The geolocation system, designed by Marcus Brubaker and colleagues at the Toyota Technological Institute in Chicago,
uses two simple cameras mounted on the car that survey its surroundings
as the vehicle drives along. Software uses this camera data to work out
when the road curves or is straight and then compares the layout of the
route and its intersections to a map of the area from OpenStreetMap, a
crowdsourced mapping application.
As the cameras pass by an increasing
number of streets, the system eliminates the locations on the map that
don't match up until it has worked out exactly where it is. On average,
this process is completed after just 20 seconds of driving.
This method may sound too simplistic
to work on the exact grids of a metropolis like New York, but according
to Brubaker, it can pick up on the small differences in the size of each
city block to pinpoint location accurately – even in Manhattan.
"Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. carrier with more than 98 million
retail customers, shows how such a program could come together. In late
anonymous and aggregated subscriber data with outside parties. That made
possible the launch of its Precision Market Insights division last October.
The program, still in its early days, is creating a natural extension
of what already happens online, with websites tracking clicks and
getting a detailed breakdown of where visitors come from and what they
are interested in.
Similarly, Verizon is working to sell demographics about the people
who, for example, attend an event, how they got there or the kinds of
apps they use once they arrive. In a recent case study, says program
spokeswoman Debra Lewis, Verizon showed that fans from Baltimore
outnumbered fans from San Francisco by three to one inside the Super
Bowl stadium. That information might have been expensive or difficult to
obtain in other ways, such as through surveys, because not all the
people in the stadium purchased their own tickets and had credit card
information on file, nor had they all downloaded the Super Bowl’s app."
Using Google Street View, and with awards like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2s in some of the golden eggs, Tesco has a fun promotion for Easter. Note: awards are only for UK residents but anyone can play as I did around London's Trafalgar Square.
New Scientist (sub required) on how recent a phenomenon are digital maps
“Yet digital maps only entered the mainstream after Google got involved in the mid-2000s. Google Local was launched in 2004, in which businesses' details were listed alongside a small map. Within a year, Google Maps arrived, complete with functions to search the map and give directions. Soon digital maps began to underpin hundreds of smartphone apps.”
and where we are headed:
“For centuries, the centre of the world was the hub of a civilisation, like China or Jerusalem, then it was Greenwich. Now, it's you. For the first time, we're using maps that know where we are and which can be customised to our needs. This development is poised to transform our ideas about our surroundings and influence our decisions as we navigate through the world. But while there may be no dragons or sea monsters in this uncharted territory, there could be surprises and dangers ahead.”
Happy Halloween. This year tracking technology appears to have gone mainstream
“One application developer has created a “Trick or Tracker” app. It uses GPS and links the phones of parent and child. The $5 app also allows parents to create a “geofence,” according to TechNewsDaily. If a child wanders beyond the “fence,” parents get a text message alert.
Another comes from a developer that released “SecureaFone” just in time for the holiday. Makers say that parents can use it to know where their child is at any given moment, promising some nocturnal peace of mind.
Then there’s the maker of a hand-held device that is pitching, “While parents can’t dictate the types of treats given out, they can use trick-or-treating to ensure their children get their daily dose of physical activity.”
MOVband is a wrist-worn monitor that tracks all movement and converts it into mileage. The company suggests that parents snap one on a child’s wrist on the 31st to “inject some fitness into trick-or-treating.”
My children are still too young to need anything other than physical tracking. These gadgets are intended for the slightly older, go-it-alone crowd.”
Google Maps visitors can now virtually "walk" along certain reefs
through Street View using the same interface for city streets and
neighborhoods above sea level. Users can move to different areas of the
reef and pan around or zoom in on each one in 360 degrees to spot sea
turtles, manta rays, living coral, and even some accompanying divers and
snorkelers. The effect is like retracing a scuba dive that has been
frozen in time.
To capture these stunning panoramic views, Google partnered with the
Catlin Seaview Survey, a project devoted to documenting the ocean reefs
using the latest technology. Armed with an SVII camera attached to an
undersea vehicle, the team was able to record continuous 360-degree
images while drifting through the water. The process results in 50,000
images per area, which link together to form a full panoramic view that
can be explored in Google Maps. The SVII is also the world's first
underwater, tablet-operated camera, which allows the scientists
gathering the images to access various data they've already collected
while in the middle of a dive.