You Are Near #1


Digital maps on mobile devices continuously construct a universe around you; always positioning YOU in the center of the map. What happens to the user of the digital map when YOU are not in the center anymore? In this game, the subjects are only able to ‘find themselves’ on the map through collective navigation. By moving around and by paying attention to one’s physical surroundings and to other players a sense of scale and direction emerges gradually.


The prerequisites for playing the game is that you are outside and carry a mobile phone with 3G. Two apps are used for this game: A compass (you can use/install any compass app) and the browser (Safari browser for iPhone and Firefox for Android). Each player’s phone has to be set as follows:

• Location Services turned on for the browser. Settings > privacy > location services >  on for browser.

• Screen auto-lock off. Settings >  general >  auto-lock > never

• Go to the website > Select You Are Near #1 > Select Login in upper right corner. If not registered, select register first. You can use an alias and fake email.

When all players have set up their phones the game administrator creates a new game with a timer for when he/she wants the game to start. Now, each player goes to the browser and selects “play the game”. The screen remains grey until the game starts.

Now players switch to the compass app and start walking in different directions. After a couple of minutes of walking, the players switch back to the browser. As players continue to walk in the same direction they wait for the game to start (it can take a few minutes).

After a few minutes various coloured dots are visualised on each player’s mobile phone (each dot representing a different player). As the player moves (s)he leaves traces of his/her walked track on the grey background. A player has to find out which virtual dot corresponds to him/her. For instance, (s)he can do this by making a GPS drawing to see which dot corresponds to his/her movement or pace of walking. When the player finds the corresponding dot (s)he selects it by choosing ‘set who I am’ after which (s)he selects the corresponding color. A player can make up to two mistakes after which (s)he is disqualified from the game. After selecting his/her dot, the player chooses a color (s)he wants to follow (this is done by selecting ‘follow’). The first player that is able to get as close as 10 meters to the dot that (s)he selected to follow wins the game. A message will appear on everyone’s phone when this is the case. A maximum of 16 players can participate in this game.

YAN graph

Players first have to find their own avatar after which they select someone else to follow.

youarenothere1 game2 youarenothere
Photo taken by Karianne Rygh

Iteration in which players walk in separate directions prior to starting the game. Players used different tactics to make the task doable.

First Iteration in which players walk in separate directions prior to starting the game. Players used different tactics to make the task doable.

In a second iteration (May 2015) a feature was added in which players leave traces of their walked track with which the players walked tracks gradually build a map of the city.

YAN2 graph

Second iteration in which the walked lines are visualised. As the game evolves finding oneself/the other is easier as the city’s map slowly surfaces under the players feet.


The game was first launch in December 2014
App built by Iván Fuciños Calle