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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yesterday, the OGC launched their Business Value Survey.  Any and all geospatial technology users and providers are invited to complete a survey on the value of OGC standards.

The impetus for this survey came from the OGC Business Value Committee that has been tasked with three primary goals:

  1. Assess the effort (costs) and outcomes (benefits) required to successfully use geospatial standards
  2. Understand and articulate the advantages of developing and using OGC standards
  3. Enable the wider community of stakeholders to leverage business value as a tool to foster investment and implementation

The researchers have prepared two versions of the online survey. To take the survey, if you are a technology user, visit http://uncc.surveyshare.com/s/AQAIJDC.

If you are a technology provider (a vendor or a system integrator) or a consultant, visit http://uncc.surveyshare.com/s/AQAIZBC.

From the OGC announcement today: The survey is a joint effort by two academic researchers who are OGC members and by the OGC Business Value Committee. Dr. Mu Xia at Santa Clara University and Dr. Kexin Zhao at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte developed the survey based on requirements from the OGC Business Value Committee to support their studies on standards effectiveness. The OGC Business Value Committee will use a summary of the results to help the OGC better understand the value of the OGC’s open standards and improve its programs for geospatial standards development, compliance testing and outreach.

Please support the OGC's efforts in this matter.

by Joe Francica on 11/01 at 05:36 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Details on lobbying payments by three of the Save Our GPS Coalition's big players are public:

Since January, Trimble has spent $840,000 in lobbying fees related to the LightSquared spectrum issue — including nearly $330,000 in the third quarter alone — according to records filed with the Senate. Most of Trimble’s lobbying on spectrum interference is through one of K Street’s leading firms, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, to whom Trimble has shelled out $620,000 this year. Garmin has retained Dow Lohnes, paying the firm $70,000 since March on GPS interference issues; John Deere has spent $964,000 on in-house lobbyists.
I noted LightSquared's lobbying payments last month.
 
- WaPo
 
In other jockying for positions for the political fight...
 
LightSquared highlights that big wigs at Trimble sold off stock just after the FCC gave LightSquared contional approval. What's up that? asks LightSquared.
Wireless company LightSquared is arguing that the fact that senior executives of GPS-maker Trimble sold millions of dollars of stocks earlier this year shows that the executives knew their devices are at fault for interference problems with LightSquared's network.
 
The sales came within weeks of the Federal Communications Commission granting a conditional waiver to allow LightSquared to move forward with plans to provide wholesale wireless broadband service. 
 
And, LightSquared points out that one of the goverment's own is a director and shareholder of Trimble.
LightSquared had been rushing around telling anyone who'll listen that Bradford Parkinson, vice chairman of the "Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Advisory" – which provides federal advice on GPS matters – is also a director of, and shareholder in, Trimble. Trimble makes GPS kit, and stands to lose a great deal of money if it is forced to supply replacements to GPS users, or charge more for its products.
The Register points out the fellow kind of invented GPS and that his two hats is no secret to anyone.
 
by Adena Schutzberg on 11/01 at 06:54 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Today, CSR plc is launching two chips, the SiRFstarV and SiRFprimaII, into the market that incorporate the ability to utilize multiple navigation constellations in addition to GPS, including Europe's Galileo, Russia's GLONASS, and China's COMPASS. These new features will be able to improve the "edge experience" in urban canyons and indoors where reception is inconsistent according to Kanwar Chadha, chief marketing officer.  In addition, these chips will "sniff" for Wi-Fi hotspots and utilize other smartphone technology such as accelerometers and gyros to determine more exact positioning, especially indoors, as well as to conserve battery life. 

The objective, according to Chadha, is to use implicit location like a search engine. Once a user's position is determined, this information can be passed to other search-related applications to refine the search request and improve the relevance of the content.  "Fundamentally, the shift we see is that we are moving from a self contained device world to much more cloud connected world where some of the content is in the device but some of the content will be from the cloud," said Chadha. "This will have an impact on the content and navigation space."
 
But improving the search capability of applications by constantly updating the handset location has drained the battery life of many of today's smartphones. Before now, location technology has not been well integrated intelligently enough to manage power with existing applications. CSR thinks that with their new chips it will be easier to monetize search much better, especially indoors, but to do it without draining the battery. For example, by using the handset's accelerometer to sense whether GPS is necessary, the location API will send a request for a location; then the location subsystem will provide a location accurate enough for the application's needs. If an application needs only an approximate location then it will use one of the sensors that uses less power.
 
The use of multiple location sensors and the smartphone's microelectromagnetic system (MEMS) sensors, like accelerometers, is a key part of the SiRFusion location platform that is the basis for its chipset architecture.  "Today... for indoor location, the accuracy uses Wi-Fi only.
With SiRFusion when you combine MEMS sensors with GPS that error becomes much smaller and when other information can become available, you might be able to  navigate [inside] a store.
 
CSR had acquired SiRF Technology in 2009, a company that Chadha had founded. Earlier this year CSR acquired Zoran, a manufacturer of imaging and video technology. Both deals put CSR on the track to take advantage of the trend to bring more content and better visualization technology into a mobile handset. As such, when technology like augmented reality becomes much more a part of the navigation applications in both smartphones and in-vehicle navigation systems, the company believes they will be well-positioned.
 
The two chips, the SiRFStarV for mobile phone applications and the SiRFPrimaII for the automotive market are expected to be on the market by the middle of 2012. 
by Joe Francica on 11/01 at 04:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The news broke about the acquitiion yesterday (APB coverage), which will retain the Urban Airship name. The all stock deal is estimated at $3.5 million. Reports put the funding levels of the two companies at : 

Urban Airship - $6.5 million

SimpleGeo - just under $10 million 

New product announcements are expected next week and the new company does not plan to make any immediate changes to its offerings on either side of the house.

First off, let's review the nature of the companies, which I'd classify as "on the edge" of professional GIS and more in the mobile platform space. 

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/01 at 03:09 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington, DC-based think tank, announced today the launch of an interactive map tracking outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The map, available here, presents data about the location and size of outbreaks, the disease(s) involved, and links to news coverage. The resource currently includes information from 2008 to the present and will be updated weekly. Visitors to the site can contribute information about additional outbreaks for review by CFR staff.

You can embed it and even download the data.

- Vaccine Ethics Blog

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/01 at 03:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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