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Archive for November, 2010

OpenStreetMap founder now Principal Architect for Bing Mobile

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Founder of OpenStreetMap, Steve Coast, has taken a position as a Principal Architect for Bing Mobile at Microsoft. What this means is that Steve will lead a new initiative of Bing’s involvement with the OpenStreetMap project, a community of 250,000 people who have built  maps for all countries in the world. Microsoft is donating access to Bing’s Aerial Imagery for use in the OpenStreetMaps project, as part of this initiative.

Black Friday shopping geo news

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The Dealmap, a source for consumers to find and share local deals,  announced it has categorized and mapped more than 165,000 unique Black Friday product offers at more than 52,000 retail locations so that consumers can easily find nearby holiday sales.  The press release says that the Dealmap’s Android and iPhone apps are the “first and only” mobile applications that make use of location awareness to display nearby Black Friday deals on a map.

Borders is participating in Google’s Local Availability feature, a national service that provides customers with “a fast, easy and convenient way to search for books and other products at participating retailers.” Borders has also linked up with Meetup to enable consumers to direct customers to family-friendly events in their communities. Look for a dedicated page at Borders.com on Meetup Everywhere for customers to locate Borders’ kids parties, storytime events, musical performances, national author readings and book signings as well as other activities happening in their communities.

New retail and mobile merchandising opportunities will come about as a result of the acquisition of NearbyNow, mobile location technology provider by JiWire, a location-based mobile media company. 

Maybe not in time for Black Friday this year, the acquisition “accelerates the expansion of JiWire’s extensive location-based media channel across Wi-Fi and mobile with the addition of industry-leading location technology. The combination of JiWire’s broad location-based audience, which gives advertisers access to over 35 million monthly uniques, and NearbyNow’s sophisticated mobile location technology and deep expertise in retail and mobile merchandising will create a new set of location-based advertising opportunities for major brands.”

Street View spurs weight loss program for overweight user

Friday, November 19th, 2010

An odd twist to geospatial problem-solving in the world: a Bristol, UK man saw himself on Google Maps Street View and promptly went on a diet. 

The Daily Mail reported that Bob Mewse, 56, weighed 296 pounds a year ago when he saw himself on the mapping service. The camera shot a side view of Mewse wearing a gray shirt near a filling station.

“I was horrified when I saw that photo,” he told the Telegraph. “I was massive. My belly was sticking out and I looked huge.”

Further, he was having back problems and very high blood pressure. He went to a gym, hired a personal trainer and has since lost 98 pounds.

shopkick expands to Android just in time for the holiday season

Friday, November 19th, 2010

shopkick is expanding to the Android platform, effective immediately.

shopkick is a free (and only) app in the Android Market that rewards shoppers for walking into participating retailers, including Best Buy, Macy’s, Inc., Target Corporation, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., Simon Property Group, Inc. malls, Sports Authority and Wet Seal, Inc., and for interacting with partner brand products HP, Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods.

The shopkick app verifies the actual presence of a shopper by detecting a “shopkick Signal” coming from the shopkick transmitter located in each participating store. The user can control privacy because the detection happens on the mobile phone.  Once a shopkick Signal is detected, the app delivers reward points called “kickbucks” to the user — just for walking through the door.

Users can then redeem kickbucks at all partner stores for instant gift card rewards or for Facebook Credits to play games online, song downloads, hotel vouchers, specific products, and can even donate to their favorite charity. 

Press materials say that by Black Friday, more than 1,000 individual stores and over 100 of the country’s largest malls will have fully deployed shopkick’s technology.

Volunteer-geographic information marches through history

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Recently I’ve been reading a biography of Freya Stark (Passionate Nomad, by Jane Fletcher Geniesse), born in 1903, an explorer who became renowned when she explored the mountainous territory of the mysterious “Assassins” of Persia, who were connected with the feared Druze, the most “effective terrorist group in history.” These Assassins had occupied fortress castles in Syria that they had been forced out of  in 1273, but were still resident in the mountains at the time of Stark’s exploration. Scholars suggest that there are parallels between the Assassins and modern day sects such as the military wing of Hamas in Israel or Osama bin Laden’s Afghani terrorists.

Stark  became the first woman to explore Luristan in western Iran. She also followed ancient frankincense routes to locate a lost Arabian city. Throughout her life, she greatly extended geographical knowledge of remote regions of the Middle East, and won the Royal Geographical Society’s Back Grant for her cartographic accomplishments, among other honors, and provided a valuable resource for Allied Intelligence during World War II.

Not limiting herself to geography, Stark learned multiple Middle Eastern languages and customs of the regions she visited, which helped the military and diplomatic corps and markedly influenced foreign policy.

Stark wrote thirty books on her adventures in the Middle East and captured a time when huge changes were taking place in that region. She became one of Britain’s outstanding authorities on the Middle East.

So here is one of the first volunteer geographic information (VGI) sources – following on heels of such explorers as Sir Richard Francis Burton and Richard Speke who discovered Lake Tanganyika, Sir Lawrence of Arabia, and others of that general time period.

Although Stark’s maps depict land divisions that are no longer relevant, their accuracy and clarity show us the Middle East as it once was, and helps to deepen our understanding of  the history of land and culture that still exist today.

Perhaps their relevancy is as a layer, to be compared with how we collect data today.

Global geospatial news

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Central Pollution Control Board solicited help from the Indian Space Research Organization to create a GIS in order to address pollution monitoring.

 

ISRO’s help sought for preparing environmental database October 27, 2010, ThaiIndianNews

The GIS will guide investors to identify locations for investments.

Gujarat govt launches investor facilitation and support tools   November 08, 2010, IndiaInfoLine

Local geospatial news

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Brilliant use of GIS to show impacts of discrimination, disinvestment & sprawl October 27, 2010, NRDC Switchboard

 

JCJC forestry students get technology lesson October 28, 2010, Hattiesburg American.com

 

Apple’s real estate, data center plans grow October 27, 2010, MacWorld

Caxton launches independent research unit Biz Community.com, October 27, 2010

 

News.Lake County GIS Department seeks help to fund aerial photography, October 21, 2010 The News-Herald

 

Google Claims U.S. Excluded It From Contract The New York Times November 2, 2010

 

Do Believe the Hype OpEd by Thomas Friedman, November 2, 2010, The New York Times

 

 

Geo-enabled browsers predicted to take world by storm

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

ABI Research has come out with their “Location-Enabled Services” study that covers geo-enabled browsers, location-based social networking and micro-blogging, messaging and calendar applications, and location-based advertising.

According to their press release, “Location-Enabled Services (LES) such as location-based social networking (Facebook Places), micro-blogging (Twitter), messaging, calendars, advertising, and geo-browsers (Apple Safari, Google Chrome) are set for strong growth driven by standards such as the W3C’s geo-location API. ABI Research forecasts that 1.7 billion geo-enabled browsers will be in use worldwide by 2016.”

“The location industry is entering a new era. Instead of offering separate applications providing specific stand-alone LBS services, location is increasingly positioned as an enabler of existing mobile services.,” Telematics & Navigation practice director Dominique Bonte said. “The transparent use of location results in new business and indirect monetization models, web/widget and open source development environments, changing value and supply chains, the adoption of alternative positioning technologies, new content sourcing paradigms, and innovative interfaces (Augmented Reality).”
 
Privacy is a big issue for the LES space, according to ABI. Vendors are concerned about how location data will be used – even if users can delete their location history, companies that mine data may be able to still store, analyze and use this location data for advertising purposes. There is also the concern that it could get into the hands of those with unauthorized access, in much the same way spammers gain access to email addresses and other personal information.

Esri’s “My Place History” app

Monday, November 8th, 2010

A new app from Esri called “My Place History” allows you to enter addresses of places you’ve lived or spent time and see public health information for those locations. The app uses publicly available data from the EPA Toxic Release Inventory and the NIH’s known chemical database. It also has a heart attack index to show where the most heart attacks occur in the country. Future versions will include additional databases for water quality, lead contamination, cancer, mortality, and poverty. Mapping API provided by ArcGIS API for iOS.

So far, the areas I have lived in that I thought would have more toxic chemical exposure have had less, and the areas I thought would have less, have more!

My Place History

 

web version

3D printed street maps for the blind

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

From Lulu-Ann, HaptoRender is working on a renderer that uses OpenStreetMap data to make tactile maps that the blind and visually impaired can use to navigate cities by feel. Made of copper sheet, the 3D printouts would focus on small areas of a city.

HaptoRender Project to create 3D street maps for the blind Shapeways blog

Trimble
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