HCI Outdoors Book

At the 2018 ACM SIGCHI Workshop on HCI Outdoors, the organizers and participants decided it was time for an academic book that captured key advances in this area.  Scott McCrickard, Michael Jones, and Timothy Stelter were selected to edit the book, to be published as part of Springer’s HCI series in 2020. 

Authors from the HCI Outdoors community are invited to write chapters in their area of expertise.  If you are interested in contributing a chapter, please email any of the book editors to express interest and describe your background and contribution ideas within the HCI Outdoors domain.   We welcome interest from researchers, designers, and practitioners.   Detailed information for invited authors is also available. 

Working Title

HCI Outdoors: Community, Group, and Personal Experiences with Interactive Computing in the Outdoors 


D. Scott McCrickard, mccricks@cs.vt.edu; Michael Jones, jones@cs.byu.edu; Timothy Stelter, tstelter@vt.edu


This book will describe human-computer interaction (HCI) challenges and opportunities in outdoor settings for communities, groups, and individuals. Interactive computing, which includes technologies like mobile phones, wearables, and interactive computing installations, is increasingly used for extended periods of time outdoors outside of traditional controlled and managed indoor environments. Domains of interest include recreation, education, citizen science, wellness, and games. Scales of impact include individuals with personal devices, small groups using technology to support common goals, and large communities of people whose ways of doing and being are affected by outdoor technologies.  

This book brings together recent work and insights of leading researchers involved in HCI Outdoors, providing researchers a thorough review of work in this emerging discipline and preparation to make new contributions on this important topic.  Our focus extends these ideas to look at the design and integration of technologies into outdoor settings, including hiking trips, park visits, outdoor recreation, formal and informal education, and tech support for outdoor science and engineering.

Preliminary Chapter Authors and Titles

Sultan A. Alharthi, Katta Spiel, Nick Lalone, and Z. O. Toups, New Mexico State U., USA.  “Digital Forts and Scavenger Hunts: Playing Outside with Technology.” 

Zann Anderson and Michael Jones, Brigham Young U., USA. “Interactive Computing and Outdoor Recreation.” 

Abigail Bartolome, Dartmouth College, USA.  “Describing Trail Cultures through Tweets.”

Keith Cheverst. Lancaster U., England. Title TBA.  

Florian Daiber, Frederic Kerber, Felix Kosmalla, and Antonio Krüger. German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Germany. “Ubiquitous Personalized Assistance for the Outdoor Enthusiast”

Alan Dix, Swansea U.  Getting Nowhere Slowly.

Andrey Esakia, Virginia Tech.  Leveraging Group Dynamics toward Better Fitness.

Keith Green and Carlos Araujo de Aguiar, Cornell U., USA. Title TBA. 

Jonna Hakkila. U of Lapland, Finland. Title TBA. 

Ellie Harmon, Portland State U.  “My Maps, My Music My Everything.”

Brennan Jones, Anthony Tang, Carman Neustaedter, Simon Fraser U., Canada. “Designing Technology for Shared Communication and Awareness in Wilderness Search and Rescue.” 
Peter Kiefer, Benjamin Adams, Tiffany C.K. Kwok, and Martin Raubal, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. “Modeling Gaze-Guided Narratives for Outdoor Tourism.”  
Lindah Kotut, Michael Horning, and Scott McCrickard, Virginia Tech.  Opportunities in Conflict on the Trail.

Carman Neustaedter, Yasamin Heshmat, Brennan Jones, and Azadeh Forghani, Simon Fraser U., Canada. “Shared Family Experiences over Distance in the Outdoors.” 

Andrew Quitmeyer, Digital Naturalism Laboratories.  Title TBD.

Norman Su, Indiana U.  “Examining and Designing the Resonance of Artifacts in Nature.”


Related efforts

Additional inspiration can be found from related efforts at initiatives and workshops within this topic area, including:

  • The HCI Outdoors workshop, held as part of the ACM SIGCHI conference, which resulted in a list of relevant papers (and the genesis of this book).
  • The Technology on the Trail initiative and workshops (including the Virginia Tech workshop and the ACM GROUP workshop) have investigated ways that technology can be used on trail settings, particularly for long-term activities like extended hikes, scientific investigations, and health and wellness situations.
  • A pair of NatureCHI workshops, held in 2016 and 2017 in conjunction with the MobileHCI conferences, investigated unobtrusive user experiences with technology in nature.  A journal paper highlights many of the organizers’ reflections about the workshops.
  • A pair of UbiMount workshops, held as part of the ACM UbiComp conference, explored ubiquitous computing in the mountains in support of activities like rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, and skiing.