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Maps


— Mobile Technology

Navatar system could help the blind navigate indoors

When blind people are trying to navigate the city streets, they can get assistance from a speaking GPS-enabled smartphone, just like everyone else. Once they move indoors and lose access to the required satellite signals, however, it’s a different story. While there are some indoor navigation systems that require things like radio-frequency tags to be strategically placed around the building, it’s currently unrealistic to expect to find such systems installed in many places. The University of Nevada, Reno’s experimental new Navatar system, on the other hand, just requires a smartphone loaded up with a digital two-dimensional map of the building in question. Read More
— Good Thinking

Listen Here lets tourists eavesdrop on the city

Tourists want to experience the "sights and sounds" of everywhere they travel, but usually viewing the sights is much easier than hearing the sounds. It's one thing to look at the Statue of Liberty; it's quite another to be able to listen to the sounds around it. The UK designer behind the Listen Here concept would like to redress the balance by giving tourists a chance to hear audio from all over a town without having to actually go to each place. With microphones at different locations transmitting data to a central map, tourists would be able to simply point at a different and hear live ambient sound from all around a city. Read More
— Good Thinking

Smartphone app helps people with a disability access the city

How do you figure out how to pilot a wheelchair around your city? Around 10 percent or more of the population live with a disability, so chances are that you, or someone you know, has this problem. You can't be certain if wheelchair access is available unless you laboriously phone ahead to inquire for every route and every destination. Some web information is available, but knowing where to find it and what search strings to use can be a real challenge. Enter the Ldn Access smartphone app, that helps people with disabilities easily find where there are step-free access ramps, usable toilet facilities, and other services for the disabled. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Google Maps 6.0 for Android features indoor mapping

Google Maps is a great tool on-the-go, although it isn't very useful inside buildings ... well, at least it wasn't until now. Google has launched Google Maps 6.0 for Android devices which includes indoor plans of venues such as malls, retails stores, or airports. The user's current position inside a building is indicated in the same way as on the outside and it's also possible to switch between floors. Read More
— Computers

Google adds 3D Helicopter View to Google Maps

Those not content with a getting a 2D top-down or 360-degree street level view of a planned route using Google Maps can now enjoy a virtual flight over the route thanks to Google adding a new Helicopter View. The new feature, which currently only works in a full browser and requires the Google Earth plugin, lets users see 3D view, should come in particularly handy for walkers or bike riders looking for a more intuitive view of potentially tiring hills. Read More
— Bicycles

Tilting bike uses Google Maps to simulate riding in different parts of the world

Valuable a conditioning tool as stationary bikes are, any avid cyclist will tell you that they’re nowhere near as good as being out on the open road. One of the differences between real cycling and indoor training is the fact that when riders are on the road, the topography of the area determines the pedaling effort required. By contrast, when on a stationary bike, riders usually just vary their output as they feel like it. In an attempt to make indoor training more like the real thing, Pro-Form’s Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle lets users choose or create real-world routes using Google Maps, then adjusts the angle of the riding platform to replicate the experience of riding up and down those roads. Read More
— Science

Map provides near-real-time updates on Japan aftershocks

Almost incomprehensible as the devastation from last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been, scientists warn that more aftershocks are on their way. In order to get all the information on current seismic activity in one place, researchers at Texas Tech University’s Center for Geospatial Technologies have developed an online, publicly-accessible world map that displays data on disturbances worldwide, almost as soon as they have occurred. Read More
— Science

'Digital observatory' allows global information-sharing to protect biodiversity

Thousands of organizations around the world are working towards protection of ecosystems, yet the sharing of data is extremely limited and often localized – swathes of information that could be important are unknown, unpublicized and from a global perspective, wasted. The Digital Observatory for Protected Areas (DOPA), developed by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), could pave the way for a new era of understanding. It aims to bring together multidisciplinary data allowing researchers and decision-makers the means to assess, monitor and forecast protected areas globally. Read More
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