It’s not often that I cover news of betas here but Hewlett-Packard has just launched an open beta of Mscapes, an interactive location-based software suite. Now that handheld GPS devices are here, the inventors at HP Labs are moving beyond personal navigation: we are expanding the world around us with a simple tool that builds compelling interactive experiences that you control as you move from place to place.
Revealed at a gaming presentation last month, MScapes is a software suite that allows users equipped with GPS-enabled Windows Mobile devices to interact with their environment. For example, you could find yourself playing a game in a park and particular locations would trigger specific events. This technology could also be used for guided tours (such as the one HP created for the Yosemite National Park).
The site features a number of small applications that illustrate how Mscapes will work as well as the mediascapes player for your GPS–enabled Windows Mobile device and a toolkit for you to start playing with.