Saturday, December 30, 2006

ENUM: Korea can't wait

This one is major. It involves translating or mapping current phone numbers to IP addresses. DNS is involved and a single point of access or address for individuals, business, locations.

And this is where eLocation as pointed out by ZDNet Asia comes in. The idea includes a centralized POI database. And by providing a common address format (you#here) (and unfortunatelly patenting it), you can search for that location in a map engine.

If you want a domain you can then buy a year use for about $30. Like a DNS entry.

To post addresses in the POI database would cost you the same, for each datapoint.

It relates to the IETF RFC3761 about ENUM. Or Telephone Number Mapping. There is a ENUM API draft.

You have the same number for a website, email, fax and mobile. This is major. And Korea can't wait to show its progress. ePosition is a map search that accepts parameters as somewhere#egosio.com. Try this for the location of ZDNet offices in Seoul. But keep your virus protection on.

Here is the site for the Australian ENUM Trial. Here the US page.
Schedules point to commercial operation for mid-2007. More on ENUM Trials here.

If you can read Korean you are in luck. Otherwise try the non-image pages with Systran or Babelfish at Altavista, or Google that uses the same engine. Just remember to pick Korean to English. Results vary.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Closing (Year) News

.Bushnell maker of outdoor equipment including compasses entered the GPS market. Their Onix devices will allow use of georeferenced satellite and aerial photos on a dedicated handheld device.

Its B&W model can run on 2 AA for 26~39 hours according to their product description. Images can be layered with a compass, waypoints.

You can find the B&W model for about US$200. Four free downloads of satellite images when you register. It uses Sirf chipsets and stores up to 500 waypoints.

[Update Feb/07: Map data provided by Navteq.]

. GigaOm published a good summary of websites combining geotagging, maps and its growing use. Check the convenient links list at the bottom of the article.

. Somehow BW discovered Loki from Skyhook Wireless. Just be aware before you give it a spin that you might have a lot more work to remove it from your system than it deserves.

. If you only want to generate an NMEA log that keeps track of location without any navigation aid you might want to try the DG-100 from Globalsat (but it is not for sale just yet). GPSPassion published a review about its usage including software that let you draw your tracks in Google Maps.

. The GPS Wireless 2007 conference is scheduled for March 1st at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. From the Telematics Journal.

. RFID news from Japan via Engadget where Fujitsu combined both GPS and RFID in a single chip. Plus a 'Minority Report' type project with RFID used to help customers find their way in a shopping district.

. Meanwhile in Fresno, California police used GPS to track DUI convicts.

. According to The Register, TomTom seems to be winning the patent dispute initiated by Garmin. But this is probably not the end of it.

. And PCWorld goes over a pretty decent exercise of predicting trends in the mobile space. Besides more traking kids type phones you will conclude that the:

"[...] level of communication [by sending SMS to each other's smartphones] will increase even more."
And that:
"[...] with e-mail-capable smartphones now available for the masses [besides expensive Blackberries], the masses will start using mobile e-mail."

But to bet on phoneTV is still silly. Just watch (and interact with) a Wii instead.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Santa's GPS & Merry Xmas

Santa will use GPS this season once again now that his equipment got approval for another run. See the Ironton Online for details.

Gothamist found the Norad Santa's tracking, with maps.

David Pogue covers tracking offers specially those offered to parents. It includes products from "[...] five companies--Wherify Wireless, Guardian Angel Technology, Disney Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint". More on Blogue's page at the NYTimes.

And BBC sees mobile phones used to help finding restaurants and other services picking up as soon as next yeat at some markets.

Merry Xmas from Jeepx.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

MIT's iFind, Solar Flares

Senseable City Lab from the MIT brought up several projects that explore the real time traffic data from wireless communications to map "chat" activity in a city. Check iSpots, Graz and Real Time Roma as examples.

Now as part of the same Lab the MIT is making the source code of its iFind project available through GPL.

With iFind "you and your buddies can instantaneously exchange your locations on campus, talk to users nearby, and microcoordinate more effectively."

First on CNet. Covered also at WirelessIQ,

Solar Flares

And here is the reason why your GPS got a bit lost last week, according to this article from ABC:

"[...] communication with GPS navigation satellites in the lower ionosphere was blacked out for up to two hours."

The major activity happened around Dec 6th according to this article.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

USGS under wraps

Geographical research results from USGS (or the United States Geological Survey) can't be made freely available in US according to the latest rules from Washington.

Meanwhile as presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, GPS is helping the study of earthquake risk.

Friday, December 15, 2006

GPS Week News

▪ GpsPassion published a short review of the Asus R2H UMPC running MS AutoRoute and IGuidance.

▪ Going to India? Check MapmyIndia with an Ajax-based interface for map directions. From LBS Zone.

Fry's is offering the Helio Drift for $99 (stores only). And the Disney Mobile GPS Phone for about $50 with mail-in rebates.

▪ Luca Passani from OpenWave tells Sys-Con that JavaME won't fly, Flash Lite will and that LBS isn't going places. [I don't buy it. Flash is picking up. Opening up Java will help. There are more than a billion phones running it out there. Beat that. And LBS needs less hype and more partners to fly, like Real Estate for one.]

▪ Forbes says that 4 times more GPS units will be found under Xmas trees this season.

Suunto GPS watch now does GoogleEarth with its Track Exporter package. From Gizmondo.

▪ More GPS travel guides this time for the Virgin Islands. Check PR pointed by Engadget.

▪ Companies presenting at the CES 2007 in Las Vegas (January 8 to 11) putting out their PR's like Dash Express and this too good to be true device. Plus lots of other PND's.

Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado giving out Garmins for guests to do geocaching.

iPointer making the news once more.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Telefono: Matt's Stacking Fault

The Silicon Valley Homebrew Mobile Phone Club just had its December meeting with presentations from Trolltech GreenPhone, Java ME, or J2ME Open Source and ideas like (if I got it right) sending RTP and SIP over the same VOIP stream. Check the Club's Wiki for more.

Matt's Hamrick the MC also contributed for the TuxPhone project with his MIT fellows. Wired covered the club and its DIY phone project most recently here and a while ago here. CNet and TMCNet also covered them.

D-Link seems to be interested in the idea too.

Homebrew Mobile Club Meeting

Last night at the TechShop you could fell as if inside a mythical Silicon Valley Garage. The pure potential for creation, making it true, real. They even got a 3D printer. Yes, 3D.

Like Surj says at this page of opencellphone.org

"In the same way ['you brew your own (ale)'], we are building our own phones because we want to support user experiences different than those offered by the traditional carriers. Having an open platform allows us to control what features are included in the device. We hope that over time our efforts will 'inform' product decisions at commercial carriers."
From the same site you can grab the PCB drawing, parts list and code to help you put together your own TuxPhone.

And as Jim from Techshop socratically exposes at this stage of our techno gold rush, the ones providing Levi's might eventually get it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Navigating with phones, Inside Gizmondo

BusinessWeek and GigaOm bring up the fact that using phones for navigation instead of dedicated PND's (Personal Navigation Devices) might get bigger than originally thought. You don't need map updates for one and it is easier to obtain traffic information for another.

Plus you can use it while using other transporation methods besides cars. For cars the idea is to listen to directions instead of looking at it, but if that is the case SmartPhones should provide a resolution and screen size that fits the bill.

And if you consider that you might pay about 10$ a month it is still cheaper than a dedicated device.

Electronic Engineering Times published a colletions of "teardown's" in Under The Hood including one of the defunct Gizmondo using "two-chip set from SiRF (#STGRF2i/LP and #GSP2e/LP)".

The same EETimes points out that Galileo is late.

Friday, December 08, 2006

More GPS Tours

The Economist published an article on GPS Tours, something that we covered a while ago. Plus the Paris Walks.

The article lists Tour Coupes in San Diego using IntelliTours, Europcar in South Africa and City Show in NYC.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

PSP does GPS plus News Links

Philips out of the GPS chipset business.
[Update: But NXT founded by Philips, isn't.]
NavTeq buys Map Network.
GPS in the farm. And here some software to go with it.
GPS used in Galapagos to study volcano formation.
SkyScout is a cool toy for Xmas.

PSP does GPS

You won't be able to buy it from LikSang,
but Play-Asia has it for $60 bucks (plus 9 for S&H).

More on Gizmodo.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Online Map Tragedy

This is a sad note.

As everyone, I was rooting for James to find his way back. And I didn't want to write about sadness. But of his effort, bravery and safe return.

Looking at a AAA map from the region I can see clearly that route 23 approaching the Rogue River is closed during winters. Was the map James looked at also warning about it?

It all started it seems, when James Kim a former editor at CNet put his trust in technology in the form of NavTeq provided directions through MapQuest (notice the "Avoid Seasonally-Closed Roads" box checked at the top right) using Bear Camp Road to reach Gold Beach in the Oregon coast.

No, no GPS on board. It was reported that a printout with directions was found in the car. That road as locals advise shouldn't be open during winter.

While trying to go back and taking a wrong turn into a fire road (BLM 34-8-36 initially reported to have a lock cut off by vandals sometime in November, was in fact left open for hunters) the Saab got stuck among bushes and snow and they couldn't move forward. Kim left his family to look for help after a week stranded.

The good piece of technology and engineering providence came from a brief signal from the Kim's cell that got picked up and traced to the location of their Saab. That saved Kim's daughters and wife. The Mercury News details the process.

An Oregon resident asked in the blog published by the Chronicle to have TeleAtlas and NavTeq modifying their map data to remove this road from their travel directions and avoid other tragedies to occur.

From the Chronicle:

"However, they missed the turnoff [to take state Highway 42 over to the coast], consulted a map and decided to drive the 55 miles down Interstate 5 to Grants Pass. There they turned onto Bear Camp Road, which is lightly traveled even in the summer and often is closed in the winter."

The keeper of the hotel Kim's family was planning to reach didn't recommend it.
"Terri Stone, an innkeeper at the Tu Tu Tun Lodge in Gold Beach, where the Kims were to have stayed the night of Nov. 25, said the Bear Camp Road is shown on some Internet road-direction sites as the best way to get to the coast from Grants Pass, but she advises against it. 'It looks like the shortest distance, but it is very, very treacherous,' she said."

The Chronicle put out a list of recommendations, among them:

"Just because MapQuest provides directions does not mean they are correct. Get independent verification of every destination and carry a detailed road map."

This is a sad tale. Our meditations and prayers go to Kim and his family. Go read Nevius' healing column on today's Chronicle.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

GPS Plays Football

. In Australia, GPSports.com introduced a product line composed of dedicated GPS receiver (SPI), analysis software, online exercise diary (PerfectSession) to track athlets performance (including acceleration and g-force).

Their equipment is being used by rugby and football teams (the real one). Mentioned at the Sydney Morning Herald.

. GPS used to match taxi drivers to customers released in China.

Blog Roll

I don't have a blog roll, yet.

But before that day I need to say thanks to both Daniel and Tim for their links.

Daniel or RevDanCatt pulls off a nice job at his GeoBloggers. I just found this article on GPS developments like Naggie and Navizon following a comment from a Guardian writer.

And here is a list (with what technically wouldn't be considered a real blog but) I would begin with this one if I had to put one up somewhere else on this page:


Good Blogging. Good Reading. Good Sharing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

LBS Developer Portal, AutoDesk Location Services

LBS 360.NET with ads from Microsoft MapPoint is a developer portal now open for business from the same group that gives you AllPoints Blog, Location Intelligence and Directions Magazine.

In fact, regarding developer news AutoDesk Location Services Developer Program gets a review from Directions Magazine.

Map Digs

National Geographic had an article on GeoRSS a while ago, a good read. Plus there are some good surprises at their online series: Digital Places.

As you probably know by now, Google Maps (and Earth) accepts coordinates in formats like:

37 57 11.98 N 121 05 15.76 W

There is now a dedicated Geographical Search Engine at Geody (thanks Stefan). A similar if not the same syntax can be applied with results that will give you a lot to look for in a clean interface.


Map24, Mapsolute, MapTP


I ran into Map24 a while ago and now again with the news that mobile support has been added .

"Map24 Mobile 2.0 [...] shows routes in North and South America, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand [and Europe]."

Try their Ajax interface by drawing rectangles over the US map. Neat.


New Map Provider?

Looking under the hood you discover that Mapsolute (signing side by side with NavTeq as a map data provider) has a role similar to deCarta in US, a German-based company that launched Map24.com as a portal available now "with localized content for fourteen countries."

Its map data provider technology is called MapTP and it: "distributes vector maps through the net, sending them compressed and incrementally."

Poking on C++ coders: "animated zooms and pans in Java, even faster [than] C++ painters."

Map data is provided by TeleAtlas, NavTeq and AND (yes, AND maps).

API's are provided for Java and C++. ActiveX components will be replaced by .Net and web services "interfaced by XML, HTTP or PHP."

Looking through the source of their map browsing page you can find a mix of Ajax, PHP and JavaScript that might teach you some tricks. It even surprised me with the URL of the original
news article that took me into this track. Tricky.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More Augmented Reality

At the West Virginia University augmented reality is actually happening at their GeoVirtual Laboratory or GVL project.

From their research page:

"Imagine the ability to automatically receive information about nearby points of interest, immediately locate friends, get accurate directions, and create dynamic geo-referenced information around the world to share with others"
First on ZDNet.

NYT on Traffic, BW on Mobility

A good Traffic Updates 101 on the NY Times [closed article now] with mentions of real time traffic information providers as Inrix (owned by Microsoft), AirSage and IntelliOne. For more check the Navigation USA 2006 Conference happening this week in San Jose.

BusinessWeek talks about the several flavors of mobility currently available, including a passing mention of Loopt.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Garmin out, HP in plus Runner Tools

Garmin is killing its iQue line of PDA-based GPS receivers running Windows (keeping the iQue 3000, its Palm version seems like) by lack of customer interest according to The Inquirer and Brighthand.

But it has good news for BlueTooth phones that now can pair with Nuvi and StreetPilot (and Zumo) units for hands free phone calls.

Meanwhile HP is launching revamped versions of its PDA's as Media and GPS gadgets. From TechDigest.

From Reuters comes links to websites offered to runners to keep track of their exercise routines like MapMyRun, WalkJobRun including route info from the USA Track and Field website.

Nike + iPod: RFID on the run

This has nothing to do with GPS per se, but with tracking and privacy issues. A research group from the University of Washington figured out a way to obtain data transmitted by the iPod + Nike Sport Kit.

The group developed hardware and software capable of tracking a person using the kit and points out the risks involved with open broadcast of RFID-type signals. Encryption required as always but not used in this version of the product. Apple and Nike must listen to this and act.

First seen on MacDailyNews.