php/mysql project to signup, update and store visitor profile information
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README

This project is an RFID based check-in system. Users can swipe their RFID card to leave a digital footprint of
their profile information at a particular location. The system requires an infrastructure of RFID cards (one RFID
card per user), and a set of RFID readers (so-called "Check-in points"). While it is open and fairly flexible for
deployment in any location, the system has been designed for the use in public libraries and community centres.
The aim is to augment the physical infrastructure of a place with social information about the people who traverse that place towards
ice-breaking conversations and making links between people. This idea basis on an understanding of the library
as a social hub for knowledge and information.

A first instance of the Check-in sytem is being piloted at "The Edge" (http://edgeqld.org.au), a Digital Culture Centre and
initiative of the State Library of Queensland.

The project consists of 6 components:

- Database
All users' profile information and RFID numbers are stored in a MySQL database. The database also keeps track of user checkins, i.e. timestamps and locations
when each user checks in.

- User Profile Web Interface
Users can enter and update their profile information through a dedicated web interface. The backend is developed in
PHP, using the CodeIgniter framework.

- RFID cards
Each user of the system is provided with an 125kHz RFID card. During the registration process, the ID-number of the
RFID card is entered into the database and referenced with the user's profile information. Everytime the user swipes
his RFID card at an RFID Checkin Point, the user is marked as present at the respective Checkin Point in the database.

- Visualisations
This folder contains different visualisations of the checkin data. The goal is to develop aesthetically pleasing visualisations
that provide information about the social space of the location where the system is installed. These can e.g. contain
interests, backgrounds, projects and status messages of the people who are currently checked in. Rather than just using
textual information we are looking for ways to develop ambient displays, i.e. displays that provide information in the
periphery of people's attention, e.g. by producing subtle changes in the environment. These can be projections, public displays,
networked lights. We started developing initial visualisation concepts in Processing, but any programming / InfoViz platform can be used.
The data can be obtained trough the API in JSON format.

- RFID Checkin Points:
A Checkin Point is a physical component that consists of an RFID reader and a microcontroller with network access
to process the RFID user card values and submit a checkin in the user database. For this project we use the SNARC
(http://www.hsbne.org/projects/SNARC) controller with an onboard ATMEGA328 and Ethernet chip, but the source code is fully compatible
with an Arduino and Etherneshield. Each checkin point has an ID and marks its location in the database accordingly.

- API
A restful API provides access to real-time Checkin data in JSON format. The API can be used by graphic designers and 
visual artists to develop real-time information visualisations of the checkin data.




NOTES:
1) Applying the checkin-system project to another country / timezone

The DATETIME timestamps in the MySQL table 'checkin' are stored in UTC +10 (Brisbane local time) format.
In case this project is to be applied to a different location with a particular local time, following adjustments need to be made:

- checkin_submit_manual.php => change $dateTime variable accordingly
- timezone.php => change $timezone = variable accordingly. this is necessary because some MySQL VIEWs, e.g. the 'view_checkins' VIEW has a MySQL function that compares the checkin time with the local NOW() time of the MySQL server.

With the changes mentioned above, the checkin system can be run from any PHP/MySQL server, independent from its location (i.e. timezone). UNIX_timestamps are not appropriate
for this project as it envisions to make use of MySQL DATESTAMP functions in the future.