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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The latest on who runs what at AOL/HuffPo: "A few months after being named COO of the Huffington Post Media Group (NYSE: AOL), Jon Brod’s responsibilities are being narrowed to focus on running Patch" (which he co-founded with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong) and MapQuest.

- PaidContent

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by Adena Schutzberg on 06/28 at 10:02 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

One big issue with all of the parking finder apps is know where the spots are and when are avaialble. Most systems use some kind of senor device embedded in the road/wall to know if the space is open. What if you didn't have to dig up streets or purchase a sensor for every space? What if you made the sensors mobile?

That's the just of a project from a team at Rutgers.

Using ultrasonic sensors, GPS location finders and wireless networks, the Rutgers group thinks it has come up with a cost-effective way to locate the nearest open parking spaces and give drivers choices.

Taxis, municipal vehicles or mall security cars — vehicles that travel frequently in a given area — would be equipped with sensors that measure distances to obstacles and determine whether there is an available parking space. That information would then be fed to an internet server and matched with a map of legal parking spots.

Drivers would then be able to find out, through their GPS navigation systems or smart phones, where parking spaces are open, saving them the time and frustration of looking for a spot.

Using algorithms, the Rutgers team was able to distinguish between parked cars and other objects such as trees or fire hydrants.

"There are some other obstacles that can be on the side of the road that have that same size and eventually we learn over time, if this obstacle never moves, it’s always there, it’s probably not a car," Gruteser said. "If this space is always open and in an area where parking is very crowded, it’s probably not a legal spot."

In tests accuracy was up to 90%. The sensor today would cost a few hundred dollars but could be brought down. At this point the team is looking for a company to test the sensor.


by Adena Schutzberg on 06/28 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Lakewood Ohio is implementing a $35,000 GIS to help in housing inspections to maintain its aging housing stock. It'll also save the city money as personnel cuts are made in many areas. The bottom line on saving money: limiting duplicate work.

- Lakewood Patch

Thee Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments' $860,000 grant from 2008 for GIS is running out.  It's looking for in and out of state partners to keep it going. It currently serves 12 member towns.

 - Norwich Bulletin

The Times Record thinks Fort Smith (AR) should be selected as a Arkansas Business City of Distinction 2011. Why? Among other things, its GIS!

Starting at the technology category, Fort Smith has much to brag about in its water treatment and delivery, sanitation efforts and transportation service. But all discussions of technology in Fort Smith always arrive at Geographical Information Services, where gurus Russell Gibson and Jeff Fears are the guys who taught the rest of the world how to do the things they make look easy.

In brief and inelegantly, they locate each lot in the city, building a map with layers of information, so that users can search horizontally or vertically.

To wit: On the city's website, following the GIS links, we learn that if the newspaper's home at 3600 Wheeler Ave. were a residence, students living there would attend Fairview, Ramsey and Southside. Mom and dad would vote at Calvary Assembly of God. For city issues, they would consult the Rev. Don Hutchings, their Ward 3 director; his address, phone number and email are provided. Trash and recyclables have automated collection on Tuesdays. Stephanie Malone would be their state representative, and Denny Altes would be their state senator.

The GIS guys save the city a ton of consultant bucks through their service to other departments, helping to plan routes, track repairs, study traffic patterns, attract major economic development and a million and one other things.

Go to the Fort Smith GeoDashboard link if you've got an afternoon to devote to playing and learning about your city.

- Times Record Editorial

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/28 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

It seems that if you are logged in to Google, and in a geography of note (say New York City) your search results may include not just the number of +1s (aka Google "likes"), but only those of the geography of interest.

- Search Engine Land (with screen shots)

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/28 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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