Human-computer interaction researcher Eelke Folmer of the University of Nevada, Reno, watches as Dora Uchel, a university student, demonstrates the indoor navigation system for the visually impaired developed by Kostas Bekris and Folmer of the Computer Science Engineering Department. She was one of several visually impaired students and community members who helped test the low-cost accessible system that operates with a standard smartphone. Both the researchers explained how a combination of human-computer interaction and motion-planning research was used to build a low-cost accessible navigation system, called Navatar, which can run on a standard smartphone.
The latest Apple iPhone will be the first among cellphone manufacturers outside Russia to use both the global navigation satellite systems – American GPS and Russian GLONASS. Russia is working on promoting the use of the GLONASS, an in order to do so it is planning to levy heavy import duties in the country on the Phones not using GLONASS.
The popular mapping service rolled out an update offering several additions including indoor walking directions, allowing users in the U.S. and Japan to use Google Maps to navigate inside malls and airports. The update comes in Google Maps 6.7 for Android.
More smartphone users are using locationbased services, according to a recent study by Pew Research. Almost 74 percent of smartphone users enable location-based services to get real-time information, with 18 percent using the technology to “check in” to share their location with friends. The number is a rise from 55 percent of American adults in 2011. The study suggests part of the reason for the jump in users is because of the increasing number of smartphone owners.
A lawsuit, filed in Federal Court in San Jose, California, demands USD 15 billion from Facebook for violating federal wiretap laws. The lawsuit combines 21 separate cases across the US in 2011 and early 2012. It’s an amended consolidated class-action complaint that claims the company is invading the privacy of its users by tracking them across the Internet.
Google will soon make public information about virtually every ship at sea, giving the current location and identity even of American warships highlighting a trend of great interest to the intelligence community and the military. “I think the macro level issue here is: Welcome to the new age of transparency,” said Keith Masback, president of the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. “Access to data from space-based and airborne commercial remote sensing from has become relatively ubiquitous; GPS is ubiquitous and the Chinese and Europeans are also launching their own PNT [positioning, navigation and timing] systems. This announcement by Google regarding ship tracking and collection of bathymetric data, along with the current discussion of the potential of proliferation of unmanned aerial systems in the skies over the US is the natural extension of the transparency we’ve seen coming for years.”
Like its nascent project to map the ocean floor, Google’s new technology to track ships on the surface takes advantage of prior investments by others. In this case, it is the Maritime Automatic Identification System, known as AIS, a system of transponders installed in all legitimate seagoing vessels that periodically transmit their position to avoid collisions even when the crews can’t physically see each other due to darkness or heavy weather.
Using home broadband routers, a new software developed at the UK-based University of Abertay Dundee can ‘ping’ thousands of addresses to check whether buildings are still standing. The system shows live data on ‘safe’ areas using Google Maps. Within seconds, any disaster can be detected, mapped and its progress tracked – and support efforts targeted to the areas in greatest need at any moment. The basic principle of the software prototype could also be applied to mobile phone networks, if an app was developed to support this. And as geolocation runs on satellites, the disaster tracking could remain accurate even as phone networks go down.
MapmyIndia in collaboration with Telenav, launched India’s first mobile app that offers house number search and navigation on iPhones. MapmyIndia Navigator by Telenav provides voiceguided turn-by-turn GPS navigation, moving maps and access to millions of places for easy search and discovery. All maps and places information within the app are cloud-based and always up to date.
Nokia’s navigation software division, Nokia, Location & Commerce (known as NAVTEQ before being acquired by Nokia for USD 8.1 billion) is working on a big plan to map the whole of India. “We already have covered 1.28 million km of road network with all the turns, roundabouts and flyovers. We have also mapped over 4000 cities, including rural areas, 6.25 million points of interest, which include offices, malls, schools, hospitals, bus stands, historical monuments, and so on” said Rajat Tandon, country director, sales, Nokia L&C. Market experts believe that the money spent on LBS in India is expected to be close to USD 165 million by 2014.