First, happy 2012 to everyone! :-)
Slashdot is running a discussion named Judge Doesn't Care About Supreme Court GPS Case.
Their summary: "The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not law enforcement needs a warrant before they put a GPS tracker on a person's car. A judge in St. Louis doesn't seem to care about that, though. He ruled last week (PDF) that the FBI didn't need a warrant to track the car of a state employee they suspected was collecting a paycheck without actually going to work. (Their suspicions were confirmed.) While in favor of corrupt government employees being caught, it's a bit disturbing that a federal judge would decide a warrant wasn't needed while the Supreme Court has said the issue is unclear."
Their summary: "The management company of both malls, Forest City Commercial Management, says personal data is not being tracked. 'We won't be looking at singular shoppers,' said Stephanie Shriver-Engdahl, vice president of digital strategy for Forest City. 'The system monitors patterns of movement. We can see, like migrating birds, where people are going to.' Still, the company is preemptively notifying customers by hanging small signs around the shopping centers. Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones."
Streamline Postal And Courier Services With Global Postal Codes
November 15, 2011, Toronto, Canada, NAC Geographic Products Inc. announced the release of NAC Sorter - a software module for mail sorting systems to sort all mail automatically from world level to final household mail boxes, thanks to the power of the Universal Address (also called the Global Postal Code).
Though it has been a long time effort of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to standardize mailing addresses for international mail, it has little success as traditional addresses evolved from history have deep roots in languages and cultures and are difficult to be translated into standard addresses in the UPU suggested formats, not to mention that 60% of the world population do not have addresses yet.These lead to limited automation in mail sorting and no postal and courier services to many households.
This situation now can be changed with the introduction of the Universal Address that can be used to globalize all addresses. The Universal Address is a highly efficient and human-friendly code mathematically equivalent to longitude/latitude coordinates and available at every location in the world, including locations of all houses, buildings and even temporary camps, and can be instantly obtained with a GPS device such as a smartphone or an online high resolution satellite image map such as NAC Locator. Here are some examples of the Universal Addresses:
NAC: JZ9G P9TP (Acropolis, Greece)
NAC: H5SX R497 (Arch of Triumph, Paris, France)
NAC: 9F3J L1PL (Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico)
NAC: GZM7 RKH3 (Buckingham Palace, UK)
NAC: 57WF NSBR (CACTUS Site, USA)
NAC: 8CHZ Q86C (CN Tower, Toronto, Canada)
NAC: J16W PZFH (Colosseum, Rome, Italy)
NAC: H5Q2 R48Q (Eiffel Tower, Paris, France)
NAC: SNZ PMK (Forbidden City, Beijing, China)
NAC: J3 RQ (Berlin, Germany)
Here NAC stands for Natural Area Code, a four character NAC represents a 30x24 square kilometer area like a city, a six character NAC represents roughly a square kilometer like a street block, an eight character one a 35x25 square meter area like a house and a ten character one is one square meter like a door anywhere on the earth. Since an eight or ten character NAC is able to uniquely specify a house or building anywhere in the world, it is also called a Universal Address.
Sorting mail based on the Universal Address is just a simple mathematical problem: finding the area containing the location of the Universal Address from a series of areas defined by the company according to its own transportation and delivery structure, which is independent from languages, cultures and the definition of the postal zones.
For countries with traditional addresses, the suggested globalized address is the traditional address embedded with the Universal Address, for example,
NAC: VM9F NX8Q
Thus, it avoids the difficult translation of the address so that people used to the tranditional address can still use it as usual, while machines, tourists and people unfamiliar with the language and the traditional address can use the language-independent digital Universal Address as it has a distinct format and can be easily recognized no matter where it is embedded in the address block.
For countries without traditional addresses, the globalized address can be the Universal Address only or the place names plus the Universal Address such as:
الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية
NAC: LVK1 M3D7
Then, all homes in the world have their own globalized addresses. With the globalized addresses on mail and parcels,
"The release of NAC Sorter represents another milestone in the digital and globalization revolution, " said Dr. Xinhang Shen, president of NAC Geographic Products Inc., "Postal and courier companies now can automatically sort all mail and parcels at all levels with the same algorithm based on the same kind of codes no matter where they are and no matter where the mail and parcels are sent to, eliminating barriers from hundreds of different languages, traditions, postal code systems of the addresses."
Actually, Universal Addresses can be used for all location related applications (postal and couriers services, taxi services, emergency services, maps, navigation, local search, travel guides, geographic information systems, cadastre, land planning, management of roadside objects, etc) with significantly improved efficiency, interoperability and reliability. For example, if you use the Universal Address instead of the traditional address to specify the destination on a navigation system, you can save 80% of key input, avoid difficulty in inputting foreign characters if it is a foreign address, eliminate errors from the outdated, duplicated or missing address and extend the navigation to locations without traditional addresses.
Currently, NAC Sorter is delivered as an ActiveX control for Microsoft Windows based mail sorting software and has been released to two major manufacturers for the integration with their mail sorting systems. We also welcome other manufacturers of mail sorting systems to do the integration to speed up the revolution of the postal and courier services in the world. The software module can be downloaded here. For more information about NAC Sorter, please check http://www.nacgeo.com/nacsorter.asp.
About NAC Geographic Products Inc.
Incorporated in 1995 in Toronto, Canada, NAC Geographic Products Inc. is a world's leading company in geographic technologies and geo-services, developing GIS/GPS software products and providing APIs for real-time geo-services (geocoding addresses, reverse-geocoding, mapping, routing, etc.) for web applications and wireless location based services, etc.
Mail Sorting, Postal Code, Postcode, Globap Postal Code, Universal Address, Natural Area Code, NAC, NAC Locator, Google Maps, Satellite Image Maps, Local Search, Navigation, Search Engine, Mapping, Street Address, Geocode, Geocoding, LBS, GPS, Location Based Service, Locating, Tracking, Searching, Wireless, Cellphone, Map Grid, Geography, Geographic Technology, Geographic Coordinates, Longitude, Latitude, Property Identifier, Emergency Service, 911
Discussed this afternoon over Slashdot, Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV.
Their summary: "As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear oral arguments in a case Tuesday that could determine if authorities can track U.S. citizens with GPS vehicle trackers without a warrant, a young man in California has come forward to Wired to reveal that he found not one but two different devices on his vehicle recently. The 25-year-old resident of San Jose, California, says he found the first one about three weeks ago on his Volvo SUV while visiting his mother in Modesto, about 80 miles northeast of San Jose. After contacting Wired and allowing a photographer to snap pictures of the device, it was swapped out and replaced with a second tracking device. A witness also reported seeing a strange man looking beneath the vehicle of the young man’s girlfriend while her car was parked at work, suggesting that a tracking device may have been retrieved from her car. Then things got really weird when police showed up during a Wired interview with the man."
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.'"
Here's the geospatial-related geonews discussed over Slashdot during the last two weeks, in batch mode:
Slashdot discusses a story named Australian Malls To Track Shoppers By Their Phones. That's not the first time we hear about such efforts.
Their summary: "Australian shopping centers will monitor customers' mobile phones to track how often they visit, which stores they like and how long they stay. One unnamed Queensland shopping center is next month due to become the first in the nation to install receivers that detect unique mobile phone radio frequency codes to pinpoint location within two meters."
Here's the recent geonews in batch mode. Some of those news seem important enough to deserve their own entries, but I dare share them in a single one. Yes, that's another unusually long post. Normal posting frequency should resume next February!
From the open source / open data front:
From the Esri front:
From the Google front:
From the Microsoft front:
In the miscellaneous category:
Slashdot discussed a few geospatial-related stories:
In the maps category:
In the coming days, I'll be at Géomatique 2011, the major geospatial event in the province of Québec. Slashgeo is a media partner of the event.
Here's the recent geonews in batch mode.
On the open source front:
On the Esri front:
In the everything-else category:
In the maps category:
Slashdot discusses another GPS tracking privacy story, this one called GPS Tracking of State Worker Raises Privacy Issues.
With this summary: "How far can state government go in keeping tabs on its employees? That's the question a mid-level appeals court will consider in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union against the state Labor Department, in the case of a fired state worker who was tracked with a GPS device that investigators secretly attached to his personal car. ... State officials tracked Cunningham's whereabouts by secretly attaching a GPS device to his BMW. The electronic tailing went beyond what would normally be termed Cunningham's work hours, since the device was on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They even tracked him on a multi-day family vacation."