices. So maybe there's hope for the not-too-distant future. Just sayin'.