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Monday, May 12, 2008

Details are in the press release (interesting timing to announce it at the start of Where 2.0) but the basics are:

- issued U.S. Patent No. 7,333,820, (filed in 2002, granted Feb 2008) titled “Position Determination System

- releases states the patent “protects its intellectual property involving social networking applications such as requesting and/or pushing a user’s location via a GPS-enabled mobile device through a wireless network.”

Here’s the abstract:

The present invention is directed to a system and method for providing real-time position information of one party to another party by utilizing a conventional telecommunication network system such as the convention telephone network, a mobile telecommunications network, a computer network, or the Internet. More specifically, the preferred embodiments of the present invention allow a caller and a receiver of a telephone call to provide to and receive from each other position information related to the caller and/or receiver’s physical location, including address information, GPS coordinates, nearby fixed locations such as a parking structure, etc. Additionally, the preferred embodiments of the present invention allow a caller and receiver to retrieve routing instructions or maps for traveling to or from each other. In another embodiment of the present invention, a party may locate the position of another party via the entry of the other party’s unique identifier such as a phone number of the other party’s mobile phone. In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the position information of a party may be concurrently delivered to another party’s computer terminal whereby the other party can process the information in further detail.


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/12 at 06:56 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Brady at O’Reilly describes the site update at Platial; here’s Platial’s blog post on it. (Theme: it’s all about the map and user contributed content can be used as travel “guides.” Very Shmappy, no?).

The tidbit that strikes me in Brady’s post: “Secondly, the vast majority (>98%) of their traffic comes from browsers, people who don’t contribute to the site, so why not make sure they can find what they need?” Those percentages of contributors vs. user seem to jibe with stats on how contributes to Wikipedia vs. who uses it: “But it’s actually much, much tighter than that: it turns out over 50% of all the edits are done by just .7% of the users ... 524 people. ... And in fact the most active 2%, which is 1400 people, have done 73.4% of all the edits.”

It’s just something to think about when visiting these sites; the sample is small. It also makes me think about how mapping/GIS has been an oligarchy; specialists make the maps. Now, with Web 2.0 it’s supposed to be democratized, but it’s still an oligarchy.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/12 at 06:35 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The event begins today; Directions Media will not be in attendance. But, with the wonders of modern communications, we can follow what’s going on. Here’s a preview of what’s ahead based on pings from several companies making announcements:

FortiusOne will officially launch of Finder!, the first application of FortiusOne’s GeoCommons Suite. Finder! aims to turn unorganized, unsearchable, and unusable data, thus inhibiting their ability into something useable, so that users can produce actionable geo-intelligence. And, apparently you can visualize the found useful data in a variety of products from ESRI, Google and Microsoft.
My Take: Sounds like this app will intersect a bit with ERDAS’ Titan and WeoGeo’s self-named offering.

Whrrl is the “mobile social discovery service” from Pelago. It links mapping and micro-blogging, though you don’t have to “do anything” because it tracks where you to and compares it with where friends go. In short, you “vote” with your feet! Major announcements are planned for the spring and summer including “iPhone and BlackBerry support, a Facebook app, carrier deals, and LBS and WPS initiatives.” Rafe Needleman at Webware revisited Whrrl and offers thoughts on themes that may be found at Where.
My Take: Whrrl seems to be more of a tool to create/find reviews/suggestions of interesting locations than a social network. And, no, I’m not sure what WPS means here. But, this one is hard to ignore - it’s got some serious investors.

Lightpole, the company that invites you “to illuminate your place in the world using your mobile phone,” plans to announce “both strategic partner and new content significance”
My Take: Sounds a bit like Whrrl, but the “social” aspect, again, is played down.

Schmap, the company behind online and desktop “city guides” is announcing iPhone support. I found Schmap just interesting as a desktop/Web app though I have to say its more compelling on a mobile. The big interface tease? When you preform a local search, results are displayed in a list when the phone is vertical; turn it horizontal to get a map!
My Take: While a bit less social than Whrrl and Lightpole, users can create their own Schmaps, a bit of a different twist.

EveryScape offers up just a tease: “EveryScape will unveil its new global expansion program and new “Real World Online” with enhanced community features.”
My Take: Remember, EveryScape was out with its street facing imagery before Google’s StreetView and Mapplets. The company may be ahead of Google yet again.

Seero is there to debuting its new GPS-enabled video streams. You’ll be able to embed live GPS-ed video via a widget. See more at Mashable. The Seero folks will be broadcasting live from Where you can view the vids at Ogle Earth and GEB.
My Take: This could make for some interesting citizen journalism.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/12 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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