See how London smells!
See how London smells!
Written by Matt Ball Published: 15 December 2015
In our regular end-of-the-year reflection, Sensors & Systems looks back over the past 12 months to come up with the top developments of 2015 that will have strong implications for geospatial industry growth and diversity in the coming years. Making the list are technology disruptions, acquisitions, modeling frameworks, mapping efforts and global change.
1. Google’s Mapping Effort Gets to Ten Years and Is Retooled — Early this year Google and their mapping efforts Google Maps and Google Earth eclipsed the ten-year mark. At the same time, they saw a number of high-profile mapping people leave and they decided to mothball their Google Earth Enterprise effort. The company has a lot of very interesting mapping assets however, and clearly mapping provides the platform for so much of what they do from local search to autonomous vehicles. We are watching and waiting for their next move.
2. Uber Acquires Map Talent — The international transportation network company, powered by a smartphone app and empowered by cloud-based technology, is hiring many mapping people. Uber hired Brian McClendon who ran Google’s mapping effort, and they recently hired Manik Bupta who had a product role at Google Maps. It will be interesting to see what technology comes from this mapping and transportation technology pairing.
3. Nokia Sells Here to Automobile Consortium — The sale of Nokia’s Here maps unit to the automaker consortium of Audi, BMW and Mercedes for $3 Billion, is another notable pairing of maps and transportation. The automakers relate the importance of precision maps for the future of mobility. The lidar sensors that Here has been using provide a very accurate map that we have yet to see in any sort of online mapping application. That may never be the end goal though as with this precision, they’re obviously interested for safety and navigation aspects of autonomous vehicles.
4. Significant Advancements in Virtual Reality — The emergence of high-resolution goggle-type headsets (Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s Hololens, among others) means that virtual reality is making leaps toward our living rooms. The likely first foray will be gaming and entertainment applications, but serious commercial platforms to extend virtual reality toward augmented reality are also coming online, such as the infrastructure-oriented DAQRI helmet. These empowering and immersive new devices will be huge consumers of maps and models, and it will be fascinating to see how they pair the two.
5. Smallsats Continue to Proliferate — The number of Silicon Valley-based smallsat providers just got bigger with the addition of Hera Systems. This newest player has plans for affordable high-resolution imagery with a constellation of nine one-meter resolution satellites in October 2016 with plans to expand to 48 satellites with imaging technology licensed from NASA. This joins Planet Labs and Google SkyBox as one more credible player that will drive down imagery cost and increase the exploitation of imagery insight, with a focus on information and analytics.
– See more at: https://www.sensorsandsystems.com/Top 15
Few weeks ago we reported about Apple secretly launching its own “Street View” mapping vans. In June Apple has brought to an end all the speculations and launched the official website devoted to Apple Maps vehicles. We can read there:
APPLE IS DRIVING VEHICLES AROUND THE WORLD TO COLLECT DATA WHICH WILL BE USED TO IMPROVE APPLE MAPS. SOME OF THIS DATA WILL BE PUBLISHED IN FUTURE APPLE MAPS UPDATES. WE ARE COMMITTED TO PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY WHILE COLLECTING THIS DATA. FOR EXAMPLE, WE WILL BLUR FACES AND LICENSE PLATES ON COLLECTED IMAGES PRIOR TO PUBLICATION.
There is also official schedule of where the cars will be headed over the next month (starting in the US, UK, and Ireland). But this is the news that you could find on every tech website. Here is what you could find out when reading between the lines.
The schedule gives us information about driving plan of the vans but based on it we can also estimate how many Apple vehicles are there. Looking at the initial schedule for June 2015 it seems that there is 1 van in Ireland, 4 in UK (London, East England, South East, West Midlands) and 13 in the US (Tucson, Oakland, Los Angeles, Orlando, Atlanta, Hawaii, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, St. Louis, New York City, Dallas, Fort Worth, Salt Lake City, Seattle). In total 18. In August we can observe increase in the fleet. Three more vans in France, Italy and Sweden, and 14 new vans in the US. It makes it 34 vans and counting. Not too many compared to hundreds of cars in the fleet of TomTom, HERE or Google but it’s a good start and it seems to be growing fast.
Green Technology Helping Map Marine World
by Ted Lund
Residents of the San Francisco Bay area are among the first to benefit from a new program launched with the help of Google, which is changing the way researchers map shorelines and the global sea level rise. But at first glance, it’s obvious the vessel doing the heavy lifting isn’t just any ordinary boat.
“It’s a Google Boat,” says staff scientist for the San Francisco Baykeeper organization, Ian Wren.
The small, remote-controlled catamaran has a number of unique features, including an adaptive hull design that flexes to provide ultimate stability, while utilizing Google’s proprietary camera system to create “bay-level” maps of the San Francisco area. And, it’s powered by the world’s leader in green propulsion systems, Torqeedo.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Hyatt Dulles, 2300 Dulles Corner, Blvd, Herndon, VA
This event is free for job seekers to find the employers that match their skills and dedication to the Defense, Intelligence, and Homeland Security communities.
Send your resume to JobFair@usgif.org for participating employers to review.
By Melanie D.G. Kaplan 2015 Issue 4 Trajectory Magazine
Mapbox is one of Washington’s fastest-growing geospatial companies. This summer, the company closed on $52 million of venture capital backing and now has more than 100 employees, 30 of whom are based in D.C. But locating the Mapbox office isn’t easy. It sits in an alley north of Logan Circle on the backside of bustling 14th Street, where employees go for freshly brewed filter-drip coffees at Peregrine and local beer at Batch 13.
Inside the former auto shop, dozens of bicycles compete for space on wall hooks, bare bulbs hang from the ceiling, and Herman Miller chairs roll around the concrete floor, catching occasionally on a manhole cover. The office is uncannily quiet as workers communicate through GitHub and Slack, standing or sitting at desks and tapping away on MacBook Pros.
The five-year-old, open-source startup builds maps for developers, including Foursquare and Pinterest, and recently partnered with MapQuest in an effort to overhaul the navigation company’s branding and product. Although the commercial market primarily drives the company, the value of its proximity to the federal government is significant.
“We’re working with federal agencies that are tackling some of the toughest and most complex geo problems in the world, like NGA mapping West Africa’s Ebola epidemic in real time or the U.S. Geological Survey finding better ways to serve terabytes of open imagery data,” said Matt Irwin, Mapbox’s government and humanitarian lead. “It’s a ton of fun to have someone from the government approach you and say, ‘We’re trying to solve X.’ These are massively compelling problems.”
– See more at: Startup Innovators