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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Forget trying to locate the Mona Lisa at the Louvre… find me the nearest restroom!

If you have kids, you know instantly the panic associated with the words, "Daddy, I have to go…!" Ok, enough said.

So, what can you do about it? Indoor positioning and navigation has been on the back burner when compared to location-based social networking. Matching the technology with data hasn’t exactly been easy to integrate. GPS doesn’t work indoors and RFID doesn’t exactly solve the problem. RF Ultra-wide band (UWB) technology in general has its own issues with deployment and expense (See Q-Track).

Within the last few weeks, I’ve been reading more and more about apps that are getting much closer to being "consumerized." A few weeks ago, we published my interview with Tristian Lacroix on these issues and its a useful review of what’s been going on to solve the indoor positioning challenges. And we’ll soon publish an interview with Point Inside’s Brian Wilson on the deployment of his company’s technology at retailer Meijer that maps this grocer’s store floor and guides customers to specific product aisles. Think about it… no more wondering where to find the Skippy Peanut Butter!

Then, in today’s New York Times, there is an article on an iPhone apps specifically for navigating your way around the Metropolitan Museum Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History, both in New York, as well as museums in other cities. The combination of tour guide and navigation is supremely appealing. Although the article does not specifically mention augmented reality (AR) (see this informative article by Timo Elliot of SAP on AR) as means of either guiding or informing, enhancing these apps with AR can’t be far behind.

And, it should elicit discussion on who pays for these kinds of positioning apps for malls, museums, and other facilities. In addition, should they be linked to social networking apps like Foursquare so that if you "check in" to the Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries for Chinese Decorative Arts on the 3rd floor of the "Met" your wife will know if you have the kids with you! Anyway, you get the point. The integration of indoor navigation technology with floor maps, tourist information and the means to find your friends is well on its way toward mainstream adoption.

by Joe Francica on 09/09 at 04:05 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Samantha Rhodes of “Online Engineering Degrees” (“an nonprofit online resource devoted to explaining to students their options as well as the pitfalls and benefits associated with pursuing an online engineering degree.”) wrote:

We just posted an article, “50 Best Blogs for Geography Geeks” ( ). I thought I’d bring it to your attention in case you think your readers would find it interesting.
I am happy to let you know that your site has been included in this list.

I have to admit, there were some blogs on the list I’d not heard of and must say I found the descriptions of some of the blogs I do know as rather “generous.”

- 50 Best Blogs for Geography Geeks

The International Geography Olympiad sounds far more rigorous than the U.S. Geography Bee. Twenty eight students representing as many countries travelled to Taiwan and were challenged with “a written exam, field work and multimedia.” In the field work portion, students visited the Ghandu Wetlands in Taipei and were required to use satellite maps and prompts to draw a relevant map of the area, marking different vegetation and land uses.

- Coastal Times

The University of Kentucky is buying in to Facebook Places. It’s ad agency has helped erect “sculptures” on campus with FB’s red teardrop icon changed to the school’s blue (too much like another player’s for my taste) to remind students and visitors to check-in.

- Adage (image included)

The Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) and the Brinkerhoff Geology Library have partnered this semester to provide a venue to answer geospatial data-related questions for students, faculty and staff.

This GIS Consultation Desk will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-5 p.m. during the fall semester in the Brinkerhoff Geology Library, located on the first floor of the S.H. Knight Geology Building. Appointments are appreciated, though drop-ins are also welcome.

- Univ. of Wyoming

After my PhD, I want to work for NGA. That’s the story for one of the winners of the Chasman Scholarship, one aimed at encouraging women to work in science and engineering. The scholarship is from Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS), a not-for-profit organization at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Joanna Laroussi earned two B.A. degrees in geography: one from the University of Silesia in Poland in 2003, and another from CUNY Hunter College in 2010. Her goal in 2003 was to immediately continue her education to obtain an advanced degree, but her family moved to the U.S. in 2004, and, as an immigrant, she did not have the opportunity to go directly to college. She spent her first years in the U.S. working long hours as a child-care worker, learning English and saving funds for college.

Currently, Laroussi is working toward a master’s degree in geography at CUNY Hunter College. She has also been accepted in a Ph.D. program at the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she plans to continue her studies in 2011. In 2009, she started to work part time as an intern with the New York City Department of Education Office of Pupil Transportation, where she has the opportunity to build her professional geographic information system experience and apply the concepts she learned in the classroom to real-world projects.

“It is a great honor for me to receive the Chasman Scholarship,” Laroussi said. “It will help me significantly in becoming a professional in the field of geographic information systems. After finishing my education, I wish to work for a government agency performing critical geospatial analyses and using maps to present findings.”

- ECN Mag

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/09 at 06:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The reference is to this blog post by Muki Hacklay.

The answer to how is found on this job qualifications bullet in a position posted at RPA Associates.

“- Extremely strong GIS experience including ArcGIS, Spatial Analyst, network analysis, modeling, data management and layout. Experience with non-ESRI solutions, such as Google Earth and open source GIS tools a plus.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Be sure to report those who misrepresent their location!

- BBB Blog

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

RIM has applied for two patents. They cover technology to gauge the speed/concentration of cars that pass by billboards based on their phone speeds and to adjust the billboard based on that information.

When traffic is moving fast and drivers have no time to pay attention to billboards, or there’s a dense crowd on the street so you are distracted and less likely to pay attention, the billboard may just blast a huge logo and slogan of the advertiser at you, to catch any peripheral attention it can get. When traffic slows down in a jam, and you are sitting bored at the wheel waiting for a car in front to move the next few meters, grateful for any distraction, the same billboard will give you a detailed information about the service, prices, benefits and stuff.

- ReadWriteWeb

Google’s Eric Schmidt spoke at Berlin’s IFA home electronics event on Tuesday. His vision of the future is not about search but rather your device continuously providing relevant information to you based on (wait for it) your location and everything it know about you (likes, dislikes, friends, interests, music, etc.) It’s a sort of forced Serendipity. I at least right now like real Serendipity.


The Atlanta Post has an interview with Tristan Walker, VP of Biz Dev at FourSquare [sic].

- Atlanta Post

The Observer looks at Foursquare in the crosshairs of Facebook.

- Observer

John King of CNN is teaming up with Gowalla to map out his favorite diners. You can follow him, too.

“John King is teaming up with Gowalla, the location based mobile and web service, to share his experiences from the road. Last year, John visited all 50 states following President Barack Obama’s inauguration and sat down with residents in local diners to hear their stories and discuss important issues.”

- John King Blog

BusinessWeek interview with Loopt CEO Sam Altman.

- BusinessWeek

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/09 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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