Geo Mood Map: Data Visualization Prototype

I have long been interested in the idea of doing a mood mapping projects for personal understanding and growth, quality of life improvements and a search for fulfillment. These are lofty goals and big expectations, I know. I am aware that my project probably won’t amount to much in these areas but in the least I expect to be able to glean some simple insights regarding what makes me happy.

Since the beginning of this semester my focus at ITP has shifted towards the exploration of personal wellness. For a long time I have been interested in helping myself and others create possibilities and fulfillment in their lives. Since last year many seeds have been planted that are now enabling me to make this shift. Here is a brief overview of the various “fertilizers” that have helped create this budding possibility:

  • Over the last year I have had a personal focus on my physical and mental health. Health was actually my theme for the year. As part of this initiative I am practicing yoga and meditation. I have also overcome an addiction that was acting as impediment to my personal growth.
  • During this time I have also developed a new relationship with food. This was largely driven by the need to start cooking to save money, but has now blossomed into my involvement in local food communities such as my neighborhood CSA.
  • During the past year I’ve also had the opportunity to listen to and participate in many inspiring conversations. Two, amongst the many, people who have contributed to my life in this area are my mom (aka my yogi) and Linda Stone (who has some very interesting notions about post-productivity computing – check it out here).

One thing that has become clear to me over the past several years is that life cannot be reduced to language. I know this sounds like an obvious claim. However, living in our mind-obsessed society I have noticed that I have become accustomed to focusing (better yet, limiting) my experience of the world around to what can be grasped by my mind and described in language. I know that my mind does not have the bandwidth to enable me to experience the true richness of the world all by itself. The models of the world that reside in my mind and the language which acts as a filter on my experience arbitrarily cuts up the real world into small dead symbols that lack the beauty of the reality to which they point.

Ok, now I am getting preachy and rather esoteric. To bring it back down to earth, I just want to say that it is only through our body and its intelligence that we can more fully experience life. So now bringing it back to my current pursuits, I want to work on developing technologies that are designed for human beings, not human minds.

I’ll keep today’s journal entry focused on the big picture. I’ll share more about the specifics of how I plan to achieve this in the next couple of days. In the meantime, you can download the code for this patch from github. I’ve already created a few prototypes so progress is happening at a steady clip.

Leave a Reply