IBM’s CityOne – Gaming to solve our cities’ problems

While I continue my research in the area of immersive virtual worlds and serious gaming, I have also been doing a lot of work recently in the area of digital cities, and trying to implement the idea of a “smart” 3D city or town landscape that can be used as a visualization and collaboration tool for municipal management and planning. Once again, an IBM project has grabbed my attention by combining serious gaming and digital cities into one cool project: CityOne. Today I saw a press release announcing the CityOne project, a SimCity-like game using real world data that will be designed to bring together players of the game to help work through and solve real problems facing cities around the world. IBM will be introducing CityOne at Agility@Work Zone at Impact2010 in Las Vegas this week (this is the IBM software conference for business and IT, not to be confused with another conference called IMPACT 2010, which some blogs and sites have linked to by mistake)

Check out the CityOne preview:

Via Gizmodo

The first nano-cartographers? – IBM creates world’s smallest 3D map

“To see a world in a grain of sand” – William Blake’s lyrical words take on a new meaning when you watch this video of IBM researchers demonstrating their new nanomill technology, which uses a tiny silicon tip to carve out objects and features as small as 15 nanometers. While it’s probably not going to revolutionize map-making, the nanomill can be used for numerous high-precision applications in electronics, optics, and medical research.

From the IBM press release, the demonstration includes a “Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was “written” on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.”

Via GizModo

Moved 10 Feet to the Left

Wired news is reporting that modern GPS sensors have be able to determine the Chilean city of Concepcion has been moved 10 feet to the west from the recent earthquake.  Apparently this area is prime area for seismic activity due to its location over a subduction zone.  The hope by researchers is to quickly get more GPS stations on the ground in that area so more precise movements can be detected.

Leica Zeno

There was a press release back in late February that I just came across from the folks at Leica Geosystems which caught my attention, partially due to the product, partially for the picture. The product is their new Zeno handheld GPS/GLONASS device. It is a Windows CE device, as has become the norm, and they have rolled out their new Zeno Office that includes an OEM version of ArcPad 8 for the device and a desktop client extension for ArcGIS to get your data in and out of the device.

The hardware has most of the features you expect now-a-days: 2 MP camera, 640×480 3.5 inch screen, and SD and CF card slots for expansion. The Zeno 10 includes a numeric pad while the Zeno 15 adds a QWERTY keypad, which brings us to the picture of a GPS unit that immediately made me think ‘green fish’. My mental image aside, the new Zeno line looks like a great option for those in the market for a professional grade handheld GPS unit. If you get a chance to play with one, let us know what you think.

Transforming the Urban Landscape – Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration

I’m always a fan of projects that transform decaying manmade structures and features into revitalized green spaces, and I saw this great example from Seoul, Korea. This project is even cooler because a river that runs directly through Seoul had been buried years before underneath the highway, and when the road was demolished for the park, the river was recovered and is now a centerpiece of the urban park.

As more and more of us are living in urban environments, I hope that we’ll see more innovative projects like
the Seoul Cheonggyecheon Stream park.

Via Eyebeam and Inhabit

MIT students create 3D relief interface

Nowadays, when we think about research into 3D interfaces, it’s usually referring to work done on trying to get real objects to display in 3D in a computer. But check out this cool project, called Relief, created by MIT students to read digital relief data and create a physical 3D model. It uses an array of 120 motorized with a malleable surface covering them. The pins heights are set based on relief data, and then surface is deformed accordingly. An image of terrain or other types of media can then be projected onto the surface to enhance the visualization.

TEI 2010 / Relief: a responsive 3D surface from benny on Vimeo.

Via eyebeam

Human Movement Can Be Predicted by Cell Phones

This shouldn’t come as any huge shock to anyone familiar with LBS, but researchers have shown that 93% of human movement can be predicted by cell phone.  In an article published in Science, the researchers suggest that most human movement is fairly limited in area.  They actually say most customers stay in a 6 mile radius most of the time.  They go on to suggest this sort of aggregate data would be great for city planners (or cell phone companies, presumably)  The findings were broken down by hour and unsurprisingly, tended to be highly volatile during ‘transition’ times.

Mobile is as mobile does

As you may have been able to tell from the avalanche of mobile phone hardware and software news this week, the Mobile World Congress is going on in Barcelona. So far the big news (in my eyes) has been on the operating system front with Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Phone 7, which looks like an impressive update to the long-in-the-tooth Windows Mobile, and Symbian^3 (cubed? 3? I don’t know), which will be the first fully open source release of Symbian since it was spun off into the Symbian Foundation. There are even rumors that Microsoft’s new non-smart phones will be sporting a Silverlight UI, suggesting they won’t be dumb phones.

As for hardware, it is raining goodies in all flavors as HTC, LG, Samsung and others throw out announcement after announcement of new phones which special attention to the smart phone market. This of course means that brand new location aware devices will be rolling out over the next year. Not all of these devices will be smart phones as more than one computer/tablet manufacturer is on hand in Barcelona to highlight the other mobile devices that are vying for your pay check.

Don’t think that MWC is just about the hardware and OS announcements. There is a heavy helping of apps that are being announced this week for every smart phone platform that can be imagined. We will of course have a wrap up of the goodies that have caught our eye this weekend on the podcast, so check back Sunday for our take on some of these announcements.

ArcPad and an anniversary

Since Elvin and various ArcPad team members (I’m looking at you Marika) have spent our last couple of anniversaries hanging out at our live show, we wanted to take the opportunity to recognize their recent blog post. Ten years is a big milestone and I have to admit that I have been using ArcPad through its various incarnations for most of those years. Right now on my desk on campus sits a Trimble Nomad with ArcPad 8 installed and waiting for me to take my GIS class out around campus to capture POI’s for their class project.

In light of this anniversary, I just wanted to say keep the great software coming (including today’s release of ArcPad 8.0 SP3) and we better see you at our 5th anniversary show this summer at the UC. Here is a few of our ArcPad run-ins

  • Episode 209
  • Episode 160
  • Special Episode 17