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Monday, October 13, 2008

Santa Rosa, California hired Bay Area @city to photograph the structures on its streets and provide software to access them. The local paper compares the images to the “controversial” Google Street View images, but with higher resolution. Further, the images are only available to the city, not the public. The goal: “save employee time, cut paper waste and curb emissions by reducing driving.” Oddly, @city’s technology is called “Steetview” and the website is copyright 2006, seemingly the last time it was updated.

This statement about funding for the technology and use made me think of Pictometry:

Funding for the photo project was provided through a state grant to help cities measure how much greenhouse gases are being removed by local trees.

With the new street-level technology, Hargreaves can quickly pull up a photo of a tree along a city street and let the software determine its height and diameter. These measurements allow the city to calculate how much greenhouse gases are absorbed by the canopies of trees along Santa Rosa streets.

Then there is the public safety side and compliance side, as used in Hayward. These are typically two big issues for Pictometry:

Hayward police officers have laptops installed in their vehicles with software to view the street-level photos. They use the program to help make decisions in the field, such as before storming a house or setting up a perimeter, Officer Lori Ferreyra said…Hayward photographs its streets every other year. It creates a time-lapse effect that lets staff view the changing cityscape, including identifying building projects that did not obtain required permits.

- Press Democrat

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/13 at 06:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I love the name, but it many not do what you think. GasBag, built by two Aussies and two Americans, relies on users to input the location and price of gas. The way to make money? Run ads. The app has 75,000 users in the U.S. in its first month; the Australian launch is expected next month.

For now ads are from Toyota and Kia, insurer Esurance and classifieds site Cars Direct which should generate “hundreds of thousands” in revenues within a year for Jamcode the company behind GasBag.

“From our basic modelling it looks like we can monetise $1 to $5 per user, per year,” Jamcode managing director and ex-Sydneysider Mike Johnson said. “If we can scale that to half a million users by the end of this year when we expand to Canada, Britain and Australia, that’s a pretty profitable business from those banner ads.”

Mr Johnson wants to expand its advertiser offering and envisages location-based ads for nearby shops and retailers, and providing discount fuel vouchers through the iPhone. 

That’s apparently the future, the one that so many people keep saying they don’t want.

- Australian IT

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/13 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Some of you may know that in the past I was a competitive kite flier. Yes, really. So, I keep an eye out for kite related news.

The Navy has selected kite-powered ships to deliver military equipment. They can “potentially reduce fuel costs by 20 to 30 percent, or roughly $1,600 a day per ship” according to SkySails, the company behind the endeavor. These huge soft (no “sticks”) kites pack up into the size of a telephone booth when not in use. They are computer controlled and are used only when out in open water and outside the 3 mile zone.

The kites look to me like larger version of the “traction” kites my friends use to power “buggies” down our local beach and on the Ivanpah dry lake bed in Neveda. A slightly different version (one that floats) is used for kite surfing.

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/13 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Michael McCarthy, Senior Director of Business Development at DigitalGlobe made that point more than once during an interview on Friday. His point, I think, was to emphasize that while it was great that company’s imagery now appears on both Google’s and Microsoft’s portals, the company is really in the business to business space.

That said, when discussing DigitalGlobe’s first foray in geospatial portals in 2004, McCarthy described Google’s pitch to the company this way: Google wanted to be our customer-facing distributer. At the time, he went on, it made sense to set up an exclusive arrangement. The recent “re-upping” of that contract is non-exclusive. Now, as McCarthy put it, it’s time to be a “equal opportunity” provider. Recall the GeoEye’s deal with Google for imagery is exclusive; Google is the only online portal to which imagery will be provided.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 10/13 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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