Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Information Systems - (M.S.)

Department

Information Systems

First Advisor

Quentin Jones

Second Advisor

Marilyn M. Tremaine

Third Advisor

Fadi P. Deek

Abstract

Over the past half century social trends and new technologies have weakened local social ties and thus, the fabric of civil society itself. Mobile location-aware community systems offer one path to redress these problems by enhancing community cohesion and the formation of social capital by helping people to meet each other and coordinate their actions. However, little is known about the general population's desire and attitude towards these systems.

The design space described by the People-to-People-to-Geographical-Places Framework (P3-Framework), was used to guide a survey study of the impact of 'place' on people's social information needs and their willingness to share personal location data. At fourteen different place types (Restaurant, Post Office, etc.) in Manhattan, New York, 527 individuals were surveyed over a 4-week period. At least 77% of all respondents were willing to share personal location data with others, and over half desired to know one or more types of information about the people that came to the survey sites.

However, the effect of place - one of the core hypotheses - was found to be a weak predictor of willingness to share personal location data and interest in seeking others'. Demographics, particularly age, combined with place specific variables (i.e. frequency of visit and type of place) proved to be the leading predictors of people's willingness to be located within an absolute frame of reference.

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