Demo Project: Global GPS Platform

by New Idiom

Global positioning systems have been infiltrating our planes, boats, and cars for years, more recently becoming small enough to make their way into outdoor recreational gear. But will they make their way into India and China, parts of the world where there are relatively few cars and even fewer snowboarders?

The demonstration (demo) project team, which includes Sang-Ho Lee, from the design planning track, Sukjun Lim in the communication track, Taeho Wang in product, and Manoj Adusumilli in planning, is seeking to answer this question. The hypothesis: people’s need and use of GPS is different based on language, culture, population density, technology infrastructure and geography. To get at these different needs, the themes will be explored by talking with people in the target markets.

The team will look at how people find and share information by conducting telephone interviews and sharing photos on Flickr or Facebook. He plans to get to know how culture and location influence habits, such as “When they go out, what devices do they bring?”

Jeremy Alexis, faculty adviser for the project, sounded enthusiastic about the possibility for giving a manufacturer the chance to be the first mover and gain a foothold in the fast-growing Asian market. But he suggested that the research may conclude that some markets have no need for GPS technology. In the parts of India and China where roads aren’t mapped or maps aren’t as readily available as in the US or Europe, Jeremy asks, “Is it useful for how people navigate?”

Though the project is still in its early stages, Sang-Ho has already learned how to work with clients. Pressed for details, he would only say that at the beginning of the project, where the goal is to explore all the possibilities, it is not a good idea to say anything too specific or narrow that might excite the client to the exclusion of other opportunities.

The demo project team, which also includes Sukjun Lim in the communication track, Taeho Wang in product, and Manoj Adusumilli in planning, hopes to prototype and seek feedback on a global platform for GPS devices this semester.