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Mapping

UC Berkeley's laser-scanning backpack creates 3D models of buildings, on the fly

Currently, if people wish to obtain a 3D model of an indoor environment, they have to send in a laser-scanning robot or cart that painstakingly makes its way through in a stop-and-start fashion. Depending on the setting, the process can take days or even weeks. Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley, however, have developed a portable laser-scanning backpack that can map an area in the time that it takes for its human wearer to walk through. The project was funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Army Research Office, and could be used by military personnel to plan missions into mapped target buildings.  Read More

The panoramas that users can 'slide' along in Microsoft's Street Slide (Image: Microsoft R...

Users of Google Street View and Bing Maps Streetside will be familiar with the stop-start effect as they navigate along a street. This is because as the user moves along the street the viewpoint jumps from one discreet 360-degree panorama, or ‘bubble’, to the next . A new street-level imaging system developed by Microsoft called Street Slide allows users to smoothly navigate along a street by creating a seamless transition between bubbles using multiperspective strip panoramas that provide an overview of the street.  Read More

The Urban Forest Map relies on community contributions to build information sharing, and c...

How do we get a good picture of what trees are where, how they are affecting or contributing to the environment, and what problems they might be susceptible to in today's changing world? The main problem with recording this vital information is (to borrow a line) “tree people like planting trees, they don't like entering data.” So why not throw the task open to the local community? The Urban Forest Map is a one-stop repository using information contributed from any willing group or individual and aims to engage community participation to build a complete, dynamic picture of the urban forest.  Read More

Users of the TamTam flash concept would be offered either a turn by turn navigation or a f...

The TamTam Flash concept GPS torch is both a familiar looking and new technology in a number of ways. It resembles an ordinary flashlight and its name sounds an awful lot like TomTom, which neatly links to the fact that the concept torch is actually a GPS mapping device that gives its user the option of either a street map view or a turn by turn guided navigation projected onto a surface.  Read More

Berlin in the present day

When reconnaissance pilots brought back precious surveillance photos during World War II (WWII) they could not have imagined that they would one day be comparable with the cityscape seen from satellite 50 years into the future, and available around the world at the touch of a button. Google has made this possible with new functionality for Google Earth - historical WWII imagery - giving people a unique opportunity to see the effect of past events using today's mapping technology.  Read More

Interpolated geolocation tracks of 11 Arctic terns tracked from breeding colonies in Green...

It’s official: the Arctic tern has the longest migration of any animal in the world. The Arctic Tern Migration Project recently discovered that the tern flies over 70,000 kilometers (43,496 miles) annually, from its breeding grounds in the Arctic to its winter quarters in the Antarctic. That distance is more than twice what was previously estimated. Over the lifetime of one bird, it travels approximately 2.4 million kilometers, the equivalent of three trips to the moon and back. For a bird that weighs just over 100 grams (3.5 ounces), that’s fairly impressive.  Read More

A simple two icon start screen should make navigating even easier

TomTom's EASE is the latest addition to its satellite navigation family and brings all the functionality, ease of use and practicality of its siblings at a fraction of the cost. Launched at CES in Las Vegas this week, the EASE blends a simple two icon interface menu, an integrated fold-away mount and the company's proprietary Map Share and IQ Routes - all for around a hundred US dollars.  Read More

The dulcet tones of Homer Simpson are ready to guide you to the nearest donut shop

While the Knight Rider GPS by Mio lets drivers live out their boyhood fantasies, it may also bring on a slight superiority complex thanks to the refined tones of William Daniels. TomTom users won’t have that problem now that iconic cartoon everyman Homer Simpson is onboard to guide them to the nearest bar or donut shop.  Read More

Squad positioning system helps fight fires and save lives

Student designer Roy Hareguina's "Squad" is a compact indoor positioning system that enables fire fighters, even in dense smoke, to know their exact location and that of their colleagues at all times. Using a dual-mapping system, the tough polyetheretherketone (PEEK) units reduce the danger of separation and disorientation in high-rise buildings, and increase a fire fighter’s ability to save lives.  Read More

The Sentience hybrid test vehicle

The driverless car of the future is getting closer every day, as more and more technologies come along that take critical jobs away from the driver and put them in the hands of lightning-fast, all-seeing computers. One of the latest and most ambitious of these systems has just been successfully demonstrated in the UK; the Sentience system is a kind of hyper-intelligent cruise control system designed specifically to minimize fuel consumption and emissions. It calculates the best route for you based on traffic, topography, curves, speed limits and a host of other information, and then actually takes over the throttle and brakes for you for the entire journey. It keeps you strictly within speed limits, slows down for corners, speed bumps and roundabouts, and it even knows when the lights ahead are about to turn red, so you don't waste petrol accelerating towards a stop point. Fuel savings in testing have been between 5% and 24% - a very significant figure - and Sentience is expected to be available on production cars, for a minimal cost, as soon as 2012. Incredible stuff.  Read More

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