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Monday, June 30, 2014

Foursquare announced that it charges some businesses to its "check in" data, data collected from all its years in business. Until now, the data was available for free to some 63,000 organziational users. Fewer than 1% of users, the heaviest users are charged a negotiated fee. Interestingly, Microsoft is already a paying customer, paying for and using Foursquare data in Bing as part of a February 2014 $15 million licensing and investment deal.

This is a new reveue stream since to date most of the company's money came from location-bsed advertising.

The Wall Street Journal is the ultimate source of the story, but it's got a pay wall.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/30 at 03:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 27, 2014

SITA Labs is testing iBeacons for use at airports. According to a press release from SITA:

As part of the world’s largest implementation of beacons at an airport, American Airlines will become the first airline to use the SITA Common-use Beacon Registry. This new service from SITA will mean passengers can look forward to getting up-to-date and relevant information on their mobile devices in airports everywhere ... iBeacon is a technology Apple introduced with iOS 7 that uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geofencing to trigger the display of location-relevant information on devices at the right time and in the right situation. With beacons, airlines can easily provide passengers with indoor directions, walk times to gates, lounge access and alerts about boarding. Knowing where a passenger is before sending information enables more effective communication.

Microsoft Looks at Indoor GPS

If GPS hasn't worked in the past for indoor positioning, what's Microsoft's solution?  According to eWeek,

The researchers' solution involves "using a steerable, high gain directional antenna as the front-end of a GPS receiver along with a robust signal processing step and a novel location estimation technique to achieve direct GPS-based indoor localization," according to an abstract published by Microsoft. "By leveraging the computing power of the cloud, we accommodate longer signals for acquisition, and remove the requirement of decoding timestamps or ephemeris data from GPS signals ... In a test of 31 random indoor, single-story locations, the team was "able to obtain location fixes in 20 of them, with a median error of fewer than 10 meters," wrote Knies. "This is a scenario in which all normal GPS receivers fail."

Indoor Location Conference: Place 2014 - July 22 - NYC

Place 2014, the only event dedicated to place-based marketing and indoor location, will feature the first national brand case study on the impact of iBeacons on in-store product sales, according to a press release from the organizers, OPUS Research.

"Mobile devices and location analytics are starting to have a dramatic impact on the way that marketers and brands think about reaching and targeting consumers," said Greg Sterling, senior analyst with Opus Research and conference chair. "Vast amounts of real-world data open up new opportunities for place-based marketing, but create new privacy concerns if not handled properly."

aisle411 offers new functionality for mobile app using Google's Project Tango

In a press release, aisle411 announced "new functionality that will allow retail shoppers using Google’s Project Tango to search and navigate to product locations while getting rewarded in retail environment .. The combined solutions from Project Tango and aisle411 allow users to search and navigate to specific products in a 3D augmented reality experience inside the store."

by Joe Francica on 06/27 at 06:16 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Apple's latest patent application is “Controlling Wireless Scans Used to Determine the Location of a Portable Electronic Device.” This application, number 20140179344, has this abstract.

Described herein are methods and apparatus for controlling wireless scans used to determine the location of a portable electronic device. In described embodiments, the portable electronic device determines if user notifications are currently suppressed (i.e., if the device is operating in a "do not disturb" mode). In the case that user notifications are currently suppressed on the portable electronic device, the interval between the wireless scans used to determine the location of the portable electronic device is increased. Furthermore, in described embodiments, the portable electronic device determines its location. Then based on its location, it determines a travel time to a boundary (e.g., a geo-fence) and adjusts the frequency of wireless scans used to determine the location of the portable electronic device based on the travel time.

PFHub notes that there's something rather unique about this patent. There's a woman listed among the inventors.

The application is unusual for including a woman inventor in the list of those involved in creating the idea, Monika Bansal of Sunnyvale, California. The other inventors are Devrim Varoglu and Swapnil R. Dave. Ms. Bansal has worked for Apple since 2009 as an iOS Bluetooth QA Engineer, after working for two years at Qualcomm. She has degrees from Punjab Technical University and the University of Texas at Arlington.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/27 at 05:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

This past week, NASA's Office of Science and Technology Policy launched OpenNEX, a program to engage both the scientific community and citizens on climate resiliency. The program consists of online lectures on climate change, labs on the basics of remote sensing and cloud computing as well as a competition to submit ideas "to give the public an opportunity to create innovative ways to use data from the agency’s Earth science satellites," according to the NASA press release.

The OpenNEX challenge offiically opens on July 1. Participants in the lecture series can watch noted scientists discuss climate modeling, the impact of climate change on agriculture and forestry and water resources. There are both virtual workshops as well as lab exercises that would require the user to establish an Amazon Web Services account but it provides access to a cloud-based image processor.

The OpenNEX Challenge is described as follows:

The first "ideation" stage of the challenge, which runs July 1 through Aug. 1, offers as much as $10,000 in awards for ideas on novel uses of the datasets. The second "builder" stage, beginning in August, will offer between $30,000 and $50,000 in awards for the development of an application or algorithm that promotes climate resilience using the OpenNEX data, based on ideas from the first stage of the challenge. NASA will announce the overall challenge winners in December.

OpenNEX follows several White House initiatives on open data, big data and climate change. 

by Joe Francica on 06/27 at 05:48 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Blood Pressure Check at the Barber

Dr. Ronald Victor is taking blood pressure checks to the men of Los Angeles, by way of the barbershop.

This week, he received an $8.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a study testing whether barbershop intervention could significantly lessen hypertension in African-American men.

The idea is that perhaps local barbershops are a better place to check blood pressure than the doctor's office. Besides, it's traditionally a place where man gather to discuss men things. There are also funds for local clinics for those without insurance or who can't afford medical attention.

Maps and Polio

Dr. Bruce Aylward from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Vincent Seaman from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will share their stories with an audience of more than 16,000 attendees at the Opening Session of the 2014 Esri User Conference (Esri UC) on Monday, July 14. As experts in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, they will describe the challenges and opportunities involved in bringing fundamental healthcare to impoverished regions. They'll also talk about the importance maps have in pinpointing where help is needed most around the world.

"New" Health Mapping Blog

Community Health Maps launched either this week (tweeted by person behind it) or in May (date of first and only post to date):

Welcome!  The goal of this blog is to provide information about low cost mapping tools that can be used by community organizations.  Perhaps you’ve seen the potential uses of mapping in public health, but are overwhelmed by the technology and/or simply too busy to pursue it.  We hope this blog will facilitate the use of GIS mapping for those that fall into this category.  We also hope to support those already engaged in mapping and enhance their community mapping initiatives, even if they may be using other tools.  The blog will be a mixture of mapping apps/software reviews, best practices, and the experiences of those who have successfully implemented a mapping workflow as part of their work. This is a project of the National Library of Medicine. Everything provided on this site is in the public domain and free of charge. All training materials developed in 2013 are available here (

Where are Childhood Deaths Dropping? Not Where You'd Think

A new Pulitzer Center interactive map spotlights instead a remarkable success, and one that has gone under-reported — the extraordinary decline in the rate of child mortality.

Where? Guatemala. And, do check out the graphic; "now that's what I call a story map."

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/27 at 03:28 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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