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Being reminded based on where you are

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  • Being reminded based on where you are

    Hello,

    I'm working on a project which would allow to get reminded of tasks based on where you are.

    It sends you an text message or a iphone push notification based on your location.

    Example:
    - you are at work, it will send you a reminder that you need to get some paper work signed.
    - you are at the grocery store, it will send you a reminder that you need to buy milk
    - you are at the bank, it will send you a reminder that you need to order checkbooks.


    What does the GTD methodology says about that?

    Thanks for you feedback.

  • #2
    Pushing Context

    Sounds a bit like you are pushing the context. The only real problem I see with it is the accuracy of the location awareness. Been doing some work in location aware programming for mobile systems and you need pretty good accuracy for the apps to be really useful. GPS is a good start but not nearly fine enough for some apps. Combining location awareness with direction finding (where are you looking/pointing in addition to where you are) seems to provide more useful data.

    Other big issue is how to enter in the items for that location. The user interface needs to be simple. So far the apps that are using location awareness to push notifications are not that easy to create the notes when not in that same location. i.e. they all do "make a note about here" fairly well but have a harder time allowing you to "make a note that I won't see until I am there" Got to solve the user interface before it will become useful to more than a few hard core gadgeteers.

    As to how it fits with GTD, my own take is that it can be used to refine context when you have contexts defined based on location.

    In my own system I have a context of Delta & GJ, 2 towns that are quite far away we get to maybe once a month or so. Within that there are stores and it might be useful to have my shopping app alert me when I pass a store where I have some threshold of items needed but so far my playing with such location aware apps has met with disaster as they cannot distinguish where I am with fine enough detail to be useful.

    A more useful thing for me personally would be to be able to take a high accuracy datapoint at the time I make a note for a future action. We are doing this now with a GPS tracker I can wear on a lanyard around my neck that is time synched to my camera but it's a kludge. A more seamless version of this would be personally useful.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response Oogiem. It's really useful to have this kind of feedback.

      The project I'm working on (www.jellydo.com) is (for now) leveraging foursquare to retrieve location (GPS location) and to match your location with venue tagged by a community of users.

      It might be sub-optimal for now for a lot of users, but I didn't want to spend time building a location framework, I really wanted to focus on the reminder part of it.

      In the future, i can definitely see that the app would recognize user created tag, specific location or even specific long/lat.

      Regarding the last comment you made, I'm not sure I agree for my specific use cases. Most of the time, when my current location when I make a note is not the location where I can proceed with the task. However, having a way to automatically tag a task with current place could be really useful. I'll think about that.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mehdi View Post

        What does the GTD methodology says about that?
        I do this on android phones at the moment with Tasker. However Tasker has the advantage of being able fire up my lists by other triggers - such as wifi points sensed nearby, net location, time of the day, entries in the calendar, missed calls from certain people, emails or SMS received, incoming calls, etc.

        There's a couple of things to think about I would say.

        Firstly is that GPS completely kills the battery on phones so you cant rely on it.

        Second is that reminders based on pure location are not as helpful as they might sound, once you get you hands on them.

        You see you only go to certain places in the first place because you have something to do there. For example I only go to the bank to pay in cheques, I dont wander in and then suddenly get reminded by my phone I that have a reason to be there. Similarly I only go to meet someone to discuss the things on my agenda with them. I dont arrange a meeting and then afterwards find there's something to talk about.

        It might be helpful when going to a friends house perhaps, an occasion where you would go anyway without an agenda, and need reminding there's something specific to talk about.

        The only place I go where I wander in and might need reminding about something else is when I go to the shops, since that's the place I tend to go without at least a minutes thinking about what I might need.

        A third problem is that with Tasker has a location based action system, not a location based reminder system. So it launches apps or urls that I already use.

        With a push reminder, the system is additional to anything else you have. You have to go in and specifically add items. So its not set it and forget it, its something you have to do week after week as part of your weekly review. Also it means that you might miss other opportunities. I have my lists with me all the time, so if I go to a different shop the list is still there to check against. With a push reminder you wont have access to it.

        I actually think the last one of these is your biggest barrier. Location based reminders (vs location based actions) are one of those things that are useful if they involve no effort. If i was doing my thing anyway and could just press a button that said "remind me here" then it would be fantastic.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Oogiem View Post

          A more useful thing for me personally would be to be able to take a high accuracy datapoint at the time I make a note for a future action. We are doing this now with a GPS tracker I can wear on a lanyard around my neck that is time synched to my camera but it's a kludge. A more seamless version of this would be personally useful.
          if you have an android phone or (i assume) iphone, you could take a geotagged photo and upload it to google maps with a note when you get back to your desk? Same principle as you're doing now I suppose.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
            if you have an android phone or (i assume) iphone, you could take a geotagged photo and upload it to google maps with a note when you get back to your desk? Same principle as you're doing now I suppose.
            Well I personally have a iPod, so no camera, but that is basically what I am doing. It's still a kludge. We have an Android phone working on location aware stuff and even the best of that stuff is a bit clunky still.

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            • #7
              Omnifocus on a mobile device will show you where you can do stuff, but you have to define a context for each location. It does allow a search for a term, such as Whole Foods, which will show all the locations in the area matching the term. It sounds good, but in fact I don't use it because it is more trouble to manage than it's worth.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                It does allow a search for a term, such as Whole Foods, which will show all the locations in the area matching the term.
                Plus it uses google maps for the location data which is somewhat inaccurate in many places.

                My view is location based contexts is not yet ready for prime time.

                Closest that is working is some of the augmented reality stuff out there, esp in Japan.

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                • #9
                  Really great detailed response bishblaize.

                  I think you are onto something really true here:

                  Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
                  I actually think the last one of these is your biggest barrier. Location based reminders (vs location based actions) are one of those things that are useful if they involve no effort. If i was doing my thing anyway and could just press a button that said "remind me here" then it would be fantastic.
                  I have been dreaming about a system that won't require any efforts. This is going to be tricky.
                  I'm thinking about a system that doesn't require to explicitly be set a context for each of the todos. A system that processes the todos and can figure out by itself where can that todo happen.

                  Example : Buy milk, the system can conclude that this needs to be done at a grocery, a creamery or even possibly a drugstore. And then reminds you when you are close to those location.

                  The system should be able to learn from the previous entries and from where people get stuff done.

                  This is probably pretty far in the future but with a combination of a machine learning, and natural language processing, I believe this is possible.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even more support for you.

                    Originally posted by mehdi View Post
                    Example : Buy milk, the system can conclude that this needs to be done at a grocery, a creamery or even possibly a drugstore. And then reminds you when you are close to those location.

                    The system should be able to learn from the previous entries and from where people get stuff done.
                    The system should also be able to learn how often you buy milk and suggest that maybe it's time to buy it now.

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                    • #11
                      Location reminders are completely unnecessary and overcomplicating matters -- if you ask me. I know of several software where this is a feature such as Omnifocus.

                      The truth is one should know intuitively and from one's lists what to do where; one ought not to rely on software to "remind" what to do where.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                        The system should also be able to learn how often you buy milk and suggest that maybe it's time to buy it now.
                        True. The system needs a little bit more of machine learning from what i originally imagined.

                        Originally posted by alsa
                        The truth is one should know intuitively and from one's lists what to do where; one ought not to rely on software to "remind" what to do where.
                        I agree this might sound over killing, but if you do the analogy between lists and reminders, you could argue that one ought not to rely on software to know what are his todos. How many time did you do a list, and forget about it? The list (and its items) should come to you in the right context. That's my opinion.

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