A group of researchers in Victoria are currently using smart phones in a quirky and fun project called 'tell us where.'
The idea is super simple - log into www.telluswhere.net on your internet enabled phone anywhere in Victoria, Australia, then confirm your location. Once you've done that type in a description of where you are - just how you would normally describe that place to another person.
Simple as that!
Lesley Stirling at the university of Melbourne explains what your input will be used for:
"We will use this information in an academic research project that aims to discover the underlying rules and principles for how people talk about places in Melbourne and Victoria (the game is currently limited to Victoria). By submitting your place descriptions you will be helping generate a large body of knowledge about how humans describe places in Victoria. In turn this will help develop better web searching, mapping and navigation systems, and even emergency services. For more details about the research behind the project, please see http://www.geom.unimelb.edu.au/winter/proj-place/index.htm."
Everytime you log in and submit an answer you'll go into the draw for an iTunes voucher, and you can log in as many times as you like. Sounds like great fun, and a relatively unobtrusive way to gather really interesting data. Just a pity my phone is about 5 years before the smart phone revolution!