In this paper, we present a qualitative study on speleology that aims to widen the current understanding of people's practices in Nature and identify a design space for technology that supports such practices. Speleology is a practice based on the discovery, study, and dissemination of natural cavities. Speleologists are amateur experts who often collaborate with scientists and local institutions to understand the geology, hydrology, and biology of a territory. Their skills are at the same time physical, technical, and theoretical; this is why speleology is defined as a ‘sporting science’. Being at the boundary between outdoor adventure sports and citizen science, speleology is an interesting case study for investigating the variety and complexity of activities carried out in the natural context. We interviewed 15 experienced speleologists to explore their goals, routines, vision of the outdoors, and attitude towards technology. From our study, it emerged that i) the excitement of discovery and the unpredictability of an explorative trip are the strongest motivations for people to engage in speleology; ii) physical skilfulness is a means for knowledge generation; iii) the practice is necessarily collective and requires group coordination. From these findings, an ambivalent attitude towards technology emerged: on the one hand, the scientific vocation of speleology welcomes technology supporting the development of knowledge; on the other hand, aspects typical of adventure sports lead to resistance to technology facilitating the physical performance. We conclude the article by presenting design considerations for devices supporting speleology, as well as a few reflections on how communities of speleologists can inspire citizen science projects.

Underground astronauts: Understanding the sporting science of speleology and its implications for HCI / Mencarini, Eleonora; Rapp, Amon; Zancanaro, Massimo. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN-COMPUTER STUDIES. - ISSN 1071-5819. - 151:102621(2021). [10.1016/j.ijhcs.2021.102621]

Underground astronauts: Understanding the sporting science of speleology and its implications for HCI

Mencarini, Eleonora;Zancanaro, Massimo
2021-01-01

Abstract

In this paper, we present a qualitative study on speleology that aims to widen the current understanding of people's practices in Nature and identify a design space for technology that supports such practices. Speleology is a practice based on the discovery, study, and dissemination of natural cavities. Speleologists are amateur experts who often collaborate with scientists and local institutions to understand the geology, hydrology, and biology of a territory. Their skills are at the same time physical, technical, and theoretical; this is why speleology is defined as a ‘sporting science’. Being at the boundary between outdoor adventure sports and citizen science, speleology is an interesting case study for investigating the variety and complexity of activities carried out in the natural context. We interviewed 15 experienced speleologists to explore their goals, routines, vision of the outdoors, and attitude towards technology. From our study, it emerged that i) the excitement of discovery and the unpredictability of an explorative trip are the strongest motivations for people to engage in speleology; ii) physical skilfulness is a means for knowledge generation; iii) the practice is necessarily collective and requires group coordination. From these findings, an ambivalent attitude towards technology emerged: on the one hand, the scientific vocation of speleology welcomes technology supporting the development of knowledge; on the other hand, aspects typical of adventure sports lead to resistance to technology facilitating the physical performance. We conclude the article by presenting design considerations for devices supporting speleology, as well as a few reflections on how communities of speleologists can inspire citizen science projects.
2021
102621
Mencarini, Eleonora; Rapp, Amon; Zancanaro, Massimo
Underground astronauts: Understanding the sporting science of speleology and its implications for HCI / Mencarini, Eleonora; Rapp, Amon; Zancanaro, Massimo. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN-COMPUTER STUDIES. - ISSN 1071-5819. - 151:102621(2021). [10.1016/j.ijhcs.2021.102621]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/302058
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