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Thursday, October 20, 2005

In a recent post, I questioned the use of GPS in a new service called EatNow.com which claims to only provide listings for restaurants (in several cities) that deliver to specific street addresses. Today I spoke with Nat Turner, the founder of EatNow.com, who confirmed that GPS had nothing to do with his solution. He explained that the press relations firm insisted on including some, alas incorrect, information about the business.

EatNow.com is planning to put out an updated news release soon, which I applaud. (I hope the PR firm does that gratis!) By the way, two other individuals also called the company on the error! That means more people actually understand what GPS is and how it works!

So, how does EatNow.com work? And, how is it different from other offerings? The big differentiator is that EatNow.com actually contacts restaurants and asks about the delivery area, which is rarely a ZIP Code polygon or defined neighborhood bounary, but rather some irregular custom polygon. EatNow.com uses a Google Maps mashup to draw the polygon, then adds it to its database. When an address is entered to look for restaurants that deliver to the address, the system performs geocodes it and does a “point in polygon” query to return all the polygons into which the address falls. Interestingly, Turner reports that no restaurants turned down the request for the delivery information.

Turner, 19, is jazzed at the response to the one-month old business and hopes to use his site for very focused location-specific advertising. He’s one of the new generation of geospatially savvy entrepreneurs; stay tuned!

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/20 at 02:39 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The New York Times continues the hype of map mashups, touting (free registration may be required) Google Maps as the early winner. It doesn’t even mention Google Earth. It does highlight the challenge of finding the right mapshup for your purposes, though it lauds Google Maps Mania for its efforts. (Mike Pegg who runs it has offered tips to this blog and I hope I’ve reciprocated by sending material his way.) Maybe it’s time for an index/catalog for map mashups?

We are to the point with the Web where if you think there should be a website for [insert idea here], there likely is, or should be one. I don’t believe I’ve found the map mashup index yet… I came up with this idea (that if you think there should be a book about something, there probably is) in high school. After a Shakespeare quiz, the kind where you have to identify the character who said a certain line, I went to the library to check my mostly guessed answers. I said to the reference librarian, “There’s a book that indexes all the words in the Bible. There should be one for Shakespeare.” To which she smiled and handed me the Concordance of Shakespeare. (Boy, did I think I was smart!) Well, the same should be true on the Web today. (Why then am I still waiting for a good index of geospatial data?)

Back to the article… One interesting tidbit: “Google’s openness to the use of its maps does have limits, though. Once a mash-up turns into a large-scale commercial enterprise, Google looks to share in the revenue. That is happening at Trulia [yet another real estate site]; Google lawyers are trying to negotiate a royalty agreement. ‘At the moment it is free,’ Mr. Flint said, ‘and we are taking advantage of it.’” Will that insistence push developers to say, Virtual Earth?

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/20 at 11:39 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

UK’s Stuff Magazine reports that the “always-soon-to-be-released” Gizmondo, the handheld game unit complete with GPS, has been shown to be practical. That’s right, a device that was stolen was said to be tracked via GPS and thief returned it. Real story or PR stunt? No one really knows. However, it is true that Gizmondo now has a companion product that turns it into a full-fledged navigation device. The technology is from ALK, the makers of Co-Pilot. Stuff says it’s “ok” but no better. Most reviews of Gizmondo have been less than positive.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/20 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

This is an actual marketing campaign from the two companies. “Customers will receive a free Garmin eTrex Legend or eTrex Legend C GPS unit with the purchase of a new Segway Human Transporter (HT), Cross-Terrain Transporter (XT), or Golf Transporter (GT) now thru January 6th, 2006. This offer is only available at participating Segway Authorized Dealers in the United States while supplies last.” I’ll be surprised if the offer a several hundred dollar GPS enhances sales of the $4500 battery powered transportation device.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/20 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tom writing at the Institute for Analytical Journalism blog notes a deal for journalists who are members of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).. Basically, ArcView’s free, assuming a three year commitment to maintenance of $400, with the first year waived, and attendance at a class. Says Tom, “ArcView, the GIS program most widely used by journalists, lists for $1,500.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/20 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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