Tom’s Field

During July members of 6th Sense joined Janet on Tom’s Field.

Tom’s Field is a campsite on the Isle of Purbeck, in Swanage, Dorset, and home of the Sixth Sense Toursim case study.

The vision is simple: to understand how new technology might enable better use of travel resources to reduce the carbon footprint of tourism travel.

To do this we are seeking ways to reveal destination based transport opportunities to tourists in the immediate future. The project uses smartphones and will embed users and their vehicles in a social network based around a Dorset campsite (Tom’s Field Camping near Swanage). Based on the social network and travel prediction, the smartphone will reveal problems, such as congestion or lack of car parking, and suggest opportunities to better use the transport resources available.


July’s visit involved scoping the site and introducing campers to the research project. The visit generated a great deal of excitement as people offered to take our iPhones out for the day and begin gathering GPS and sensor data about their day trips.

Early discussions with campers took place regarding the use of people number plates as a gateway to a social media platform as outlined in our paper: Internet of Cars and our presentation in the same month at the RGS with IBG conference. That explored how the capacity of new mobile technologies is mediating the coordination of activities and altering social and spatial practices and challenging our understanding of the transport network. The papre presentation continued to argue that our concept of the transport system that is governed by clock-time, is not catching up with peoples concepts for social networking. For example, despite representing an extraordinary number of nodes within a system, of the 31,035,791 registered cars on UK roads, very few are actually represented in digital networks. In direct contrast is the precedent of 50 million users of mobile social networking worldwide. Not only does this build and reinforce social ties distributed over time and space, it also permits real-time data streams to inform network participants of new recommendations and the scope to establish new network nodes.

The presentation set out the 6ST platform and app innovation concept and explores how this might serve to anticipate opportunities for connections that are otherwise invisible to current users (e.g. a tangible ‘Internet of cars’). This offers users the potential to re-distribute decision-making processes about travel and offers a critical socio/technical substrate around which new transport habits may emerge. If we provide people with a way to visualise and augment the state of the ‘transport network’, then we might be able to realise more opportunistic and collaborative uses for transport resources and reduce carbon emissions.



We understand the extent to which behavioural change in transport habits and practices can be facilitated through the creation of a new form of ‘transport network’, based on extending social tablet.pngnetworking principles to transport users.

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Mobile Apps

The project has developed a suite of mobile phone apps for each of the corresponding research contexts. Watch videos and read details of the projects aims, phone-exploded.pngkey findings and outputs.

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The 6ST team comprised researchers from the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Salford, people.pngBournemouth and Lancaster.

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