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Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Program

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2008

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

Social Networks, Location Sensing, VolunteerGet, RFID, .NET, Information System

Abstract

The emergence of Online Social Networking service which have introduced new paradigms of sharing have changed the way people interact with each other. They provide an easy and creative way to connect with people. As a result there are all kinds of people like working professionals, students, businessmen and many more who participate actively in such networks. Social Networking services are also turning out to be a medium for promoting small scale business, books, events etc. Apart from this there is substantial literature which suggests that social connections can be created, maintained and strengthened through computer mediated channels of communication with special importance being given to the role of internet in maintaining social relations.

Thus the social networking services build digital connections among people who are socially connected. Though the users can leverage a host of applications/services like messaging, chatting, file sharing, discussions in groups, activities etc from these online social networking applications, there is no relevance given to the context/location of a user in the existing setup.

With the technology moving from personal computers to hand held and intelligent devices with embedded technology and connectivity there is a rise in the development of pervasive computing applications which provide easy access to required information and applications through a class of ubiquitous equipment that operate when and where needed. This adds value to the existing infrastructure by providing services which are “anytime and anywhere”.

Social networking applications hold a vast amount of personal data that can be used to improve the experience of users in the physical space. With the changing environment of users and also that of the people in their social network a system with a capability of examining the environment and providing highly personalized services to the user is highly desirable. Thus the work described in this document will project a social networking service that gives significance to the location of a user. In other words we will see how social networking services can migrate from networked personal computers to more ubiquitous hand held devices like PDA’s, Smart Phones which would involve the location information of the physical space in order to make social experiences more meaningful. The primary goals of this work are:-

1.To develop a social network service and deploy it to a select set of users and monitor the level of interaction. 2.Propose an architecture which could be used to implement location awareness in the social network service developed. 3.Develop a prototype and provide a “proof of concept” of the architecture and the system designed. 4.Survey privacy issues that are of great importance in such systems.

This work will produce a framework and perception of designing a social networking service that is location aware. The resulting system will be deployed to a set of users’ in order to understand the usage pattern of such systems. This would give a good picture of how such systems would be perceived and compared to the existing online social network services that are insensitive to the change in location of its users.

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Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Ganz, Aura