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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The patent is titled Advertising based on environmental conditions. It's quite simple, per the very short abstract:

Information about an environmental condition of a remote device is received, the environmental condition being determined based on a signal output from a sensor of the remote device or a sensor coupled to the remote device. An advertisement is identified based on the environmental condition, and the advertisement is provided to the remote device.

So, in theory, if it's raining, you might get ads for raincoats. This is already done to some extent on weather webites. High allergy day in your area? And ad for Claritin appears! It's also possible to sense background noise - say that of a concert - and based ads on that. The patent was applied for in 2008 and granted on March 20.

The privacy folks are concerned of course and there are the requisite comparisons to Minority Report. Google for its part notes it patents all kinds of ideas; some never are implemented in products.

- BBC

- Atlantic

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/27 at 04:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Monday, March 26, 2012

This makes perfect sense to me. Say you want to capture images (or I guess any sort of sensed data about a place) but for whatever reason, poeple just don't go there. What if you could "guide them there" with the lure of more points or prizes or the like? It's my understanding that Waze already does that as it tries to complete its maps of road networks in the United States. And, a new mobile phone based running game tries to entice you to run faster (from the Zombies!).

A paper from Northwestern Univeristy suggests that the mechanics work just as well for having individuals on foot take and share phots at places of interest. If they need to shoot the ghost, and it happens to at the location where data is needed, the player will oblige. The researchers make it clear that players are told exactly how the data they capture will be used and how/if their personal information will be attached. Thus, this is not really "coerced geographic information."

- VentureBeat

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/26 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Says CEO Dave Mathews of NeuAer in Venture Beat about apps like Highlight that launched at SXSW this year:

The problem at hand with LBS apps is that they require the GPS radio to run nearly full-time, have a clear view of the sky to get a signal, and report back to a server their location.

They eat your batteries leaving you alone with no tweets or Facebook or anything. But of course he has a solution: using a bunch of radio waves as a signature for not locating per se, but prompting your device to "do something."

Sadly, the NeuAer website does not have a "how it works" page or video. But I found this digging into the blog:

This marks the first time that our ToothTag engine for proximity plumbing is available for developers to create their own web services that can be executed based upon your smartphone seeing another wireless radio.

And, Rafe at C|net did the due diligence:

Mathews' technology, ToothTag (can we talk about that?), uses all the radio signals that come into a phone--Wi-Fi, GPS, near-field, and most importantly Bluetooth--to fingerprint a location or a person with high accuracy. Most of the real-world locations and things you care about, he says, emit a complex radio-frequency signature based on more than one transmitter. Mobile-phone location services don't use enough of these signals, he says. When it comes to mobile assets like Bluetooth headsets, you don't even have to connect to the other device or "pair" with it. In other words, once you collect the Bluetooth signature from someone you know, you could, with ToothTag technology, get an alert on your mobile device whenever that person came within Bluetooth range of you.

So, you capture a signature of the place/object of interest, then identify what you want to happen when that place/object is in range again. As Rafe notes, there are all sorts of privacy implications here. The first: must you ask permission to capture someone's electronic signature? The app and developer tools are available for Android, with iPhone coming later.

I'm not expecting to see this solution hit it big.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/26 at 03:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) has introduced a bill that would streamline federal bureaucracy dealing with map making. H.R 4233, Map it Once, Use it Many Times Act, would reform, consolidate, and reorganize federal geospatial activities.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/22 at 12:43 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Doug Richardson, Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers spoke at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government today. It was part of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project Seminar Series.

Richardson began with some opening remarks highlighting how science, technology and policy bring some limitations to the table. Science, he argued uses a "brittle" model that limits innovation. Technology moves rapidly and creates pressures that limit adoption (privacy and confidentiality issue have popped up recently, for example. Policy is limited because governments can be slow to value science and technology. 

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/22 at 09:43 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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