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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Last week while the rest of the world was talking about the role of the iPad and other tablet/touch solutions, Adapx announced their newest hardware product, Capturx Mobile. You have probably seen our videos and discussions about how the Capturx pens capture data in the field using a unique pattern in the background of your printed map or form (Excel, OneNote, or PDF) and allow you to dock the pen when you return to the office and instantly add the stored data to the appropriate geodatabase or file.
Capturx Mobile is a bluetooth solution that allows users to save themselves a trip back to the office for the dock/sync by pairing the bluetooth enabled pen with a Blackberry or WinMo smart phone. The pairing allows the data to be captured by and sent through the phone’s cell network either as an email with attachment or synced to a SharePoint server. Just like the docked version of the software you get some metadata with the device including data, time and author stamps on the data and as with the docked version files associate themselves with the appropriate software when you open the attachment.
I am not sure what the bundle price is with the ArcGIS Desktop extension, but Capturx Mobile looks like it will offer a great field based experience and provide a better solution for those field workers who don’t return to the office often. It does away with the need to carry around a portable PC and pen dock for those who want a true field data solution since we all carry work phones anyway. Adapx has a couple of webinars highlighting Capturx Mobile in February if you want to find out more.
Augmented Reality is one of those cool tech innovations that has been tantalizing us for years as the “Next Big Thing”, but the immense challenges in conceptualizing and implementing AR design and technology mean that actual AR applications are still pretty few and far between. Some exciting projects are out there and we’ve mentioned several of the iPhone and mobile apps, like Layar, that are taking the handheld approach to AR. A cool project out of Japan, the N Building in Tokyo, takes mobile AR to the next level. The building’s whole facade is part of the AR experience, as the windows are QR codes that contain information about what’s inside the building. A user can stand outside and point their mobile device (with the appropriate app installed of course) at the N building, snap a picture of one or more of the windows, and find out what’s inside, get info and specials for stores, and even see who’s tweeting inside and what they saying! The N Building is a collaboration between Terradesign and Qosmo.