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Friday, December 16, 2005

Kevin Maney writing in USA TODAY talks about the tech of the future, including this discussion of GPS and indoor sensors.

He reels off a Stanford project that builds GPS, sensor recognition and voice recognition into a walker for those who might need directions indoors or out. He notes: “GPS even will be embedded in handheld video game players so the games will be aware of what’s around you.” Right, I think Gizmondo hopes to/has promised to have that now

Also on the list a Microsoft Research project with a digital camera that inlcudes “tiny sensors — an accelerometer that senses when you move, infrared sensors that know when a person is standing in front of you, GPS and more.” You can set preferences to take pictures based on location or proximity to a tourist attraction. Eye glasses (and swim googles designed by a student) enhanced with sensors and/or GPS can measure swimming time and distance or guide skiiers back to the lodge with “print outs” on the lenses.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/16 at 07:12 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I interviewed Colum Caldwell today, president and CEO of Optimal Geomatics, a company that provides aerial surveys and LiDAR data acquisition for the electric power and gas utility industry. These industries are the backbone of geospatial data technology and represent the traditional and staid, not necessarily ones to be early adopters of the new and fashionable. But still, Mr. Caldwell shared with me another piece of ancecdotal evidence that Google’s reach into all aspects of geospatial technology is daunting. One of his customers asked Optimal to mashup a visualization tool using Google Maps. Now that from one of the traditional mainstays who probably prefer spreadsheets and charts is just another data point of Google’s influence in the geospatial community. What’s next…CAD drawings with Google Maps?

by Joe Francica on 12/15 at 02:10 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The New York Times turns its Technology Basics column (may require free registration) on GPS. While for us pros, there’s quite a lot of review, it’s worth noting the addition of internal tools to “take over” when GPS signals are lost.

Hassan Wahla, senior director of business development at TeleNav, said special “predictive functionality” in the system calculates where a user is and then - based on speed, as determined by an internal accelerometer - indicates where the user is likely to be when satellite signals are interrupted. The effect is rather seamless, he said.

“If you lose signal while traveling under a bridge or because of a tall building, you keep navigating,” he said. “The entire trip is downloaded in the first minute of a trip and is stored on your phone or BlackBerry as you’re driving. If the G.P.S. goes offline, you will continue to be given guidance. It knows your last known location and speed.”

There’s a nice slide show, too, that shows the physical similarities and differences between consumer units.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/15 at 07:20 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

It’s no secret that Google Local/Maps is based on Australian technology, but of late, the company has been recruiting geo grads as new employees. Reports Australian IT:

The company would not comment on the recruitment drive, but AustralianIT understands Google is looking for 15 graduates to work in the Sydney headquarters of Google Maps, in addition to the 12 software engineers already working there.

Also of interest in the article, this comment: “While not as well-known as Google Earth, the mapping technology [Google Local/Maps] is hugely popular in the US, where it can be used interactively to provide driving directions, plan trips and find businesses.” Is that right? Is Google Maps/Local less known that Earth? I certainly use the former more often than the latter.


by Adena Schutzberg on 12/15 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In Wisconsin the idea is to use geocaches to help visitors (and locals) explore the state. An AP article notes, “John Kuehl, the eBusiness director for Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism, wants communities to nominate local sites of beauty or historical significance. The state will then list the sites online by their GPS coordinates.” But of course law enforcement has to look out for those hidden packages, one of which prompted a visit by a bomb squad. A geocache hidden up in Maine at Acadia National Park by a friend of mine was removed. A nice call from a ranger explained it had the qualities of a planned event, something not allowed under park rules.

by Adena Schutzberg on 12/15 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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