As you all know by now, I am a fan of Photosynth. Just a few days ago, the creator of Seadragon and co-creator of Photosynth, Blaise Aguera y Arcas gave a great presentation at TED 2010 and showed a demo of some new augmented reality type features being integrated into Bing Maps, including Indoor Panoramas (enhanced in the demo by the integration of real-time video that was embedded into the imagery – this cool augmented reality type functionality is still in the concept stage), Streetside Photos which mines geo-tagged Creative Commons photos from Flickr and incorporates them into Streetside, and finishing off with a demo of the integration of Worldwide Telescope that would allow the user to look up while in a street view and see the stars and constellations above them. Check out the video:
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
Before there was Avatar and even before Fisher-Price Viewmaster, there was stereoscopy or stereo photographs that presented scenes in life-like three dimensions similar to a Viewmaster. A recent book on one set of Stereoscopic photos of 1850′s village life titled “A Village Lost and Found”. It is a picture book that evokes the Victorian times of a specific village through a series of 3-D images meticously gathered over a lifetime of research. But one of the most fascinating aspects of the work is its relevance to geospatial and social networking technologies today. The authors, Brian May and spent years searching to determine if the village was a composite of multiple villages or a specific location, but it wasn’t until 2003 that they asked for help through the Interent community and someone responded with a, “Well, I live there” that it was solved. How many other geographical mysteries big and small have been solved or are waiting to be solved by the world’s increased connectivity?
As more and more mapping applications are being developed and releasing, we’re seeing a lot of innovative ways to utilize maps. Finding your way from point A to Point B, checking out real-time weather and traffic conditions, finding restaurants and services…. the list is getting longer every day. But one area that is still relatively untapped is mapping indoor spaces. One of the first applications I’ve seen is Micello’s new free iPhone application, which is now available for download from the iTunes store. Micello gave a preview of their indoor mapping app last fall, and generated quite a bit of buzz in tech news circles, and now the app is out in the wild. Most of the spaces included so far seem to be malls, but I’ve only had a little while to play with the app so far. Check out this preview of Micello Indoor Maps in action:
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.
As many of you know, I just love Photosynth, so naturally I had to post when I was catching up on tech news this afternoon and read about MySynths, a new Facebook application that lets you upload synths created in Photosynth to your Facebook Profile and display them on your Wall. Developed by speakTech, MySynths is a cloud application that uses Windows Azure cloud services operating system.
Of course I had to try MySynths out, so if you’re on Facebook, you can check out one of my synths uploaded via MySynths here
Jesse and I are on the road covering the Game Education Summit, but I wanted to take a quick minute and post this video preview of Layar, an Augmented Reality browser for Android phones and the new iPhone, developed by SPRXmobile. Layar uses GPS, compass (available with Android and soon to be available with the iPhone 3GS) and camera functionality to get a user’s location and then overlay information in real time. There are a number of projects that have been working with AR for awhile now, Layar will be one of the first, if not the first, to get an app out there in general release.
I was checking out my local news online just a few minutes ago, and a story popped up that our county (Monongalia County, WV) Office of Emergency Management has started up a Twitter feed. I of course immediately logged in to Twitter and am now of 12 Followers. The OEM hopes to use Twitter to notify people about public emergencies, weather alerts, etc. and they’ve already got a post warning about stormy weather this week.
I, for one, am actually more than a little surprised and impressed that at least some of our local officials are embracing social networking, but I’ll be curious to see if they really utilize it (and to see how many more people actually follow their Twitter feed once the word has a chance to spread)
What about you guys out there? Does your local government utilize social networking tools, location-based or otherwise, to help get information out to the public?
Switched online is reporting an article in the UK’s The Guardian that GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as 2010. They note that the Air Force maintains the satellite network and was supposed to launch the first replacement in 2007… which it promtly didn’t do. The satellites have been up there for up to 20 years, so they’re about due for a replacement. The Guardian is certainly targeted at a more general audience so it’s not suprising they’re missing some details. For instance, there are a LOT of GPS satellites up there, so the loss of a few isn’t the end of the technology. Also, the LANDSAT program proves that satellites are often built “like they use to” as the euphamism goes. Still, it’s a good reminder that a lot of the basic technology infrastructure on which we all rely needs to be maintained every bit as much as roads and bridges.