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Points of Interest: April 12, 2004

Quote of the Week. "In-car systems are doomed, in much the same way car phones were doomed once mobile phones became small enough to carry." So says Mike Langberg
of the San Jose Mercury News after using Televigation's TeleNav routing. Starting at just $5.99 a month, the writer found it worked just fine. But the required materials are still a bit complex to acquire: "Nextel phone with built-in GPS and the Java operating system. There are about a half-dozen models that meet these criteria� TeleNav's software [and a subscription] to Nextel's Total Connect data service." By the way, one of TeleNav's partners told me a few weeks ago he had his money on this as the killer app. Stay tuned!

DigitalGlobe Imagery Via GlobeXplorer. DigitalGlobe and GlobeXplorer LLC, a subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. signed an agreement to make QuickBird high-resolution satellite imagery available to customers through GlobeXplorer's Internet server technology. The imagery covers U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), and most international cities.

A Better Locating Technology? We all know the problems with GPS and cell network locating techniques: they are not too accurate and certainly can't tell which way you are facing. But a technique now under development can, so long as your phone has a camera and you are in Cambridge, UK. Two researchers at the University of Cambridge are developing a system that will determine your position based on a photo you send of a building. A server will host images of all the buildings in Cambridge, and, adjusting for angle, time of day and other features (like dogs and cars) in the image, will match it up. Then, the idea is, the system not only locates you with a high degree of certainty, it can begin giving you specific directions ("turn right") that other systems cannot. As an aid, the system will get a little locational "head start" help from the cell tower which delivers the messages. The ultimate use of the technique is unknown, but researchers have a funding for a prototype for the city. Reader Atanas sent on the link.

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