Share views on town with giant devices

Ian Johnson with the viewpoint device. Picture by The Ambler
Ian Johnson with the viewpoint device. Picture by The Ambler

Giant iPod-like devices have been installed in parts of Amble and the public are being asked to interact with them.

Newcastle University PhD student Ian Johnson has chosen the town as the base for a trial run of a new gadget, which collects public opinion about a geographical area. The information can then be used in local decision-making.

Ian is finishing his first year at Newcastle University’s Open Lab, studying Digital Civics. His research project is part of the Local Democracy programme.

“I’ve created an interactive map where people can respond to questions about how they feel about different places and spaces in their community,” said Ian.

The viewpoint devices, as they are called, use a heat map and by touching the screen, information is collected and people can also see what others have selected.

Ian added: “Hopefully I’ll get some interesting data that might show shared concern for a particular part of the town.”

The trial will take place during August and four devices have been placed around Amble: at Amble Development Trust, the Harbour and the library, while a roaming device will visit cafés and pubs.