Given the large number of sensors available through Storica as well as AIRS, we understand that you wonder what you could record and how we process that information to create the visualisations in Storica. In order to make it easier for you to experience the recordings, we discuss here some recording scenarios, based on our ongoing experience with using the system, and explain what you can visualise with Storica, which might help deciding what you record.
Can’t I Just Use the Existing Template?
Of course, you can simply use the included lifelogging template that comes pre-installed with Storica. It records many of the available information items, which are most useful for a comprehensive lifelogging experience.
If you want to better understand what the various information items entail and how to tweak the existing lifelogging template (and possibly create your own one, even different ones for different purposes), please read on! We will return to the usage of templates for such tweaking after guiding you through some of the information that can be used.
What Information Can Be Derived?
We found that knowing how your information is processed and presented has a major impact into what and how people want to record. Because of that, we include here a picture of what aspects of a user’s context are derived from the Storica (and AIRS) information (however, not all processing is currently implemented).
What can I Visualise in Storica?
In order to understand what to record, it is also good to know what you can visualise with Storica. So let’s have a look:
- Storica uses the GI, WI, BT, and BD sensors for location. GI is used for the map view (giving you location and a track as well as traveled distance over a day). It is best to record GI more frequently (say every 10 mins or every 100m distance) in order to get good tracks. WI/BT/BD are used to determine labels for your location in your stories but cannot be used for the tracks of the map view. You can define location labels in Storica under Settings->Story Viewer->Name your locations. Location labels will be used in the various views and the image is used in the story view as a background image.
- Storica provides an enriched media gallery. For using that, you will need to record the MW sensor and set the camera path correctly. You can then see the pictures you have taken throughout the day in our media gallery, enriched with the recorded context information at the moment when you took the picture. Storica also tells you in your stories, when you took pictures – just click on the picture icon and see the picture taken in a small preview.
- In order to tell you (in stories, map views, and the media gallery) what you did in terms of calls, SMS or IM, you will need to record the IC, OC (for calls), the SS, SR (for SMS) and the NO (for hangout IM) sensor. For the latter, you need to enable the STORICA accessibility service (see AIRS manual). Storica will show you a call or SMS log in the various views with the name of the person you communicated with and the content.
- If you want to keep track of your meetings, record the CA sensor and Storica will show your meetings as a meaningful event in your stories and as context in your map and media views.
- You can also record the programs running (TR) or likely visible to the user (TV) on your mobile. Storica visualises these as tag clouds where more used tasks are shown as larger text.
- If you want to visualise your music habits, you can record MP for your music tracks and artists (shown as tag clouds). If you have enabled the Storica accessibility service, you can also record Spotify information!
- Storica (and AIRS) allow for annotating your recordings, both with free text and with your mood information. For this, record the EB and MO sensor and use the widgets to annotate. Both annotations are used in your stories as meaningful events.
- Storica shows information about surrounding noise levels (AS), the local weather (VI) and phone-internal sensors for air pressure (PU) and light (LI), if these are available to record as well as for temperate (TM) and humidity (HU) (if available).
- You can also visualise azimuth (Az), roll (RO) and pitch (PI) of your phone as simple timelines. However, this is not very useful and we find information such as step counts (PD) more useful.
- Certain system information is also visualised, both in stories and timelines, such as battery (Ba), cell signal strength (CB or CS) and free RAM available (Rm).
- Storica also utilises the physiological information from attached heart rate monitors, such as the Zephyr HxM or many of the BT-Smart compatible heart rate sensors. For that, record the HP sensor to show your heart rate in your stories or maps and HI for your instant speed.
One important consideration for selecting what you want to record is battery life. Certain sensors are more battery consuming than others, so it won’t probably be a very good idea to record everything all the time.
Using Templates to Change Recording Habits
In Storica, you do have the ability to decide what you want to record or not through the Select Sensors option in the Recording Settings tab of Storica. You can also set how often certain sensors should be recorded through the other options of the Recording Settings screen.
In order to make it easier for you to save such settings for repeated use, we recommend that you use the Save menu (in the Record Settings screen). This will allow for saving the current settings as a template (with the currently used template being pre-filled as a name).
You can manage template through the Template menu in the drawer menu on the main screen.
You will then enter the Manage Template screen:
This screen shows all your templates in a list, with the currently used template being selected. Click on any entry and it will be loaded as the current template. You can also Delete the currently selected template. You can also create Shortcuts of any template on your launcher homescreen for a faster start of this profile.
In certain situations, such as when traveling, we can use a template to switch of WiFi scanning, as it is a battery consuming sensor and it might be of less use since most of the WiFi access points you will encounter won’t be possible to use for location identification (unless you are in familiar surroundings). Recording the GPS more frequently is probably a better choice here in order to get nice map traces. The list above shows a Travel template which was created to do exactly that.
On the other hand, if you expect spending a lot of time in familiar environments, you might want to rely on WiFi scanning and the adaptive GPS mode to reduce battery time. Also, you might want to disable Bluetooth scanning since most users around you are well known to you. The Diary template shown above is one such template example.
As mentioned at the start of this page, we created the Lifelogging template for you that provides the best compromise between usefulness and battery life by using adaptive GPS, recording environmental information as well as allowing for rich annotations through the Storica widgets (for mood and events).