Location-Aware De Facto Calendaring

September 28, 2008

CSC 2526 Project Proposal

Aran Donohue

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Location-Aware De Facto Calendaring


On a sunny Monday afternoon, Mark walks west along College Street toward University Avenue. His Apple iPhone 4G buzzes on the lanyard hung around his neck. He looks at the screen. A map is displayed, with an icon at the centre that indicates his location. Another highlighted icon represents an acquaintance who is 120 metres away and walking east toward the same intersection. 

He wouldn’t have remembered her name, but a label next to the icon informs him that her name is Sal. He taps the icon. The phone displays a dashboard about Sal. A photograph of her at the top would take him to her Facebook profile if he had access. A snippet from his Calendar Application shows that he last met Sal before a class two weeks ago for ten minutes, and they had no prior meetings. Tapping it would take him to the minutes of that meeting. A snippet from his To-Do Application shows that he has no outstanding tasks that involve her. Tapping it would bring up a listing of previous tasks that involve her—in this case, none. Finally, another snippet from a Relationship Management Application shows just the text “loves jazz.” He suddenly remembers discussing jazz briefly when they met. Tapping it would bring him to a more extensive person-oriented note-keeping application. 

Mark quickly switches to an Events Application, and searches for “jazz.” It knows his location, so it returns a result for an upcoming show at a nearby jazz bar. He drops the phone back to his chest. The entire process took about fifteen seconds. 

Mark looks up, smiles, and says hi as Sal approaches. She pauses at the corner and they chat for a few minutes. He casually mentions that he heard about an upcoming jazz show, and she indicates her interest in attending. They part ways.

In class, Mark opens his Calendar Application. Under the “De Facto” category, a new event appeared, with a six-minute duration and tagged with the location of the College & University intersection. Its attendees list includes Sal. The “Additional Links” section includes photos taken every sixty seconds during the conversation and an audio recording of the meeting. He hits the “New Event” button. A template comes up. Under the “Attendees” section, Sal’s name shows up as one of the “Suggested Attendees” due to the recent meeting. Under the “External Events” meeting, the upcoming Jazz show appears due the recent search. He chooses both, types a quick message, and invites her to the show. By the time Mark’s class ends, Sal has accepted the invitation.

Story Review

The preceding story suggests several applications:

  • Push-notification location-based social networking
  • Contact dashboard
  • Tagging Calendar events with Contacts
  • Tagging To-dos with Contacts
  • Personal Relationship Manager. Like a Customer Relationship Management tool, but for personal, casual use.
  • Location-aware semantic web search, in this case for events
  • De facto Calendaring: Location- & social network-aware capture & access for Calendar
  • SenseCam-like capture & access for standard mobile devices
  • Intelligent Calendar suggestions


I propose a project to research the utility of a De Facto Calendar.

Needs Met/Problem Solved

We constantly lose records of many short, casual and important meetings. For example, Software Engineering researcher Jorge Aranda has discovered that most discussion about software bugs happens off of online bug trackers. A de facto Calendar would permit easier record-keeping of these discussions.


Users: Wealthy, educated individuals who already use electronic calendars.

Tasks: Recall and publication of notes about meetings.

Situations: Short, uncalendared meetings.

Novelty & Value

Many important information exchanges happen during short, unscheduled meetings. Consider discussions with a professor after a class, informal meetings at work around the coffee-maker, or an impromptu chat while walking to class. Capture of relevant information from these meetings might be valuable.

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