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Thursday, January 26, 2006

TechDirt reports that the company went public Wednesday, via Dutch Auction, a method that Google used. The odd part, says, Mike, Traffic.com has yet to turn a profit. He also points out that it’s not really a .com company, but a “real company.”

From the standpoint of location-based services, a good traffic provider is key, so this could be a winner when/if LBS ramps up…

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/26 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In a blog post at Search Engine Journal on the new imagery in Google Local/Earth (more and higher resolution in some areas) Greg Sterling let slip what he learned from a conversation with MapQuest recently:

... they said they were exploring options to offer something “at least as good” as what Microsoft was doing with aerial photography.

At one time GlobeXplorer offered imagery on the MapQuest site, but that’s not been the case for many years. That allowed Google and Microsoft to jump ahead of MapQuest in the imagery space, though the veteran still rules for many when it comes to providing directions. I’m excited to see how MapQuest hopes to outdo Google and Microsoft.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/26 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The new GPS signal hinted at yesterday will be called “L2C” is designed for commercial needs, which is no surprise with Galileo breathing down the world’s neck. Deputy Commerce Secretary David Sampson provided a few details at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event (full text of his statement). Here are some of the more interesting tidbits:

Global GPS sales have surpassed $20 billion a year, and will keep on growing at a healthy rate, according to industry estimates. Over 95% of GPS units sold are for civilian use.

Today we’re officially announcing deployment of another major upgrade to GPS. In September, the Air Force launched the first in a series of next-generation GPS satellites. The satellite was declared operational in December and is now broadcasting a second civilian signal that enables significant increases in accuracy and reliability when combined with the original signal.

The new signal, known as L2C, was specifically designed with commercial needs in mind. For example, it is transmitted with a higher effective power, so GPS receivers work better in urban areas and indoors. And it requires less energy to receive the signal, an important feature for battery-powered devices such as mobile phones.

In addition, the new signal is broadcast at the same radio frequency that many high-end users, such as surveyors, already leverage to boost GPS accuracy. For them, the benefit will be enhanced reliability.

I understand many thousands of units were sold over the past year in anticipation of the new signal. The fact that companies have invested in a new, unproven capability months before it was even available, speaks volumes about the commercial value of L2C.

Most of the gains will come from increased productivity.

More satellites in this constellation are expected later this year. No word in his talk about when it’ll actually be useable. But, there are more signals to which to look forward:

Looking ahead, we plan to introduce a third civilian GPS signal. This signal is designed to meet the stringent needs of airlines and other “safety-of-life” transportation, including an exclusive radio band, higher power, and greater bandwidth. The new signal also will be integrated into the national transportation system and will play a vital role in improving safety, fuel efficiency, and capacity in our airspace, railroads, and highways.

In addition, we have begun work on yet another, fourth signal. It will augment the original L1 signal. We are working with Europe, Japan, Russia, and other nations to make this signal an open, international standard. This would result in dramatic improvements in the performance of GPS in cities and other areas.

 

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/25 at 05:36 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Web User (UK)  reports that Google Earth is in the top ten Web searches for the past four weeks accordign to HitWise, a company that keeps such stats. Searches for the term have increased 20 times since October. Says a HitWise analyst: the growth of Google Earth seems to be viral, spread by personal recommendation.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/25 at 07:23 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“Describe [...] to your Uncle Harry who asks you at Christmas dinner what GIS [geographic information systems] is.”

Nicole L. Ernst, geospatial technology instructor and coordinator at Harrisburg Area Community College, describing one of her student’s first assignments, as described in the Patriot-News.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/25 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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