GeoTours Premium

Monday, 7 January 2008

Geovative Solutions

According to GPS World Geovative Solutions launched a premium service for destination marketing:

“Geovative’s GeoTours Premium was designed specifically for destination marketing organizations, the company said. ‘It’s basically for any organization that wants to attract people to their location in a unique fashion,’ said Scott Rock, co-founder of Geovative.”

At Geovative.com you can “create ‘tours’, or groupings of locations on a map, and add text, images, or audio files to each location. Tours can be shared with anyone across the world through GeoTours Xchange. If you prefer seeing things in person, you can download tours to a supported GPS device through GeoTours On the Go.”

The Premium service allows “you to create personalized Mini-Sites, add tours to your own web page using Tour Widgets, and view detailed statistics and graphs about your tours. Plus, GeoTours Premium is ad-free and you get 10 times the normal storage space! GeoTours Premium is a subscription-based service, but there’s also a free 1-month trial available.”

http://www.geovative.com/blog/2007/11/introducing-geotours-premium.htm

Via GPS World.


Loca: Set To Discoverable (2006ff.)

Sunday, 6 January 2008


(Film: Drew Hemment, 2007)

About: “Loca is an artist-led project on grass-roots, pervasive surveillance by John Evans (UK/Finland), Drew Hemment (UK), Theo Humphries (UK), Mike Raento (Finland).”

History: ” The premier full presentation of Loca: Set To Discoverable at ISEA2006 and ZeroOne in August 2006 combined art installation, software engineering, activism, pervasive design, hardware hacking, SMS poetry, sticker art and ambient performance.”

Setting: “Deploying a cluster of interconnected, self-sufficient Bluetooth nodes across downtown San Jose, the Loca art group were able to track and communicate with the residents of San Jose via their cellphone without their permission or knowledge, so long as they had a Bluetooth device set to discoverable. Over 7 days more than two thousand five hundred people were detected more than half a million (500,000) times by the Loca node network, enabling the team to build up a detailed picture of their movements. People were sent messages from a stranger with intimate knowledge of their movements. Over the course of the week the tone of the messages changed, “coffee later?” changing to “r u ignoring me?”

Why? “Pervasive surveillance is potentially both sinister and positive at the same time. New ways of organising media and of communicating with each other become possible when the context of the media and the user is known. But also as a consequence ever more can be surveilled and ultimately controlled. Loca examines what happens when it is easy for everyone to track everyone, when surveillance can be affected by consumer level technology within peer-to-peer networks, without collapsing this ambiguity. It is an experiment that does not either blindly celebrate the technology, or claim that the technology is inherently bad. It aims to raise awareness of the networks we inhabit, to provoke people into questioning them, and help people equip themselves to deal with the ambiguity of pervasive media environments.”

http://www.loca-lab.org/


Garmin with GPS Gaming

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Garmin ColoradoGarmin introduced (2008-01-03) the Colorado series – “handheld GPS devices for outdoor, marine and fitness enthusiasts” – geocaching is part of the game:

“Colorado users will be the first to experience WherigoTM, the newest GPS-based activity from Groundspeak, the people who made geocaching a worldwide phenomenon. Wherigo (pronounced ‘where I go’) is a toolset for creating and playing location-based multimedia experiences in the real world. Using the Wherigo platform, Wherigo authors can build exciting adventure games, historical tours or other innovative activities. Wherigo players use the Colorado or other GPS device running the Wherigo Player application to visit physical locations, use virtual items, interact with virtual characters and solve real world puzzles. Garmin and Groundspeak will host special events to teach people more about Wherigo and let them experience it for themselves. Also, a limited-edition geocoin has been minted to commemorate the launch of Colorado and Wherigo. Details on the Wherigo experience, events and geocoins can be found at www.garmin.blogs.com and www.wherigo.com. And geocaching just got easier with the Colorado, which quickly downloads online information for every cache, such as location, terrain, difficulty, hints and description, so that you don’t have tote printouts with you.”

http://www.garmin.com/pressroom/outdoor/010308b.html

(Picture: Garmin)


Location-based privacy

Friday, 4 January 2008

Privacy International“The 2007 International Privacy Ranking” was published last week by the London-based human rights group “Privacy International“. The group works as a “a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations”. Key findings of the survey

Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007:

  • The 2007 rankings indicate an overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance o privacy safeguards.
  • Concern over immigration and border control dominated the world agenda in 2007. Countries have moved swiftly to implement database, identity and fingerprinting systems, often without regard to the privacy implications for their own citizens
  • The 2007 rankings show an increasing trend amongst governments to archive data on the geographic, communications and financial records of all their citizens and residents. This trend leads to the conclusion that all citizens, regardless of legal status, are under suspicion.
  • The privacy trends have been fueled by the emergence of a profitable surveillance industry dominated by global IT companies and the creation of numerous international treaties that frequently operate outside judicial or democratic processes.
  • Despite political shifts in the US Congress, surveillance initiatives in the US continue to expand, affecting visitors and citizens alike.
  • Surveillance initiatives initiated by Brussels have caused a substantial decline in privacy across Europe, eroding protections even in those countries that have shown a traditionally high regard for privacy.
  • The privacy performance of older democracies in Europe is generally failing, while the performance of newer democracies is becoming generally stronger.
  • The lowest ranking countries in the survey continue to be Malaysia, Russia and China. The highest-ranking countries in 2007 are Greece, Romania and Canada.
  • The 2006 leader, Germany, slipped significantly in the 2007 rankings, dropping from 1st to 7th place behind Portugal and Slovenia.
  • In terms of statutory protections and privacy enforcement, the US is the worst ranking country in the democratic world. In terms of overall privacy protection the United States has performed very poorly, being out-ranked by both India and the Philippines and falling into the “black” category, denoting endemic surveillance.
  • The worst ranking EU country is the United Kingdom, which again fell into the “black” category along with Russia and Singapore. However for the first time Scotland has been given its own ranking score and performed significantly better than England & Wales.
  • Argentina scored higher than 18 of the 27 EU countries.
  • Australia ranks higher than Slovakia but lower than South Africa and New Zealand.”

Via Boing Boing


Open-source autopilot for model aircrafts

Friday, 4 January 2008

Paparazzi
Paparazzi is an autopilot system for model aircrafts, developed as an open-source hardware and software project by the Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC), Toulouse, France. The low-cost GPS solution was demonstrated at the 24th Chaos Communication Congress, which took place at Berlin last week. Via golem.de