Campus News

Use Foursquare to Discover Horse Mania During WEG


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2010) Visitors to Lexington during the World Equestrian Games can easily locate the horses featured in the LexArts Horse Mania 2010 public art project, thanks to a recent location-sharing project completed by Kakie Urch of the University of Kentucky's College of Communications and Information Studies.

Urch, an assistant professor of multimedia in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, tagged each of the horses with her smart phone's GPS, then uploaded their locations to the location-based service The project is part of the college's new Information Communication Technology Collaborative, or ICT Co-Lab, which emphasizes the role technology plays in communication, social interaction, education and economic development.

Urch came up with the idea after seeing the delight of Lexington locals as they gathered around the Horse Mania horses. She wanted the community to be able to share that with visitors during the Games.

eople 'check-in' there, using their smart phone, and they can share this location status on Twitter, Facebook, and with their Foursquare friends," Urch explained.

WEG visitors can use their smart phones to find the horses by typing in "Horsemania" at The horses then come up as a list, and visitors can type on a horse's name and view its location. Visitors can 'check in,' read information left by previous viewers, and leave their own feedback.

Urch and community partner Ace Weekly newspaper are extending the project with Urch's students, who are helping spread knowledge of Kentucky and Lexington to WEG visitors by adding informational tips to some of the horses on Foursquare. Visitors will then see this information when they log in to the service to find the horses. Urch hopes local residents will continue the trend by adding information of their own, to give WEG visitors from out of town more information about the horses themselves, the artists who created them, and the Kentucky culture they represent.

"We have such a wealth of information and knowledge in town," Urch said. "If someone added the tip, 'By the way, this Man O' Worchid horse is named after Man 'O War, one of the greatest horses of all time,' that will help a visitor from another state or another country."

Lexington locals can go to a standard computer at home and type in tips to some of their favorite Horse Mania 2010 horses on Foursquare.

"Our equestrian history is reflected so beautifully in these sculptures," Urch said. "There's a horse called Paris Pike, for instance. Perhaps someone can add a tip that says, 'This horse is named for Paris Pike - that's why you see all of these beautiful scenes of that area on it.'"

After tagging the horses in August, Urch conducted a voting contest with Ace Weekly as part of the newspaper's 'Best of Lexington' poll to see which horse was most popular with Foursquare users. A horse received a vote each time a visitor 'checked in' at Foursquare. The winner of the contest, recently announced in the newspaper, was a horse called Silver Rose by artist Chris Huestis. The horse is sponsored by the Webb Companies and located at 250 West Main Street.

"Partnering with the UK Information Communication Technology Collaborative to introduce Foursquare voting into the Ace Best of Lexington readers' poll for the first time is another initiative that allows Ace and Ace readers to integrate new media into their already active, 24/7 lifestyles," said Rhonda Reeves, editor/publisher of Ace Weekly. "Partnering with the state's flagship university is a tremendous asset to Ace readers who all want to stay at the vanguard of new technology and new information delivery systems."

In addition to the Foursquare voting, Ace Weekly readers were able to vote for their favorite horse by traditional ballot. The winner of the write-in vote was a horse called Henry, named for Lexington artist Henry Faulkner.

"Faulkner was a brilliant artist, a close associate of Tennessee Williams," said Urch. "People won't know that - but we can put a tip in on Foursquare to tell them.
One of the horses is by UK professor Arturo Sandoval, a world-renowned artist. We might put a tip on that horse to tell visitors that he teaches at UK, and maybe some links to his other works. My undergraduate students and I will be putting some of these tips in as we learn about crowd-sourcing."

The UK ICT Co-Lab is a dynamic cross-disciplinary endeavor designed to develop partnerships with industry, commercial, non-profit and governmental organizations to advance ICT excellence and innovation in the Bluegrass State. It engages researchers, professors, professionals and publics working together to strengthen the innovation infrastructure for the good of the Commonwealth. Areas of emphasis include: Broadband Access, Telecommunications, Globalization, Mobile and GIS, Market and Policy Analysis, Product Testing and Measurement, and Multimedia Production.
The ICT Co-Lab is a co-sponsor of UK Technology Week, coming up Oct. 18-22.

The college's dean H. Dan O'Hair said Urch is an important part of the new ICT Collaborative.
“Professor Urch has been instrumental in creating opportunities for our students in the area of information and communications technologies," O'Hair said. "Through her leadership, the ICT Collaborative will foster a rich learning environment where technology will be leveraged to address some of society’s most pressing challenges such as health care, economic development and educational reform.”