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Mapping

Living remote-control cockroaches are now a thing. They actually exist. Besides wowing people and sparking ethics debates, however, the cyborg insects may ultimately have some very worthwhile applications. A team led by North Carolina State University's Dr. Edgar Lobaton has brought one of those applications a step closer to reality, by developing software that would allow "swarms" of the cockroaches to map hazardous environments such as collapsed buildings. Read More
Explorers have mapped the surface of the iconic Matterhorn painstakingly by foot, by satellite, and now by drone, thanks to a partnership between drone maker senseFly and nonprofit Drone Adventures. Launching a small squadron of eBee minidrones off the summit and sides of the famous Alps mountaintop, the mission tested the navigational abilities of the system and created a staggering data-rich 3D model. Read More
Smartphones have all but replaced standalone GPS units for basic car and foot navigation in cities and on highways, but without apps like the ViewRanger, they aren't equipped to guide you around forests, mountains and trails. The new Trimble TopoCharger brings another such app, along with a full set of topographical maps and a full-sized back-up battery. Pop this case on, and the iPhone transforms into an outdoor GPS. Read More
Last November, we heard about Lehmann Aviation’s LA100, a small and fully autonomous UAV designed to capture aerial images with a user-supplied GoPro camera. Now the French company is offering two new models that go farther and stay in the air longer. As with the LA100, both of the new models are designed for use by people with little or no remote piloting experience. Read More
While we’re seeing an increasing amount of aerial mapping being performed by purpose-built drone aircraft, a lot of people are no doubt still leery of remotely-piloting what is essentially a little airplane. With such people in mind, Canada’s Aeromao has recently released its Aeromapper X5. The drone is launched by hand, flies and takes photos autonomously, then parachutes back down to the ground. Read More
Creating a 3D map of a room could someday be as simple as randomly placing four microphones within the space, then snapping your fingers. Researchers from Switzerland’s EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) have recently done so on a limited scale, and are now excited about the technology’s possible applications. Read More
Mapping environmental threats in GPS-inaccessible locations – such as underground installations, or the passageways of ships – can certainly pose some challenges. While there are robotic systems that can do the job, robots aren’t necessarily the best choice for cramped quarters or uneven terrain. That’s why a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins University have developed the backpack-mounted Enhanced Mapping and Positioning System ... or EMAPS. Read More
In recent months, Google Maps has ramped up its cartographical efforts to provide more detailed maps of North Korea and take users to more exotic locations like snow-covered mountains and underwater coral reefs via Street View. Now thanks to the Trekker, Google's own backpack-mounted camera system, users can explore stunning 360-degree panoramic images on a virtual hike through the Grand Canyon. Read More
We tend to think of reason and emotion as being two different things, but it turns out that there may not be a choice between the heart and the head. A University of Illinois team, led by neuroscience professor Aron Barbey, has made the first detailed 3D map of emotional and general intelligence in the brain, that shows a strong overlap of general and emotional intelligence. Read More
Three years ago, Swiss sensor manufacturer senseFly released its Swinglet CAM unmanned aerial vehicle. Priced around US$10,600, the little aircraft can follow a pre-programmed flight path or be piloted by remote control, and uses its built-in 12-megapixel camera to create aerial maps, or keep tabs on things like wildlife, crops and traffic. Now, based on its experiences with the Swinglet CAM, senseFly is about to release a new UAV known as the eBee. Read More
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