Thursday, December 27, 2007

LBS definitely happening in 2008

From The Island: Quoting the Economist, the idea will happen by

"linking the virtual communities [..] with the real world"
In a recent issue it talks about Bluetooth tagging, if you are 20 meters or closer you are it. Meanwhile, BBC reviews Social Networks.

In U.S. TeleNav launches a mobile app for Facebook. And TeleAtlas LBS Innovators divulge its finalists: JotYou, SmartAgent and Socialight.

Finally, if you didn't get it yet read again: users (will) make the content in the future of mapping.

Talking maps, the old brand Fugawi tries new waters with Fugawi Touratel, a Where-based Widget. Via InformationWeek.

Nokia also makes widgets available for its phones, but no LBS support yet.

And Farcast offers a free mobile blogging service which takes GPS coordinates of photos, text and videos. Via IntoMobile.

Year's End: GPS Navigation & Tracking

GPS Navigation

AAA Mobile available for 14-day test drive, $9.99 per month afterwards. For selected Verizon models from LG, Motorola and Samsung.

Meanwhile U.K. shows how too much of a good thing can take the fun out of it:

GPS Hardware from the Near Future

What is waiting for you in the future according to Wired.

CES 2008 coming up.

Dash Navigation GPS now available for pre-sale.

Apple decides that GPS are accessories and iPhone gets GPS module from TomTom and PartFoundry. Via GsmArena, Information Week

Meanwhile TDMA networks, D-AMPS the historic TDMA-based, an old analog standard will be gone in 2008. OnStar systems, home alarms, old analog based phones affected. Via SF Chronicle.

Sirf announced that it will provide infrastructure to Assisted-GPS phones for Android. Via GpsWorld.

Year's End: GPS Satellites & Chipsets

Closing 2007 competition or merely survival skills get enough cash to keep Galileo viable.

Even Putin will keep track of his dog with Glonass, the Russian-based GPS that now has 18 satellites up in space.

Another successful launch for the American GNSS with Ariane 5 putting in orbit two new GPS satellites.

GPS chipset makers get through a consolidation phase where:

In the Map Biz Microsoft acquired U.K based Multimap. Via ItWorld.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Location technologies: Differences and similarities

There are at least 4, 5 different ways for you to find out where someone (or a device) is currently located:

Satellite based GPS

This is the free, radio signal based one. Satellites up our heads beeping signals in a constant frequency that can be picked up by GPS (radio) receivers.

You need a device which actually "listens" to the GPS radio signals to get it. They need to carry chipsets providing a combination of RF components and software to correlate and process the location data into latitude, longitude and altitude plus time values.

Phone Carrier based Assistance to GPS signaling

With E911 requirements, carriers were obligated to provide progressively more accurate location information in emergencies to cell phone users.

There are basically two main ways to broadcast digital signals to multiple cell phone receivers: GSM and CDMA.

CDMA radio signals as those broadcasted by the GPS satellites, have a time-stamp signature. This is the key data for trilaterating (also referred to as triangulation) three or more points for determining location of a given receiver.

Assisted GPS combines triangulation results from a cell phone obtained from the time a signal takes to reach it from the cell towers; to the GPS data of known locations.

Being a time-based network CDMA allows for more precise determination of a cell phone and its user. GSM provides a much lower precision and there are attempts to improve its resolution through methods like Enhanced GPS for example.

Cell Tower ID databases

Another approach is to create and refer to a database of cell towers id's to obtain its corresponding location (latitude/longitude). For that customers knowingly (or unknowingly) provide the data to seed a database.

Google Maps for Mobile uses this approach with its My Location feature.

There are several open databases with id's of GSM towers used in U.K. and Europe.

Wi-Fi MAC addresses databases

In heavily populated areas, the use of data from wireless access points associated to their corresponding location extends the Cell Tower database approach.

This technique was used by PlaceLab a lab sponsored by Intel. Navizon has been doing this for a while now and before them Wigle and its open source database.

(Static) IP address can also be used for location.

And there are also proposed standards and implementations of GPS data transport protocols which opens lots of possibilities.

What do you got?

So based on this you have GPS or more precisely Location data depending on how manufactures, developers and phone companies decide what is available for you as customer.

In cell phones some sort of E911 will be available. This can be implemented in several forms. For example, CDMA carriers use a Position Determination Entity, or PDE Server that keeps track of devices location.

Privacy concerns should abound here and in any other case where private data is kept.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crack and Cell Tower Databases

That's it. First round is over. Verizon opens up. Second still going. FCC deadline for the bidding of the 700 Mhz spectrum is Dec 3rd. Will Google blink? Check DailyWireless for inside info.

Also, My Location is about sending true location data (accurate Lat/Long) to a database of Cell Tower ID's for those devices that don't have access to GPS radio data. Andrew Grill explains well.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cracking the Carrier Lockdown

Mobile phones are getting an evolutionary jolt these last weeks thanks to:

  • customer response to the materialization of their gadget desires with the iPhone (and Nokia's N95);
  • the realization that carriers can't lock down the mobile platform forever and
  • the possibility of open source-ness through Linux-based alliances thanks to a well-orchestrated PR by Google.
And don't fool yourself: the main goal behind all of this show from Google is to allow you to see localized ad's on the screen of your cell phone.

Talking Google, their LBS API's win the hearts and minds of developers despite all the smoke and mirrors.

Android: The New Borg

Some dots to consider with Android. It was developed by Andy Rubin which created what became the SideKick at Danger. It runs its own version of Java.

But next week is around the corner, so let's wait to see what this thing actually looks like.

In the same vein, Wired, NYTimes and Slashdot hammered carriers and their crippling practices.

LBS for Social Networks, API's

One of the ways LBS can happen is by helping "social networks" as shown this year at CTIA [CNet articles] exemplified by Rummble, Whrll, Utterz, Socialight in UK and Trutap.

You might have heard of the Google API for Social Networks (which includes GeoRSS location info as pointed out by ProgrammableWeb) despite better and more mature ideas being around.

And I remember reading somehere a suggestion that the move shows that Google could be afraid of Facebook.


Talking about development stacks, check SirfStudio and SirfSandbox: a collection of libraries and tools for Java and C++ development of GPS-based applications.

That if you want to develop and deploy LBS applications to be used this year.

GPS Data, Privacy, Choice

NYTimes on Privacy: "These phones can find you"

Do you want to broadcast your location?
ITWeek talks about FireEagle from Yahoo (still in alpha)

Ticket fought with GPS evidence. [Update: But judge didn't take it.]

Meanwhile, GPS chips on cell phones ramping up, via EETimes on a heated up market according to manufactures.

And TruePosition study discovers what users want from LBS.

DIY: Open Source Phones, GPS Loggers, Virtual BIOS

Trolltech announced the decision to stop development of its Greenphone (CNet, Slashdot).

OpenMoko is the game now which has a partnership with the same TrollTech.


New Lego-like kit for GPS equipped DIY hardware. ARM11 based from Bug Labs. Via LinuxDevices.

Elektor published an expensive GPS/GSM tracking project

And Hack a day keeps hacking... Build a GPS/Glonass receiver, GPS loggers, trackers...

Virtual BIOS

Major Development from where you would never expect: Phoenix BIOS is bringing virtualization to hardware so you can open your notebook and count to four before hitting the first key.

The idea behind "HyperSpace" is to virtualize the booting process by storing memory images and loading them up so you can choose which OS to use.

Takahashi describes at the Mercury News how Phoenix will provide this mechanism for new PC's as soon as 2008.

Map Biz, Dash Mashups, N95 Guts

Garmin ups the hand, TomTom covers it and TeleAtlas accepts the bid.

Darpa driverless cars have another round (at EETimes, GPSWorld),

Gizmondo shows Dash mashups, your upcoming mobile tv taking shape in a new gadgetized distraction.

EETimes shows what is the Nokia N95 made of including its Texas' NaviLink GPS5300 chipset. True one then, with Assisted-GPS software based support.

At CTIA 2007 Qualcomm announced Gobi "a global mobile Internet hardware and software combination for notebooks [...] with embedded GPS capabilities".

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mio Digiwalker for $150 at RadioShack

Not sure what is the catch... 15k units available as of 10/31.

[Update: Fry's ads offer the Holux GPSMile-52 [newer model 55 page at Holux] for about the same.]

Monday, October 22, 2007

YouAreHere: J2ME Edition

I put together a J2ME midlet that will run on Motorola/Nextel phones. It picks the current location via its GPS receiver and asks for a map of the area from Yahoo Maps.

Jad: YouAreHere.jad
Jar: YouAreHere.jar

Need a GPS developer? Send me a note.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Geotagging, GPS on YouTube

Another location for your geotagged photos on this mashup site.

What about Gypsii? Is it the way?

Featured Blog: jkOnTheRun

GPS On YouTube

Lots of entries at this point, but check this one, plus GPS on PMS and What GPS Thinks,


Popular Science has a tip on used OnStar modules.

And another project on a "wearable GPS Data Logger" using this module from Sparks Electronics. [which sells for about $150]

Makezine published a plug & play lesson on Parallax Modules.

GPS tracking with APRS anyone? Check this project.

And OpenDMTP has a sibling with a new OpenSource GPS Tracking (OpenGTS) project.

Mobile Development: iPhone, Google Maps

Wired has an article about how you can develop for the iPhone without one.

Google Maps for Mobile now available for Symbian [via GPSWorld]

"Google Maps [...] built on the native Symbian C++ [...] available for S60 3rd Edition on Symbian OS."
Google Maps also includes versions with GPS support for the BlackBerry 8800 and Helio Ocean.

Talking about Symbian, Nokia has a Sports Tracker software package for S60 v3.0 and 3.1 phones.


Microsoft Research has some free mapping apps available for download like the WWMX GPS Track Downloader.

Want to blog from a PDA? Check Mobile Blogger for Windows Mobile: "Read what you like and blog what you think". First on Solsie

Live Tracking? Try Hipoqih.

Want a tracking app for your Nextel GPS phone? Check the Gadgeteer.

Remember Twitter? Here is a J2ME version.

News Worthy: Dash, Nokia, Samsung

Dash is coming out to say what it is about: if you got wireless during traffic you can have your own RSS feed and it might even help you avoid... traffic. [Update: In fact, here is the secret for wireless connectivity. It is called Jasper Wireless].

At the NYT and Wired.
Nokia launched the N810, the third version of its tablet-like device which now includes an embedded GPS receiver. You can Maemo Maps on its Linux-based OS which Doc Searls and Jim Thompson talked about (running on a previous model) couple of issues ago at Linux Journal.

GPSWorld talks about Samsung entering the GPS phone arena. Among the features of its i550 the article says that:

"Samsung did reveal that the i550 will feature voice-activated turn-by-turn guidance. The phone will also feature a pedestrian mode with specific directions tailored to walking speeds."

and that

"some observers are holding up the i550 as a competitor to the Nokia N95, Symbian, it is noteworthy that the S60 interface is developed primarily by Nokia and licensed for use to other companies, including Samsung."

iPhone copycat? Check the HTC Touch

Groundbreaking chip technology: pressure sensing GPS receivers from NemeriX in partnership with Bosch, via GPSLodge

Successful launch of a new GPS satellite.

And it is never enough to say Play Safe as in "Five tips for first time GPS Navigation users" via Navigadget.

Friday, October 19, 2007

USGS delivers GeoPDF

Check the new "Map Locator and Downloader" at the USGS Online Store.

You will find a new Topo button added to the regular Google Maps satellite/hybrid/map options. First put a marker on some place in an area you want a map from. Then click the marker to get information about maps covering the area.

GeoPDF's can be seen directly on Preview, but not sure it will take an extension like GeoPDF. Last I tried the GeoPDF plugin for Acrobat under Windows got bugs from all sides. Better now hopefully. The advantage is that with the plugin you can pinpoint latitude/longitudes with the mouse pointer.

Other map stories...

OpenStreetMap for iPhones may be down but it was a post on how to make use of the free map database. Meanwhile check the news from that side of the Atlantic.

Looking for ideas for your next motorcycle ride? Check this site.

NYC Subway system layer over Google Maps Hack.

Cool example of a real estate mashup.

Map Blog:
Map Site:

How Children Wanders Less These Days, from the Daily Mail.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Garmin, Kids: New Developments

Garmin is at everyone's sight right now. This article at CNNMoney opens up interesting new developments.

Also, research (made possible by OTX and eCrush which shows the kind of tool kids have at their disposal nowadays) announces that kids don't care for GPS. [Via GPSWorld]

Not the technology, but the use you can make out off it I would add.

They digg geocahing.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

GPS for Kids

Couple of days ago I made a presentation at a school in the Santa Cruz area. After the lecture groups went after caches hidden in the campus.

They had an idea about where North was, latitude/longitude, and that some satellites were broadcasting time above their heads.

They looked curiously at the GPS receivers trying to understand what to do to get their treasure hunt prizes.

Back to the class they went out again to obtain the coordinates of specific location in the campus, out and indoors (teacher's door handle for example). And back again to compare their findings.

Hardware Facts

PDA's suck, mind the language, power and patience. Their compass runs too erratically and the 3D GPS signal is harder to stay fixed.

Had also a chance to try the Garmin 60CS and I liked it a lot. My geocaching friend thought that the antenna was slower than our Magellan's, but I have a cheaper model than his so it didn't quite showed that way to me.

And the firmware on the Magellan's does need improvement to add all the features you can find on the Garmin's.

Kids digg it

It was a great experience to hide caches and worry about weather, scope good sites and see their curious faces.

Curious about what kind of future the technology that is mirroring their lifestyles will be.

But technology will only do its part, they still learn how to read their own compasses.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Nokia buying Navteq

Wow, take this Google...
TomTom already got TeleNav, so what now?

N95 is looking more and more attractive these days.

PR at AP.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Magellan Triton with NG Maps

National Geographic has one of the best topographic map offers.

The idea of going around with a color screen displaying good quality map data on a rugged GPS seems quite attractive.

Coming soon.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Daily Wireless: Recommended Blog

Trying to figure out what exactly entails the 700 Mhz band auction? WiMax? How we will be connected 24/7? Check at Daily Wireless.

Monday, July 23, 2007

TomTom buying TeleAtlas?

Big news from NYTimes (free subscription required) and at Reuters also. Good shaking coming if this happens.

For Digg-like site with Geo related posts, check BlinkGeo.

Mashable grouped 50 online maps tools and resources.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mashups, Hacking Street View, Geocashing

Cool mashup from Finland via Make.

Hacking Google Street View.

Google Stampede, Navteq next? Via AllPointsBlog.

Mobile Search

Looking for the closest cashiers that will take your money for goods? Sprint makes GPSShoper available for $1.99 a month (plus data plan). Mobile customers can:

"use their cell phones to find any of 85 million products available at 30,000 stores across the country. People type in a keyword, product name, model number or UPC number to search for the product."
At CNet, MobileCrunch

Local Match making at Meetmois.

GPS Hardware News: HTC, iPhone un-rumours, Nokia N800

Rumors of a true GPS in the iPhone fading out. Most probably Bluetooth GPS support and some cool apps to go with it. Where it started and PocketPicks in UK. Via Tech Digest

From jkOnTheRun what Nokia N800 looks like, YouTube has a good 13 mins "open-the-box" experience. The N800 NavKit includes the LD-3W Bluetooth GPS receiver. The video shows how easy it picks a signal, even under a roof.

Also Via PocketPicks: New entry from HTC in UK, very iPhonish. Via ItWorld.

Solsie and a video on the Future of the phone from CNET.

Garmin Zuno at GPSLodge.

Germany looking at Public Funds for Galileo.

MIT WatchMe project "a platform for mobile communication and awareness" (photo), via PCMag.

PR Dept

SirfDirect: Dead Reckoning or how to keep track of things while no signal is available. SirfDirect "couples the SiRF star III chipset with acceleration sensors to tell where it's going when GPS signals are blocked". At GpsLodge, GpsPassion, LBSZone and Navigadget.

TomTom now let you fix their maps. At PCMag, GearLog, PR.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

WhereCamp: Reaching Critical Mass

Almost like watching a baby being born such the focused energy and creativity.

LBS, Mobile development, Locative Media, Hacks. Free flow and format. Five minutes shots.

Sunday afternoon had some more five minutes rapid fires. A great stack presentation among them.

The connection between APRS, GPS and OpenMoko was almost latent: an Open Phone and the possibility of an Open Carrier.

That still to come. Maybe on an OpenHardware Camp?

That might create the spark. O'Reilly's next?

Check posts by Curious.Judity and Steve.

Monday, June 04, 2007

bliin: mobile blogging ahead

Take pictures with your cell phone while geotagging them with the respective GPS coordinates. Upload for sharing with text, sounds and videos. If you got the compatible Nokia or Sony-Ericson model you can try it right now with Bliin.

Bliin uses the GeoTracing framework, covered in another post. Register & download a J2ME midlet to your phone or MacOSX and Windows desktops clients with Bluetooth GPS.

You can upload and share photos with the phone clients but not the desktop versions. In fact, the sharing, made through and most of the features will "come soon", the whole package is going through a public beta.

Blogs Mashup

After you upload your photos you can visualize them in a Google Maps screen (satellite, maps, hybrid) with a cool widget from zooming in/out, toggling map types and accessing your own stuff.

Bliin will show your location in a world map at the website along with other users and photos at their corresponding locations.

The phone client has a radar view that displays who's around within a given range to feed into the social networking take.

MacOSX Client

If you want to try the Mac client first create an account at the website

It asks for your Bluetooth GPS. Turn Bluetooth on if it isn't, search for the device and pair it up (you might need the passkey).

If you don't have one around, check Semsons for Bluetooth models (pick one with Sirf Start III GPS chipset).

Bliin now sits at the menu bar as a task item.

If the color at the center is red it couldn't login to the server.
Blinking green, GPS is working fine.

Check the PDF with more info on the color scheme.

The only thing that will happen is that you will be able to see your current location in the map.


For desktop usage because of the lack of support for photo (or text, sound) upload the package isn't quite there just yet.

But if the target public are users of mobile phones which might take precedence in the implementation of feature set bliin promises a good punch (and you can upload photos right now).

First at Mashable.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Garmin API, Pedestrian Warnings, Tagging Graffiti

In the GPS front Garmin announced its Communicator Plugin API which will allow "transfers data between websites and Garmin GPS Devices."

MotionBased webservices API's and a User Interface library with its Activity Player, and "a suite of visual programming components that visualize Garmin GPS data" will also become available soon.

More at GpsLodge.

Microsoft studying GPS tracklogs can predict drivers behavior among other things.

And Yahoo talks about mobile phones warning pedestrians about approaching vehicles. Via AllPointsBlog.

Finally, GrafittiTracker a way to use GPS by law enforcement in LA to track graffiti.

Map News: Links

Lots of maps news from Where 2.0 and abroad. Here are links to the most compelling companies, products and recent stories:


GpsLodge finds out about free Inrix Traffic Data from

AllPointBlog has a story on NavTeq eying GeoEye.

And Google bought Panoramio.

iPhone, uLocate: Toolbox for Your Content

When a huge wave is coming your way, better duck. Bet solar flares are taking us for a ride this week...

Plus shipping and blogging hardly go hand in hand. Unless you are writing docs I would imagine...

I don't know if this has to do with reading news from feeds but the amount of significative events in the last 72 hours has been quite overwhelming. Where 2.0, JobsGates...

Outside the Matrix

Filtering out most of it I would stick to these pearls for now:

From Jobs at D5 answering about Apple's marketshare:

"Personally, I find it absurd that the marketshare is so low. Seriously. It confuses the hell out of me. It's like watching people fight to be in the Matrix."
Considering then that the fight among entrepreneurs seems to be one where it is being conceptualized what we, as customers want to buy and use. What lifestyle is there, how does it gadgetize itself.

GeoRSS Feeds + Maps

Piecing together the words from Walt Doyle CEO from uLocate now offering widgets with support for KML and GeoRSS from Manufacture you read:

"Mobile phone users will be able to view thousands of location feeds including local news wire stories, user-generated travel guides, local blogs, restaurant reviews, and virtual location notes."

Again from Jobs at D5 answering to Mossberg's question about "What will be on the pocket device of the future? Jobs answer: "I don't know. Five years ago, I wouldn't have predicted maps."

Local Reporting

Back to Where 2.0 is invitating developers: "We'd also like to push the developers and content creators attending the conference to think to the future of geo-located information, including open standard APIs that allow mobile users not only to subscribe to geo-located data, but modify it on the fly in the real world."

At the conference attendees would be able to watch "live demos of GeoRSS feeds being dynamically updated and visually displayed in the car will re-inforce the customer value of freeing geo-located information from the confines of the PC."

For now, following on Gizmodo posts and D5's transcript.

Soon mobile blogging, feeding for, and from anyone with enough cash to get their hands on this mythical gadget that is materializing ahead of a shared lifestyle dream, where you can report from your current location and upload your geotagged photos, recorded videos, mail and stories.

Or to get started right away, check Locoblog and its blogging package for Nokia mobile phones running JSR 179 (Bluetooth or embedded GPS). And for MovableType users, GeoPressMT plugin is available.

Being a local reporter with your own content. Feeding the news, being fed leads.

Check Andrew Turner's presentation on Where 2.0 for a good visual explanation.

What a week.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Future of PND's: Your Mobile TV

Matt Nauman from Mercury News hints at the future of Portable Navigation Devices. Turn it on, get directions, check the offers along the way, watch a little clip, listen some more specials...

You got the picture.

Hey don't forget multitasking isn't going away anytime soon if it depends on this sort of engineering...

But watching TV and driving, that's asking a bit much of our already busy brains.

Matt also writes about James Keh, a Valley pioneer: opens the first GPS-only gadget store. In 1996.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reading maps, Google Mobile, .NET CF 3.5

The Telegraph found a study that concludes that man reads maps better, but can't find the keys. Via The Register.

ZDNet found a patent for mobile search filled by Google. Talking Google, no real news here but... Blackberries can now run Google Maps Mobile as Windows Mobile PPC 2003 2nd edition users. Plus Google Developer Day 2007 is coming up.

Also .NET Compact Framework 3.5 Beta 1 is out. Via Solsie.

GeoFeed: Flickr Photos

Flickr (better saying, Rev Dan Catt) is working on a way for you to subscribe to a feed of photos taken at a given lat/long.

Like London and San Francisco. His latest post includes the two cities as examples of GeoFeeds. Neat.

Here is one for Santa Cruz.

Some wishes... How do I subscribe to my own custom lat/long? Anyway to enter those values in the URL? What about showing lat/long in the photo info?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

People's Map, iPhone Rumors

In UK People's Map Goes Beta

More ways of seeing photos on Google Earth at gearthblog.

NYTimes talks about the Garmin Rhino. And also about Scratch, the visual programming language used by those M.I.T. toys.

Rumors of a true GPS with iPhone, also at Navigadget.

A reminder, GeoIQ from those cool maps and FortiusOne from GeoCommons are all under the same company roof.

Angelina Jolie got GPS tags

No cash for GPS project

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

GeoCommons, Urban Mapping, Live Search for J2ME

GeoCommons gets into public beta May 28th during Where 2.0. Check 3pointd who looked into it. And at DirectionsMag for a good description of what is about to come.

Talking about maps Radar maps what Google is up to recently, plus Urban Mapping now used by Ask with its API and a cool demo of their map technology. And more about Yahoo dropping deCarta.

Via SolSie, Live Search for J2ME phones: including Nokia Series 40, 60, Motorola Razr, Samsung SPH-A900, Sanyo MM-8300 and beta software for some Blackberry models (Perl, 7130, 8700, 7290).

And Mobio help you find cheap gas, via VentureBeat.

In Other News

Brighthand liked the Pharos GPS Phone.

Via LBSZone: Geoweb 2007 Conference Program is out. And Qualcomm has one for Brew coming up too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Derek from Glastonbury: The First GPS Bull

Lots going on but for now just a note on a British first: bet on Derek's location, GPS-based.

Via PocketPicks and also PocketGamer which has a pretty concise review of mobile news in UK.

If you decide to play you might end up in Glastonbury for their upcoming Summer of Love 2007.

Maker Faire: Burning Man Meets Marx in Silicon Valley

Did he say something like "those who own the means of production will be set free"?

If that is the case, Maker Fair was here to help make that revolution happen by aligning and layering up the techno strata of the valley.

It showed the takeover (with affordable and tax-deductible costs) of tools for invention, design, production and distribution which now in an act of magic are freed and available to the Common Man.

This weekend will certainly revolve its ideas and potential for many weekends to come.

A few photos at Flickr and some more at

Friday, May 18, 2007

BBC GeoStories: Tagging the News

BBC is experimenting with tagging stories, sounds, photos and video to its location on a map.

The first set of the projects can be seen at GeoStories.

First at Technology news.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Spatial Data: Vapor aware

Isaac @ MSDN blog comes up to say some more on SQL Server Spatial support. Meanwhile, Paul Ramsey points out that there are other choices already available out there like PostGIS 0.8.

Hardware: Dell, Garmin, Mobile TV

Yao Ming in three new commercials from Garmin (best, sure, whatever). And a cool educational effort with a new GPS Academy with Flash presentations like GPS 101 presented by Miss GPS. First at GPSLodge.

Dell out of the PDA market. From Solsie And GPS wins over Mobile TV.

Meanwhile Reuters discovers what is mostly already available. Echoed by Gizmodo.

Widgets/Social Networks: uLocate, GyPSii

uLocate raised more cash according to VentureBeat. Its widgets Where, are behind Ask Mobile GPS,, MapQuest FindMe and a mapping app for the Blackberries, KMaps . Used also in another photo uploader GeoSnapper for phones equipped with true GPS as the Motorola i860.

Reuters (note archived=false in the URL) covers the future use of GPS phones by social networks and gives good news from Sam Critchley (from A2B) and Dan Harple who sold GyPSii to Benefon. Congrats! First at mocoNews.

And to add another piece to this puzzle check the nice introduction of the moment's fad at Twitter 101: a good intro and summary with ideas and perspectives plus a comment that shots the whole thing down.

Map API's: Yahoo, PushPin, OpenWave MIDAS

Yahoo Maps Out of Beta: version 3 includes Ajax and Flash API's; drops deCarta drill-down engine. Via AllPointsBlog.

PR from ThomasNet about availability of Pushpin, a subscription-based web service JavaScript API (Ajax) for map tiles.

OpenWave partners with Sirf to offer MIDAS, Ajax-based Mobile Widgets development platform for Brew, Windows Mobile, Symbian, QTopia and Linux. Via WirelessIQ.

JavaFX: Rippling Effects at Nokia, Motorola

EETimes interviewed surprised executives from Motorola and Nokia regarding Sun's latest move on its all Java mobile platform. Interesting times.

Teardown slideshow: Celestron Skyscout

If you want to take a peek inside a Skyscout from Celestron with its GPS, compass (magnetometer by Honeywell + accelerometer from Analog Devices) head to EETimes' TearDown for a freebie.

Click the red On Demand button (buggy on Firefox, works in IE + RealAudio) and register for a 15 or so minutes long video (slides with narration) by David Carey from TearDown. Parts list included.

Guts of a Prius

EETimes publisher CMP, just put out the second issue of 'Under The Hood" showing (besides the Skyscout) the guts of a Toyota Prius, a Blackberry 8100 Pearl, the Sony game controller and a bunch of other toys.

A good point made at the Skyscout presentation is the fact that Freescale doesn't produce the MG4100A anymore. Guess Motorola sold that IP to Sirf at some point.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blackberry, MakerFaire, LED on the windshield

Visual Studio will get a Blackberry Plugin soon and new Pearl models may include real GPS.

HUD brings a way to have the view of a LED on your windshield, quite ingenious (via Solsie).

Maker Fair Schedule is out. Happening this weekend.

G-Map Track: A new name (site, use, positioning) for MGMaps, now a free Google Maps based tracking app for Symbian and J2ME phones.

Welcome Blade Runner

GPS concept mixing e-paper, navigation. Via CoolestGadgets. And an umbrella that shows you the way (via AllPointsBlog).

ElectronicDesign: 10 GPS Apps

Great article from the ground up of the GPS technology to current chipset makers. A pretty concise view of the GPS market and its applications.

Discuss-able around A-GPS but still covered enough material on less than three pages.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

News week: DIY LBS Development

HP announced mscape, a tool (player plus editor) used to teach GPS and surrounding subjects by schools in England. The US version has an automated way of generating map images with coordinates but the documentation available points to the British version.

You will have some fun learning about Easting and Northing used by UTM based projections. It does run on PocketPC 2003 despite the warnings along the way. It does requires Adobe Flash PDA client. Review soon.

FreeEarth demos Ajax in 3D maps using Poly9 API as covered in Radar.

According to AllBlogs, next rev of MS SQL to support geospatial data.

Buzzword Alert: GeoWeb. Coined first here. Google does GeoBlogging.

News week: PNDs, A-GPS

Are Brits prone to follow gadgets blindly? Perhaps because lots of them are now so much into navigation with satnav's.

Well, BBC reports on even dumber ideas for those not distracted enough or not multitasking at recommended levels. How do you call those little things used for testing new stuff... Guinea pigs?

In fact, it seems that these gadgets are dropping the resale price of used cars.

But if you are still looking for a deal, check this list of under $200 models.

SFGate had an interesting article on the time it takes for updates to trickle down into these devices and online map services.

Here a video with some of TomTom's history.

Handhelds, Mobile Phones

According to EETimes, US Census Bureau will use custom handhelds manufactured by HTC equipped with GPS in its next Census.

Helio Ocean is now available.

Nokia promoting a Road To China.

IAC (Ask Mobile owner) announces "Ask Mobile GPS". For Sprint customers using WaveMarket LBS technology.

And this time Sprint got it right.

Google Maps Mobile in UK (Nokia N95) Video on Reuters, article by The Register. It includes local search, UK-based and Vodafone phones will have it preloaded.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Casa Loma: Passage to Morgan Hill

Loma Prieta Peak is the highest point in the Santa Cruz Mountains (or not). It is private land, covered with antennas.

Somehow I've been wondering about a passage [kml] through those mountains from "this side of hill" to the Morgan Hill side.

Road across the Fault line

It runs through Eureka Canyon from Corralitos, Highland, Mt Bache Rd, Loma Prieta Ave where you can reach the peak and from there, (private roads) Uvas Canyon Road also known as Loma Chiquita Road, then the in really bad shape Casa Loma Road.

It ends at a gate by Rancho Canada del Oro [pdf], an Open Space Preserve in Morgan Hill.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nasa WorldWind Java SDK Available

If you are looking for a way to build a free client for Google Earth look at what NASA and Sun are making available: a Java SDK for NASA's WorldWind. Add KML support to it and you are half way there.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

JavaOne: JavaFXScript + Linux

AllPointsBlog scored twice:

  • Sharing the Sprint presentation on Java's Location API 2.0 (JSR293) and
  • presenting views on Savaje's IP acquisition by Sun which brought in a couple of weeks a port of its JavaFX framework to the FIC/OpenMoko device (photo).
LBSZone also following Sun's noisy entrance in the Open Source + Open Hardware mobile market with its JavaFXScript for Mobile.

Check articles at LinuxDevices and CNET for more.

Meanwhile, Helio is leading the design contest with Ocean. With Gizmodo putting up its whole manual...

Sprint Conference papers here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

GPS, LBS, Maps: Mixed Bag News

Reuters wrote about a controversial plan that uses GPS (among others techniques) to track drivers in the Island. Via Engadget.

Yahoo Pipes now has GeoRSS support, so you can build a pipe to grab feeds based on their location.

Make found this post about a project that hooks up a Garmin eTrex to Nikon D200.

Geocaching still the best way to get someone started with GPS.

CNET reviews the Pharos GPS Phone 600e and doesn't like it. The 600e doesn't include navigation software (while the 600 does). Via SolSie.

Trust on Technology: New Zealand boaters also asked to keep their maps around.

TeleAtlas going 3D with its City Maps. From the PR:

"By leveraging Tele Atlas 3D city maps, developers can add recognizable building representations with excellent optical quality while maintaining a low volume of data.[...] This ability to present the highly detailed, true-to-life 3D models at exceptionally low data volumes was achieved through a new parametric texture technology developed by GTA Geoinformatik GmbH, a German company with extensive experience in 3D geo-referenced visualization and modelling."

: quick review of iGuidance and MS Streets and Trips by Warner Croker on GottaBeMobile.

EU is considering running the late in schedule Galileo Project.

US considering use of (A)GPS equipped cell phones to help track terrorist attacks.

Free Google Earth client: That's one of the FSF top priorities. Good one.

Emotional Maps of San Francisco. Or how to use GSR while strolling in the City.

2D barcodes used to help commuters in France by providing real-time traffic data

O'Reilly Where 2.0 is coming and bringing GeoCommons Launch.Via LBSZone

Interesting post on eating your own dogfood at MS Mobile Blog. It also shows how HTC is helping out with the development of Windows Mobile.

Programmable Web published a list of resources for developing mashups with Ruby including among them:

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Economist: When Everything Connects

As OgleEarth already acted upon. It is all in the cover of current (for US) The Economist.

It is all connected. More about the cover at Moteiv.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Landscaping, Locals, Tags

Some synchronicity on this one: spent sometime looking up stitching packages and ran into a local artist. Today I find an article on Digital Urban about the same sort of tooling but for the Nokia N95.

You are It

In other parts, (Vegas to be specific or Venetian Hotel to be even more) MEDC 2007 in on its way and Daniel Wagner in a research on Augmented Reality is showing SignPost2007, a Windows Mobile version of his project .

The Windows version evolved quite a bit since his early prototypes in a research project born at the Graz University.

SignPost uses a lower resolution version of tags similar to the QuickResponse codes used in Japan. The low-res encoding provides less combinations but it should be certainly faster to read/process.

The library used to prototype the "computer vision tracking" to read these tags AR Toolkit Plus is available for download.

Monday, April 30, 2007

ShoZu: Geotagging on the Fly

Great post by Dr Andrew Hudson-Smith at Digital Urban about using the N95, the new object of desire from Nokia with a freely available geotagger and photo uploader called ShoZu.

ShoZu in fact supports a lot of models so you don't need to throw away your current one just yet.

The idea is to use its Share-It feature to upload pictures with embedded location information to sites like Flickr, Blogger and lots of others.

The post explains in great detail how to get up and running with the product. In fact, Digital Urban has some pretty amazing stuff, check it out.

Via OgleEarth.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

MTBGuru: Nisene Marks, Old San Jose Road Loop

Today I marked down another item from my someday I will do list. Nisene Marks Forest is a beautiful park and the weather was perfect. Friends of Santa Cruz Parks has good info on Nisene Marks and does good work to keep its trails.

I wanted to have data to use with MTBGuru and today was the day. I rode my bike for about 20 miles within the forest and then out of it through the Old San Jose Road.

The map below uses JavaScript code generated by MTBGuru (modified to adjust the size of the blog post) after I had the trip data uploaded.

MTBGuru has a pretty clean interface. You upload your .gpx file, pictures, grade it in someway, add a description and you are done.

The pictures don't require geocoding information on their Exif headers. You can synchronize the GPS data with the time the pictures were taken by adjusting them in the trip page itself.

The whole process took me less than 5 minutes, not counting the time I took to crop the photos. From the trip page you can download its corresponding .gpx file, or a KML version to load in Google Earth.

Kudos for MTBGuru and its use of Ajax for creating a nice experience with its easy of use and clean interface. You can get out of Beta now (in fact, real beta apps now have to be named something else at this point...).

Baby Blues: Mute the GPS?

This cartoon from Baby Blues became available today, published two weekends ago. Still funny.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Windows Mobile 5.0 and GPS-based development

Microsoft is killing the PPC 2003, obviously. I explain: to use GPS on a PPC now running WM 5.0 it is easier to use the API provided by them.

But, no access through a serial port no more. So, if someone develops code with this API, no way to run it on a PPC 2003. In fact, you might try if you find the gpsapi.dll around. And also bypass the install checks for OS requirements.

Or you find a way to extend this library to add serial port support (which is used by Bluetooth anyways).

Guess either you have a way to emulate it, which in the case of serial access is a bit hard or you move up to Mobile 5, or 6 (video on it available at MSDN/Channel 9), now that it is out anyway like in the just released Xda Terra. But in Germany, by O2.

BTW, all this triggered by the release of EveryTrail GPS Connector for Windows Mobile 5 users.

Friday, April 27, 2007

GPS News Week

MapQuest and OnStar are now working together to let you send driving directions straight to your car. Via TruckTrends.

Want to make some money testing your carrier wireless network performance? Then check InCode (a Verisign company) and its Wireless Barometer. You need a Symbian S60 or Windows Mobile (2003 or 5.0) phone with GPS. You will need to install software to help track the network throughput based on your location.

Tele Atlas announced the finalists of its LBS Innovators Series including among them 509 Inc, InterCasting, Locatrix, and Spark Parking.

Presentations by Kanwar Chada from Sirf (who also gave an interview to GPS World) and Frazier Miller from Yahoo's Local Search given at the Location Intelligence 2007 Conference are available at AllPointsBlog.

PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices) are now banned in Switzerland. Via TechnoRide, from PC Magazine.

Gizmodo interviewed Bill Plummer, Nokia's VP of Sales for Americas with questions about their GPS strategy and offers. Nothing really new there.

CNet tried Delphi Nav200 with traffic updates. And lots of talk on a SIM card by BlueSky that can provide A-GPS for old GSM phones. Not sure why all this buzz around it...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Keep your maps around

Before you put your trust on some gadget, here are some ways technology can let you down from recent news and how they can interfere with location-based technology including GPS satellites and its signals:

Solar Flares

CNet reported on a study by NOAA on the effect of solar eruptions occurred last December and its accompanying radio bursts had on GPS signals.

[Update: And today NOAA released a study pointing out that a new cycle of sun spots is likely to start around March 2008 peaking up in 2011. Via CNET.]

DARPA's Backup System

Boeing is developing for DARPA the concept of a non-GPS based system named Robust Surface Navigation (RSN). From the PR:

"[the] program is to develop technologies that can exploit various "signals of opportunity" -- electronic waves emanating from satellites, cell phone towers and even television transmission towers -- to provide precise location and navigation information to ground troops when GPS signals are being electronically jammed or blocked by natural or man-made obstacles, such as foliage or buildings."
[Update: Rosum will be working with Boeing on this project, providing its GPS over TV signals technology. Via NewsFactor]

Frequency Interference

Today pointed out a study from the Swedish Defence Research Agency saying that CPU's running at close range to a GPS receiver can interfere with its accuracy.

Unreliable Location-based 911

And the San Jose Mercury News published an article on the study being developed by APCO on the reliability of location-based information provided by 911 services over cell phones.

GSM networks are known to provide poor resolution while CDMA provides a much better accuracy by the nature of its own network (time-based signals).

Shirt with GPSOverIP

But that won't stop someone to dress for the occasion with a shirt that transmits your current location using GPSOverIP and comes with its own data plan from Vodafone.

Keep your maps around, you might need them.

Kaywa Reader: Mobile-based Feeds

If you noticed the QR-code (Quick Response code) on the right pane you might be wondering what is it about.

Instead of entering data through thumbing, you point the phone to a code and reads it.

Recently URL's are being coded this way to make it simpler for mobile phone users to enter them.

The idea now is that certain phones can read these codes as a way to subscribe to mobile feeds.

The Kaywa reader is one of these packages that allows Java-based and Symbian S60 models make use of this functionality.

Geotagging: Sony got competition from GisTeq

GisTeq announced Photo Trackr, product similar to the Sony GPS-CS1 which allows photos taken with any digital camera (and not only Sony models) to be sync'ed up via USB with the corresponding GPS coordinates of the location where they were originally taken.

It includes a clock synchronization function, a tag button to remember waypoints, re-chargeable Li-ion battery and according to the specs [pdf] its software provides integration with Flickr, Google Maps with history and playback display functions of recorded routes.

Windows only. MSRP $129.00 (not for sale online yet).

Check review at GPSPassion.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

USGS EarthNow! Ride with Landsat 5 & 7

This is just awesome...

USGS made available EarthNow! A real-time viewer of the images collected by the Landsat satellites 5 and 7 (Java required).

These birds circle the Earth at 705 km of altitude (exosphere) and according to the FAQ they provide images with resolution of 30 meters (each image pixel corresponds to an area of about 250 square meters).

Replay of past flights are broadcasted to fill in for real-time data acquisition.

But chances are now that their servers will be handling out numbers for a waiting list so meanwhile go check the Earth As Art Collections and the Relief Maps of US States also made by them.

Amazing. Riding above the Earth during your lunch break. And for free. Guess Simonyi could've saved some of his money with it...

USGS... You rock!

First at AllPointsBlog.

Monday, April 23, 2007

RDS-TMC Hacks: Don't follow those directions

Inverse Path hacked into European-based RDS-TMC (Radio Data System - Traffic Message Channel) used by GPS Navigation devices that display traffic updates provided over the air.

They were able to inject false alerts that could be broadcasted through FM to GPS devices on the road. Showing how much risk there is today in depending on these systems.

In US and Canada products like the Garmin nuvi 680 and Garmin StreetPilot c580 make use of Microsoft's DirectBand through MSN Direct services (one year free service).

But Clear Channel stations make use of TMC while XM Satellite Radio uses XM NavTraffic from NavTeq.

Microsoft DirectBand is strongly encrypted which isn't the case with the European system.

The idea of the group is to show the vulnerability of the current system. New standards with stronger security are being developed and/or available but not yet in use by manufacturers.

Among them TPEG (Transport Protocol Experts Group) where according to Inverse Path encryption is optional and GST (Global System for Telematics).

Via Slashdot, Yahoo News

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tracking You Down

As you probably already know, cell phones are always communicating through radio signals with the cell towers in range so by triangulating someone's signals you could find out its current location.

If you don't believe it yet, check out this site that a friend pointed out recently. But no need to freak out just yet...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

MTBGuru: Ride, Track & Share

Just ran into MTBGuru, a site dedicated to Mountain Bike riders that use GPS receivers to track their rides and want to share them with pictures over the web. It can also be used for Hikes, Runs and other activities.

Win CE 6.0 SDK: FakeGPS

MS makes available with its new SDK for Windows CE a way to simulate a NMEA data stream for GPS development on the Mobile PC. Check this blog, which says that:

"FakeGPS will set the GPS Intermediate Driver to read the NMEA strings from a text file instead of using a real GPS device."
[Update: Windows Mobile 6 SDK to be exact, which is based on Win CE 5. Just helping to mess it a bit more.]