The De-Routing mobile application supplies urban researchers with a workshop tool to find out about the spacial aspects, which influence the urban experience. It allows the exploration of the atmospheric, social presence of urban environments, which is created by the interplay of architecture, geography and social microclimates. Inspired by the Situationist's "Theory of the Dérive", the workshop’s participants are set into the role of explorers. They explore and investigate a delimited space by following a random route through the area. At specific sites, the participants will be asked to perform certain tasks, making them engage with their environment and the people within it.
The Interface of the Android application
The de-routing smartphone app collects the answers of the participants and connects them with the location-based coordinates of their tour through the neighbourhood. This data can be explored with the De-Routing web tool. It overlays the participants route on top of a map, allowing the participants to analyse the data of all the explorers in a collaborative analysis session. Depending on the subject of concern and the nature of the environment, the task catalogue can be easily adopted.
The Interface of the Web application
The tool animates to a playful, but also serious reflection on the urban environment. It lets the locals interact with their social and physical environment in a unique way, identifying and verbalising issues and problems within the urban communities. The tool helps gathering materials that can support urban planers and other stakeholders with information on how the locals perceive their environment, helping to identify key issues within the physical and social structure in a neighbourhood. The geographical localisation of these issues may help to identify spacial domains that are critical within the area of research.


Open De-Routing Server Demo

The demo lets you modify and create new explorations. If you download the smartphone app, you can test the demo explorations by clicking on "Settings" in the app's main menu-> type in the url "" as the webservice url. Now you can download and try out the demo explorations in the app's "Setup Explorations" menu.

You could also use the demo-server to upload your recorded data to, but keep in mind that the data you collect is visible and editable by everyone.


Currently the app only runs on Android smartphones (preferably from version 4.0 on).

Below you can find the download link for the application and the web server. If you want to make changes to the source code, you can also find the github repository below.

Download application

To install the app on a smartphone, you have to allow the installation from unknown sources in your smartphone's preferences. The android application can be downloaded from here:

Download De-Routing App

Download server files

The server files can be download from here:

Download De-Routing Server

Download source code

The source code can be found on github under

To clone the source code from github repository, install git and type in console:

git clone



Installation of the de-routing server

Download the archive which contains the server files and upload it to your web server. Go to the "/api/" directory on your ftp server and rename the file "htaccess.txt" to ".htaccess". On Some servers you need to specifiy the RewriteBase in the htaccess file:
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase de-routing/api #point this path to the directory in which the .htaccess file is in
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^ index.php [QSA,L]
Open the "api/config.php" file and change the database settings to point to your database. You should also change the admin username and password, which is needed to add and modify explorations on the server. The following lines have to be changed to your servers configuration:
define('DB_USER', "user"); // database username
define('DB_PASSWORD', "password"); // database password
define('DB_DATABASE', "de-routing"); // database name
define('DB_SERVER', "localhost"); // database servername

define('ADMIN_USERNAME',"admin"); // admin username
define('ADMIN_PASSWORD',"password") //admin password;
Make your "/data/" folder writable by changing the folder's permissions to chmod 755 (on some servers you might need to set it to 777, depending on your webservers setup).

Open your web browser and point it to the "/setup.php" file. If there is no error reported, delete the "/setup.php" file from your webserver. All configuration work should be done by now and you can head to the next step to start create an exploration.

Setting up an Exploration on your webserver

Open your web browser and point it to the url where you installed the de-routing server. You should see a list of installed explorations on the server. several examplary exploration should be listed there. An Exploration contains: You should check an examplary dataset for an exploration by clicking on the Textexploration.

Click on "+add Exploration" on the top of the page to add a new Exploration. Next to each field you find a description of the parameter.

On the first page you need to type in a title, a description, and a small briefing which will be presented to the explorers in the beginning of the exploration. You also need to supply the starting location of your exploration. (One way to find the coordinates is right clicking on the location on Clicking on "What's here" will show you the gps coordinates.)

On the second page you need to type in the directional orders. Each direction contains a text and a type (left, right, forward or undirected). The orders are given randomly to the explorers before each task.

On the third page you create the task catalogue. A task consist of the following steps:

Before each teask, a random directional order is given (which were defined on the second page). Then the explorer gets presented all the defined subtasks which belong to the task in the given order. There are several options to collect data from a subtask (a slider, taking a picture, taking a video, recording audio, typing text). After all the task's subtasks are completed, the next directional order is given, followed by the next task. Unlike the subtasks, the tasks are presented in a random order to the explorer.

When you finished editing the exploration click on save. In the authentication dialog, type in the username and password which was defined in the "/config.php". On the Exploration list you can now see the id of the exploration. You need to remember this number to download the exploration on the smartphones.

Installing & Setup the de-routing app on the smartphone

Go into the smartphones Settings -> Application and allow the installation of applications from unknown sources. You should also enable the localisation of the smartphone by gps in the settings menu: Settings -> Location -> Mode -> Enable High accuracy location mode.

Download the de-routing smartphone app from this page to your smartphone and install it. Start the app, click on Settings and type in the url of your de-routing webserver followed by "/api" (The url should look something like: "http://your.web.server/install-directory/api"). Now you can click in the app's main menu on "Setup Exploration" and download an exploration to the smartphone by supplying the id number of the exploration (You can find the id of the exploration in the exploration list of the servers admin interface). Clicking on the exploration allows you to type in the explorers name and start the exploration. In order to prepare for a workshop, you need to do this step for every workshop participant.

Some hints & ideas for the workshop

Design of the Task catalogue

Analysis Session


The De-Routing App was developed within the DGTF-project "Community Now?" at the Design Research Lab/Berlin University of the Art, research unit 'Civic Infrastructures'.

Concept: Bianca Herlo, Michelle Christensen, Florian Conradi, Lutz Reiter, Andreas Unteidig
Coding: Lutz Reiter
Project Management: Bianca Herlo, Andreas Unteidig
Project Lead: Bianca Herlo Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost
Funded by: German-Israeli Future Forum Foundation (DIZF) and Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb)