A California court made a ruling which pointed out that using maps or any mobile navigation while driving is not against the law.
The judge said that the statute was enacted in 2006 at a time when wireless telephones was just a telephone rather than an electronic device with multiple functions. Recently it was known that a driver was fined for $165 for using his mobile phone to navigate in heavy traffic. Though the driver was found guilty of violating the laws of the state of California, he made an appeal which worked in his favour.
Garmin is famous in the GPS world for making products ranging from navigation apps for smartphones to PND devices for cars and watches for athletes and outdoors types. Garmin has announced a new GPS watch that is aimed at athletes that like multiple sports. The new watch is called the fenix 2.
Garmin bills the watch as the ultimate multisport adventure watch and it has features for running, climbing, riding, hiking, skiing, and swimming. The watch is water resistant and can survive the outdoors. It features an altimeter, barometer, and a 3-axis compass.
It also provides GPS navigation for people when they are off the beaten path. It will store breadcrumbs to make sure you can find your way back when needed. The GPS functionality supports up to 10,000 track points and 1000 waypoints. Those GPS details can be shared with other Garmin devices via Bluetooth.
Today, Google has announced that it has added Japan's tallest mountain to its list of places you can visit using the company's Street View service. Yes, that's right, arm chair mountain climbers are now able to scale the heights of Fuji while never leaving the comfort of their air-conditioned office.
The addition of Mount Fuji to Google Street View comes shortly after the mountain was named an official World Heritage Site by UNESCO earlier this year. Officials expect record numbers of climbers to visit the mountain this year and Google agreed to help prepare those climbers by expanding its growing collection of panoramic imagery available in Street View.
Setsuo Murai, head of Geo Partnerships for Google Japan, wrote on the company's official blog:
The Street View collection covers the highly popular Yoshida trail that takes hikers up the mountain, the full walk around the crater at the top, and the quick zigzag descent. We hope these 14,000 panos of new imagery will give climbers a sense of the terrain to expect under their feet - especially all the night-time climbers who shuffle up in the dark to see the sunrise at the crack of dawn.
A team of Spanish researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed new technology that is capable of increasing GPS enabled devices accuracy by as much as 90 percent. The new system could be installed in car and smartphone GPS circuits for very little cost, too.
The team's findings were posted on the UC3M website, which explains that the team has been able to improve GPS precision by combining readings from several different sensors. The advance in precision is achieved by combining GPS signal with accelerometers and gyroscopes to better reduce the margin of error in location awareness.
This new technology has the potential to reduce the margin of error from 50 meters in urban areas to as little as two meters. Rural accuracy would also improve from about 15 meters to around two meters as well.
We'll put this in the bin of 'how the hell did that happen', but a 67-year-old woman has driven for 900 miles over a two-day period thanks to a GPS error, as well as her total lack of attention. The kicker? Her destination was just 90 miles away.
Sabine Moreau had planned to pick up her friend at a train station in Brussels, with her first step of the trip leaving her home town of Hainaut, Erquelinnes, Belgium. The train station was 93 miles north of her home town, so the GPS gets flicked on and directs her... south, instead of north. She listened to the GPS and started her turn-by-turn navigation trip down to Zagreb, Croatia.
What should've been a couple of hours in the car turned into a multi-day trip including gas stops, sleeping on the side of the road for a couple of hours and even a minor car accident. This all happened while she was none the wiser, where she has said:
I was distracted, so I kept driving. I saw all kinds of traffic signs, first in French, then German and finally in Croatian, but I kept driving because I was distracted. Suddenly I appeared in Zagreb and I realized I wasn't in Belgium anymore.
Microsoft have just updated Bing Maps, which now includes 215TB of high-resolution imagery covering most of the United States, as well as key locations within Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Tokyo. These new pictures, named Bird's Eye, were captured at a 45-degree angle to provide increased detail of buildings and landmarks.
Over on the Bing Maps blog, they point out that the new photos in the update cover over 230,000 square kilometers, and are made up from more than 1.1 million files. Bing Maps now covers a total of 1,388,593 square kilometers, which is good for 302TB of data. Bird's Eye maps use three different kinds of data. The first is native Bird's Eye scenes using photos captured at 45-degree angles. There's also Bird's Eye Oblique Mosaics, which are a group of aerial photos that have been stitched together.
The final type of data uses top-down photography that is projected onto a digital terrain or landscape, again, at a 45-degree angle. This is used to showcase topological depth perception when traditional aerial photography just isn't feasible.
Google have announced that their Street View team have been snapping a tonne of 360-degree imagery of notable locations in Antarctica, with some of this work being posted to the World Wonders Project website. Featured destinations include the South Pole Telescope, Shackleton's hut, Scott's hut, Cape Royds Adelie Penguin Rookery and the Ceremonial South Pole.
Google had already posted static photography imagery that was taken from Antarctica to Google Maps, back in 2010. But, these new photos combine high-resolution, panoramic imagery with the same camera panning, rotation and zooming features that people expect, and use from Google's Street View service. Google worked with the University of Minnesota's Polar Geospatial Center and the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust to bring these pictures to our screens.
The search giant claims that its altruistic goal is to provide scientists and students with the most accurate high-resolution data available for historic and notable locations in Antarctica. In order to snap these amazing shots, Google used portable cameras with fish-eye lenses, which is the type of equipment usually used for capturing virtual tours for real-estate agencies, and others. Usually Google would use trikes or vehicles mounted with 3D imaging systems.
All around the world, GPS is used by consumers, businesses, and everyone in between. Its used from simple a-to-b navigation from your phone, or car, and for industries like aviation, shipping, and many, many more.
The EU commission has estimated that from these various industries, that over £640 billion of the EU economy is reliant on GPS technology. Knowing this has created financial incentives and funding for alternative GPS technologies, which would be utilised in the event of natural causes such as a solar flare, or man-made causes such as a EMP bomb, war, or similar.
This is where UK defence firm, BAE Systems, has a possible solution: Navsop (Navigation Via Signals of Opportunity). Navsop relies on wireless signals from large comms networks, such as TV, mobile and radio antennas, which then determine locations based on direction and signal strength, with some of the frequencies capable of penetrating walls for indoor use.
Google Maps with traffic conditions is a great idea, especially if you're trying to get from A to B during rush-hour. But, the feature hasn't been made available across the world. Today, the team at Google Maps have made it available in 7 more counties: Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Mexico, Peru, Romania and South Africa.
The Maps team have also improved the traffic conditions feature, as well as added more roads in 19 counties and regions: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the UK. The Maps team has said:
For our new users, you can check traffic conditions by visiting maps.google.com and clicking on the traffic layer in the widget on the upper right-hand side of the map. This useful traffic information is also available on Google Maps for Mobile devices and Google Maps Navigation.
If the roads you are traveling do not yet show traffic information, don't despair. You can help your fellow drivers and improve traffic data by using Google Navigation or Google Maps for Mobile while traveling.
We hope the traffic feature in Google Maps will help more users around the globe to save time and patience by planning their trips accordingly.
Google are poised to launch their Street View service in Israel on April 22, where they've collected insane amounts of images from a number of major citiies, including the country's famous Dead Sea. The launch event is said to take place this Sunday, with a number of government officials set to join in on the unveiling, according to a report from Globes.
Authorities gave the green light to proceed with capturing images of the country on camera eight months ago, with the launch finally happening, this is a quick turn around of events. Street View Israel will include images of the streets of Jerusalem, Tal Aviv, Haifa, and other locations in the country including the Dead Sea, Kinneret (Israel's largest fresh water lake), and historic cities Nazareth and Mitzpe Ramon.
Negotiations with Israeli authorities took three months to conclude, with Israeli newspaper Haaretz reporting that authorities wanted guarantees that Google had an efficient and reliable way for residents to blur out personal information, including number plates and homes before the images for Street View were published online. On top of this, Google are required to manage any litigation resulting from the Street View servie in Israel, rather than in the US.
Google started a local presence within Thailand back in September, but have only just launched their Street View service over the weekend, with street level images now available in and around several Thai cities.
Google only days ago unleashed their virtual tour of the Amazon, but now Google users can check out the street level views of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the island of Phuket. Google's service is set to bust out of those boundaries, though, where it will include six more Thai cities, as well as Thailand's World Heritage cities.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand is also inviting people to nominate places or landmarks to appear in Google Street View. Thai tourist authorities are hoping to increase tourism with the new service, where they want to try and emulate the increased tourism that Pompeii, Italy experienced after rolling out Google Street View.
Microsoft have issued a patent, which is actually quite interesting. It's dubbed "pedestrian route production", which is known to us simple folk as walking directions, and it will automatically adjust the route for the unique conditions encountered by a person going from place to place on foot.
One of its unique features would help pedestrians navigate around, and not through, "unsafe neighborhoods", with the system taking into account violent crime data. The patent states that the system could "construct a direction set that allows the user to take paths that take him to his home in a quickest amount of time while keeping the user relatively safe (e.g., taking the user through neighborhoods with violent crime statistics below a certain threshold)."
The system would also be capable of taking into account user tolerance for unsafe neighborhoods based on past behavior, such as whether the person has "historically cared about safe neighborhoods."
China have been hard at work developing its own world-wide positioning system, where it hops to distance itself from foreign dependence and providing an alternative to the popular GPS. China have just announced that this month's satellite marks the first time their positioning network has started offering navigational data.
China have named their GPS-alternative "Beidou", which is a Chinese word which represents the constellation to English-speakers Westerners as the "Big Dipper" or the "Plough". Beidou currently sports 10 satellites but covers "only" most of continental Asia. Right now, the network is obviously less accurate than GPS, but they plan to close that gap with additional satellites.
There are plans from China to extend Beidou's orbital network to a total of 35 satellites by 2020. This will give Beidou the power of global coverage with GPS-like precision. Six of those satellites will be launched next year alone.
Police in Canberra suggest that their new point-to-point speed cameras be lined to unmanned aerial surveillance drones and used to track vehicles of interest to authorities. The first of the cameras will sport automated number plate recognition technology to calculate a car's average speed and whether it is within the legal limit, are due to hit the skies by the end of the year. Of course, with unmanned drones flying through the skies, they can be used for other tasks not linked to tracking cars.
Minutes from a Government point-to-point steering committee meeting held in June 2010 show that police recommended a broader range of uses for the cameras. According to the minutes which were obtained by the Opposition under the Freedom of Information Act, a senior police officer said the cameras could be used for other purposes. The minutes stated:
He noted that the use of P2P ANPR cameras to detect unregistered, stolen and other vehicles of interest would provide ongoing and longer term benefits for the project. a specific benefit would derive if the P2P cameras were linked to UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] which could track vehicles of interest.
Google have just announced the Google Maps Navigation (Beta) which now has the ability to automatically route you around traffic. With more than 35 million miles driven by Navigation users every day - this should save quite a few people, quite a lot of time.
There's nothing extra a Navigation user has to do, just enter in your destination and instead of Navigation automatically choosing the route that was fastest (without taking current traffic conditions into account), Navigation will now use Google's routing algorithms to current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates.
Google has released Google Earth 6, with it comes a variety of upgrades and improvements. Most important is Street View is now deeply integrated into Google Earth which allows users to fly from space to whichever street Google has Street View imagery of.
In order to do this, pickup the Pegman icon docked right next to the navigation controls and drop Pegman wherever you see a blue-highlighted road.
Google has confirmed that it's Street View program has stopped operations in Australia - in the wake of it's Wi-Fi data collection controversy earlier in the year.
Google revealed the news at a Senate inquiry into the practice of protecting the privacy of Australians online - with Google admitting it had indeed "mistakenly" collected data from home networks via it's Street View cars - noting that private emails, web addresses and even passwords were among the data collected.
Over 2,000 people voted on our previous poll and we asked where you are located.
We thought it would be pretty interesting for you guys, our readers, to gain a better understand of where your fellow reader comes from in this big bad planet of ours, or universe in the case of some - it seems.
Well, the results are in. 38% of you are from the European continent and you represent the biggest readership according to this poll. Next up North America takes second place with 22% of the votes followed by "Somewhere other than Earth" with 13% of the votes - hello ET and friends!
For the actual numbers, go here. In our latest poll, we want to know, are you going to buy Microsoft Kinect? Let us know! Please go here to vote!
Discovering new places and local spots has gotten a lot easier with Google's new Place Search. While lots of searches can give you millions of useless links, Google is personalizing the search experience even more that gives you reviews, information, and mapped out locations of places that may tickle your fancy.
Places can be activated through the left side taskbar or is also automatically used if Google decides your search for "Boston Pizza Places" would make Place Search more useful than a normal googling. The goal is to reduce the amount of searches required to get local information.
Despite all the heat Google has taken for Street View in many countries for things like invading privacy and stealing WiFi data, the service is cool. My town has very limited coverage when it comes to Street View, but the coverage it has comes in very handy when I want to see what a place really looks like if I am not sure where it is.
There are many other cities around the country that are lacking coverage altogether. Despite some holes in the US, Google has announced that Street View is now available for Antarctica. The catch is that the coldest continent has no actual streets so its more like Google Walk View. The new coverage along with coverage for Brazil and Ireland means that Street View is now available for all seven continents.
George Lucas has pimped out my childhood heroes from Star Wars to some crap products over the years, but the latest pimpage with TomTom for voice packs is very cool. I don't even own a TomTom GPS device and I want one just so I can get this Yoda voce pack.
A video commercial behind the scenes look at the recoding of the voice direction is posted on YouTube. This has to be one of the best commercials I have ever seen. The recording tech at one point tells Yoda, "You're gonna kill people if you give directions like that."