Here's the recent geonews in batch mode.
On the Apple front:
In the everything else category:
In the maps category:
Finalizing my geonews catching up, here's the recent Direction Magazine articles that I wanted to share with our readers.
Here's the recent Google-related geonews.
From official sources:
From other sources:
Two days ago (yes, I was busy) Slashdot discussed a story named Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google Chase 'Got Milk?' Patents.
Their summary: "Among the new iOS 5 features is Reminders, which Apple explains this way: 'Say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you'll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot.' But does Reminders infringe on a newly-granted patent to Amazon for Location Aware Reminders, which covers the use of location based reminders to remind a user 'to purchase certain items such as, for example, as milk, bread, and eggs'? Or could Reminders run afoul of Google's new patent for Geocoding Personal Information, which covers triggering a voice reminder or making a computing device vibrate when a user approaches a location if 'one of the user's events is a task to pick up milk and bread'? Not to be left out of the 'Got Milk?' patent race, Apple also has a patent pending for Computer Systems and Methods for Collecting, Associating, and/or Retrieving Data, which covers providing a reminder to a user whose 'to do' list includes 'get milk' when the user's location matches 'a store that sells the item "milk."'
That should not be confused with Microsoft's pending patent for Geographic Reminders, which allows users to specify reminders such as 'pick up milk if I am within a ten minutes drive of any grocery store.' That all four tech giants chose to pursue remember-the-milk patents — and the USPTO is considering and granting them — is all the more remarkable considering that Microsoft suggested location-based reminders were obvious in a 2005 patent filing, which informed the USPTO that 'a conventional reminder application may give the user relevant information at a given location, such as 'You're near a grocery store, and you need milk at home.' So much for that immediate patent quality improvement promised by the America Invents Act!"
You bet the patent system needs to be overhauled!
Discussed a few days ago over Slashdot, Iranian Police Tracking Dissidents Using Tech From Western Companies.
Their summary: "A recent article at Bloomberg discusses Western companies supplying monitoring equipment to Iran. There are few regulations restricting the sale of intelligence monitoring systems to the Iranian government, and large corporations like Ericsson and Nokia have supplied the equipment used to identify dissidents and suppress anti-government protests. '[One such system from Creativity Software] can record a person’s location every 15 seconds — eight times more frequently than a similar system the company sold in Yemen, according to company documents. A tool called "geofences" triggers an alarm when two targets come in close proximity to each other. The system also stores the data and can generate reports of a person's movements. A former Creativity Software manager said the Iran system was far more sophisticated than any other systems the company had sold in the Middle East.'"
We mentioned geofencing a few times (first time in 2005!) and in the past weeks during my leave, O'Reilly shared an article about geofencing named The rise of location-triggered offers, and summarized the introduction of geofences on Flickr.
From the first O'Reilly article: "To make these location-triggered offers, merchants need to delineate a "geofence" around their retail outlets — a radius or polygonal area in which customers who have opted into a deal program can be notified on their mobiles that an offer is available nearby."
From the Flickr announcement: "Today, we’re announcing Geofences, a new feature that will help you to better manage your geo privacy settings on Flickr. Geofences are special locations that deserve their own geo privacy settings. For example, you might want to create a geofence around the your “home” or “school” that only allows “Friends and Family” to see the location of the photos you geotag in that area. So the next time you upload a photo with a geotag in the radius of a geofence, it will follow the default geo privacy you’ve designated for that hotspot."
What is “geofencing” and what are its applications? On the first day of the Location Business Summit USA 2010 Tasso Roumeliotis, the CEO of Location Labs, presented a talk that provided the answers. Tasso wanted to explain that location-based services could be built around very practical applications like safety, security, and compliance. He gave a number of examples. Let me briefly describe three (3) examples from his talk.
Example 1: Verifying that a credit card purchase is taking place at the same location as the mobile device of the credit card user.
Example 2: Notifying a parent when a child’s mobile device has left the school grounds.
Example 3: Confirming that a user is within the State of Nevada before he is allowed to place a bet on his mobile device using a gambling application.
These examples help us understand the basic concept between “geofencing”. You set up a “fence” or boundary around a geographic area, and then make decisions (send user a notification or do not allow this action) based on the users location in relation to that fence. Another interesting point Tasso made in his talk was about the ability and importance of locating “dumb” phones, or phones without a GPS chip. He said this would include approximately 75% of the phones on the market in the United States. Sprint currently has an API that can be used to locate over 180 million phones without the need for a GPS chip. When I asked, Tasso explained that Sprint provides error information through its API when providing the API of a mobile device.
One thing I enjoyed about Tasso’s talk was the way he showed the practical application of location-based technologies. His company should be commended for finding ways to put this tech to work. Again, my concerns about spatial data accuracy were aroused. What happens when a user is in a town that straddles the California/Nevada border and wants to place a bet on his mobile phone? How is the geofencing application determining where the state border is? What was the source of their data? How accurate is the users current location as determined by the mobile device? Despite these concerns, this was a good talk.
The Sunburned Surveyor