I've set up a Code4Lib 2013 layer in the Android/iOS augmented reality application Layar [1] to do something that I think---I hope---will add an interesting and fun element to the conference.

You can use it to scan around the city to see two kinds of things: 1) tweets using the #c4l13 or #code4lib hashtag (if the tweets are geolocated so they can be nailed to a point) and 2) points of interest from the shared Google Maps that have been set up [2].

During the day all of the tweets will be coming from everyone at the UIC Forum, so that's not too interesting ... but I hope that outside the conference times, when people are all over Chicago, they'll be tweeting, and that's when you might wonder, "Where's everyone at?" and you can hold up your phone, look around, and see that a bunch of folks are two blocks over there at a blues club and another bunch are up over there trying obscure beers and someone else posted a picture of an LP she just bought down the block, and that a comic book store someone recommended is a half mile that way.

It's an Code4Lib-augmented view of Chicago: you look around and see what we're all doing and where we're hanging out, and all the places we're interested in or recommend.

To try it out, intall Layar on your phone, then run it, click to go into Geo Layers mode, and search for "code4lib 2013". Launch the layer and look around. You probably won't see anything around you, but next time you tweet something with #c4l13 (and the tweet is geolocated so you're sharing your latitude and longitude) it will show up.

So, if you want to try it, add points to the Google Maps, and when you're in Chicago, tweet!

I don't know how well it will work, but please test it and try it, because I think if it does turn out it will be a lot of fun.

It can work for any conference or event. The program driving this is Laertes [3], and the code is here:


It's pretty straightforward, and if you're comfortable running a modern Ruby web app then to make your own layer it's just a matter of some basic configuration at Layar's web site and customizing Laertes by editing a hash tag in a config file. Or maybe I could host it for you, for a while at least.

See you soon,


[1] http://www.layar.com/
[3] As in Odysseus's father, who was one of the Argonauts and did a fair bit of travelling, and because his name has "layer" in it.

William Denton
Toronto, Canada

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