Category Archives: games

Sea Hero Quest: game to aid in spatial cognition tasks

Here’s a new mobile app game that simulates virtual navigation: Sea Hero Quest. It’s been developed by researchers interested in spatial navigation, including Hugo Spiers. I got a chance to meet Hugo during a workshop on education for spatial thinking last year.

They aim to test this on patients with dementia and assess its effectiveness as a diagnostic tool. They’ve had 600,000 downloads so far, especially young teenagers, and want to sample the population across age groups. I’m looking forward to giving it a go. Anything to help ward off dementia, and for the sake of research too.

You can find it here at the Apple Store and here at Google Play.

use geography to add fun meaning to meetings

Sometimes after a long day, especially at the end of a long week, one’s mind turns to geographic amusement, or geo-musings.  Here’s mine for the day – courtesy of Emily.  Use a digital map to help you find the middle ground to meet a friend. This brings veracity to meeting in the middle! Two guys played with this idea as an art project and first met somewhere in the Czech Republic, then later up a tree in Westchester County. Emotionally appealing idea of making the commitment and then trusting each other to follow through, come hell, high water, traffic delays, or GPS errors.

I like this definition of art works by Roy Ascott, as a “trigger of experiences” rather than an “object.”

Wanted to play with different approaches for calculating exactly what “the middle” is?  Of course, it’s a geospatial question!  Try this Geographic Midpoint app.

Thanks, Emily!

mapping athletic performances

My dad just forwarded me this Slate story on Kirk Goldsberry’s basketball study.  Kirk is a fellow GIS-in-higher-ed enthusiast, currently at Harvard’s GIS Center.  He presented his study at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference; you can get a pdf of it from there too.  I love it when the popular press picks up on stories like these, as it makes the ongoing GIS awareness campaign all the more fun! Nice work, Kirk!

Kirk’s study reminded me immediately of one done by an undergrad student at St. Lawrence University several years ago. Travis Gingras, a hockey goalie and GIS intern, similarly mapped the patterns of successful hockey shots.  He won the (now defunct) Churchill Prize from NITLE for his mapping efforts.

clever Tetris cartoons

Heaven and Hell.

Via xkcd. I love that site.

Google Maps meets Cadbury Eggs

Just in time for Easter.  Are there no limits to the fun with the Google Maps API?  Try this seasonal treat.  Didn’t work for me on Google Chrome, but Firefox did fine.  The egging of a house that’s socially acceptable.

Link from Neatorama.

origami and spatial thinking

Origami involves spatial thinking along all stages.  Imagine being the one generating the original set of instructions for a design.

MIT has a whole paper folding club (?).  Paper folders make good engineers.

Origami can also involve curves, and some people choose origami as their livelihood.   (links from GreatMap).

Origami – one spatial way to make your brain work well.  Here is a list of other spatial activities, and not only for children.

angry Tetris god


I’m intrigued and amused by the legacy of Tetris, in so many ways. It’s caught the attention of numerous scientists who study cross-entropy, artificial intelligence, and norm-based social learning. I love it for its connections to spatial abilities, as talked about here, and here, and here. Its ability to focus your mind may even help with post-traumatic stress disorder. And we even have insight into those games that end so poorly.

Tetris – the magical game.