Offline Navigation Added to Google Maps

That frustrating moment as you’re about to depart, when for some reason your phone decides to drop it’s network connection. Suddenly you better hope you know where you’re going, because Google Maps will leave you high and dry as you desperately try to get it to give you a route. From today, no more.

A long time in the coming, from Google’s promise of the feature back in May, the popular map and route-finding software will now be full-featured even when offline. And while some may argue that Google Maps has had offline functionality for a long time, with the ability to save maps locally, this feature was severely limited, offering no route-finding or navigation. Essentially just a plain digital map. This new update to Google Maps fills in all the functional blanks that have been missing since. Searching, routing, turn-by-turn vocal navigation and even basic information on businesses will now be available on saved maps while offline.

In order to make use of these new features, you must first download the map data to your device. Maps allows you to download maps on three scales, country, county or city, or the option to download a specific area from the offline areas menu. After downloading the maps for an area, you’re good to go. Maps handles hot-swapping between the downloaded map and using the network connection behind the scenes, aiming to make the experience seamless as you travel in and out of signal. The only thing offline maps can’t do is live traffic, for obvious reasons.

Having suffered frustration due to the whims of my mobile network provider when trying to travel personally, I highly welcome this change. How do you feel, a long overdue must-have, or simply nice to have?

Google Maps For Android Showing Pit Stops En Route

Getting from A to B has always been an everyday thing, from the front door of your home to school or work and sometimes it goes a little further, say across the country? For those times, and some shorter journeys too, people have used navigation software like that found on your sat nav’s and even on your smartphones. Google has been keen on making their navigation software both practical and useful by adding features such as alternative routes and traffic warnings, now you may find that a quick stop for lunch is even easier with an upcoming update to the Android app.

Available in an upcoming release for the American version of the android app, by selecting “search along route” people are able to track down gas, restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores, while the ability to also “search for more places” means that you are not limited to these choices and could soon find your favourite restaurant to stop for a quick bite while on that little drive.

With all these features and an added bonus of being able to see the closing times of gas stations, users could soon find their Google maps being a little more useful in the near future. Hopefully, their European version of this update will be released soon, giving us just another reason to take that long holiday we’ve been asking for.

 

First Detailed Public Map of the U.S. Internet Infrastructure Released

The location of major cables has always been a secret, but now researchers hope that the knowledge of it will spark thoughts on how to keep it safe.

The Internet is a major part of people’s lives, in a forever changing world. It’s hard to think of as a whole entity yet it is possible to map the entire thing. Computer scientists at the University of Wisconsin have proved so by releasing the first map of the infrastructure that supports the heart of the US internet. It took Paul Barford and his colleagues four years to produce the map.

Barford told Smithsonianmag:

“The map shows the paths taken by the long-distance fiber-optic cables that carry Internet data across the continental U.S. The exact routes of those cables, which belong to major telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Level 3, have not been previously publicly viewable, despite the fact that they are effectively critical public infrastructure”

There may well be other maps in existence, yet none are in the public domain. Many attempts in the past have been deemed as illegal and a security risk. However, the map has been allowed because homeland security has made the map, the data being available to the public via a project dubbed as “Predict”

This is the map, the black lines are the cables. Red boxes represent where they connect to each other.

Thank you to smithsonianmag for providing us with this information. 

Pictures courtesy of virtuallyfromscratch 

Eating an Epic Meal? Google Wants to Share your Experience

Google wants to know anything and everything about our lives, from knowing where we live by accidentally searching more than 3 times to your home address or predicting the calories in your food. Well, now the information super giant wants your photos of food while you are dining out, or if you’ve just made something that looks good.

In recent years, Instagram users have taken pictures of their food and applied all manners of filters to show off the fact they’re eating out and you’re not and don’t lie, you’ve done it at one point too. Deep down you know that was shameful and people looked at you, but now Google wants those pictures too so you have a reason.

The feature, dubbed “Photo Notifications”, is only currently available to high-ranking members of the Google Maps “Local Guides” community. It works by scanning your pictures for identifiable food and requests for them to be uploaded to a central server and load them onto Google Maps for others to view.

This move could be another step towards Google becoming the ‘One Stop Shop’ for all of your information needs (if it already isn’t). Will you be interested in uploading your meals to the cause or would you use the system yourself to check out the quality of the food? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to Android Police for providing us with this information.

Parts Of The UK Recreated In Minecraft By Geologists

For many years computer games have been viewed as mindless entertainment and have not received the recognition they have deserved, then games companies hit the mainstream with success stories which catapulted the genre and allowed increased revenue onto new heights. Now the games industry is being used as a tool for learning within surprising new quarters, with the news that hugely popular game Minecraft has been adapted by government backed-British Geological Survey.

By using the Ordnance topographic maps and the British Geological Surveys own data about what lies beneath the surface, this has allowed West Thurrock, York and Ingleborough to be re-created using this technique. To achieve even greater authenticity, the Geological Survey team used blocks which best resembled the ‘real’ geology. The factors which influenced this decision were based on colour, texture and hardness, for the three-dimensional models, they decided to use glass blocks which implemented the texture of their traditional geology map colours.

It’s fascinating and yes I do have a life, to view what for example, the city of York, images below looks like with Geology before the topography is overlaid onto the map. The team have also developed models which include the key map features above ground, such as roads and buildings, the player or explorer has the ability to roam the landscape.

The website also supplies full instructions of how to download and explore all three locations, yes it may not be GTA, but it will certainly attract new audiences to the work of these projects with the aim to garner interest in Geology for today’s tech world. This will not be headline grabbing and you probably won’t see many traditional news outlets covering this story, as the media would rather paint gamers as level 5 shooters in public places.

Thank You British Geological Survey for providing us with this fascinating information

German Car Manufacturers Nokia Maps Bid Reaches Stalemate

Nokia’s “HERE” mapping technology is an attractive proposition for car makers looking to enhance the GPS functionality in future models. A number of Germany’s leading vehicle manufacturers have shown a keen interest and joined forces to make a bid for the company’s map software. However, talks between Nokia and BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen have become fractured on the basis of the technology’s value. The “HERE” software is valued between £1-3 billion but this estimated figure might have decreased if recent reports are correct about Uber pulling out of the bidding process.

The consortium of German vehicle makers feel they can acquire the company assets at a lower cost given this evidence whilst Nokia believes the £1-3 billion rate is fair. An anonymous, insider source said,

“Talks have not broken down, but they are at a delicate stage of brinkmanship,”

It’s also important to reiterate that these car manufacturers are customers of the “HERE” system and it makes sense to sell the mapping software to an existing client. They feel the technology is vital to provide accurate high-definition maps and create a form of smart cars based on internet connectivity. Furthermore, the software could be used in luxurious vehicles to warn of impending collisions, and become one of the first mass-produced driverless cars on the market.

A spokesperson from Nokia declined to comment on existing business negotiations. However, the most likely outcome is a compromise between the German car manufacturers and Nokia.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

Uber Accquires Bing Mapping Assets and 100 Engineers from Microsoft

Car-hailing firm Uber is making big strides into the mapping market, acquiring mapping data as well as about 100 image-collection engineers from Microsoft. Uber has been looking to making their mobile app better, mainly in the area of better maps to bring drivers and riders together. While companies transferring data and technology isn’t something new, the movement of about 100 engineers is rare.

With such a large movement of engineers, it looks like Uber actually may have acquired a Bing mapping division or some part of it at least. What is most surprising though isn’t that Uber wanted the data and engineers, but that Microsoft was willing to part with them. Microsoft has spent a lot of money trying to build up their Bing search and mapping platforms and divesting itself of this many experienced engineers is not a sign of confidence.

both Uber and Microsoft are facing tough times ahead of them. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about making tough choices in the near future and getting out of fringe markets not core to the business. Uber is also facing push back to its business model, mainly from taxi organizations and just had two senior officers arrested in France. It will be interesting to see both firms move on from this technology and personnel transfer.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information.

Apple Reveals Purpose of Camera Vans in California

Have you seen those mysterious Apple vans cruising around the California area? The camera-equipped vans have been the focus of speculation for a while now. Are they for mapping, self-driving cars, or perhaps something else altogether? If you guessed mapping, give yourself a cookie!

Apple has revealed their vans are gathering images and data for use in an Apple street mapping app. The vehicles are set to take street-level images and data for Apple Maps for both iOS and OS X, as an obvious direct competitor to Google Maps and their Street View service.

“We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data,” Apple said in the notice. “For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.”

While this doesn’t have anything to do with self-driving cars right now, it would come as no surprise if Apple also plan to use the data they gather for their self-driving car technology, much in the same way Google has done, but for now, it seems this will be limited to the mapping service. Can they really compete with Google Street View? That remains to be seen, but for Apple users, any improvement to the mapping services offered is no bad thing.

Apple’s mapping vans are set to hit the streets of Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Texas, Utah, and Washington State. In the UK, Essex, Greater London, Kent, and Birmingham. Finally, in Ireland, the greater Dublin area.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.

Apple Announces iOS 9

Apple has just announced their next version of iOS called iOS 9 (what a surprise!). With the latest version of the smartphone OS; Apple are focusing on making it a more clever operating system, starting  off with a major upgrade to Siri. Siri will have a feature called Proactive that can offer awesome new features like application suggestions and even more. Of course, this depends on contexts such as time of day or location. Proactive allows Siri to see what apps you have on your phone and suggest useful ones based on what you’re trying to do. Apple is also saying that Siri can even look into your inbox to ID incoming calls that aren’t in your address book. All of this is wrapped into a new user interface for Spotlight.

iOS 9 also introduces deep linking within these searches, letting you access content inside apps whenever you do a system-wide search, instead of just opening the app’s main page. Spotlight also can do unit conversions without opening a web search, something that Siri has done for a while, but now queries can be typed in addition to spoken. Apple says that all of this new intelligent processing happens on the phone itself, meaning your data isn’t being sent to a server in the cloud. It’s a different stance than Google or Microsoft take, which leverage cloud processing to power their virtual assistants on Android and Windows Phone. Of course, this may mean that you will be able to use some basic features whilst offline.

Apple Pay is also due to launch in the UK and will be compatible with more banks and credit card providers. They’re even going to kill the passbook name and replace it with an application called Wallet which will be able to integrate with credit cards, debit cards and more all in one place.

Apple also plans to update their much-slated Map application including support for trains, buses and subways. It will be launching in more than 20 cities, including London.

Are you Apple fans excited?

Thank you to TheVerge and The TeleGraph for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Apple

Traffic Alerts and Alternate Routes Now Available in Google Maps

If you are planning to take a trip in the near future or are already on the road, you might consider taking a look at what Google Maps has to offer. The search giant has just updated its maps app with a new traffic alert and alternate route feature.

The new features will aid users on the road by providing some more details and alerts for unusual traffic conditions, road congestions, and even suggestions for alternate paths to take. But lets expand a bit more on that. Once you enter a destination, the app can now work solutions around roadblocks and warn you of upcoming congestions.

To make it easier, once the app knows you are heading towards heavy traffic, it automatically offers some alternatives to save you some time. If you still choose to go and stay in line with the others trapped in traffic, the app will also offer you an estimated time you will be stuck there. The latter might be neat, but why get stuck in traffic in the first place?

While the above might seem something that you see in most apps today, there’s still a key feature that makes it stand out. Aside from the alerts and suggestions, the Google Maps app will now tell you a ‘why’. By that I mean that the app will tell you why the road ahead is blocked or why it decided to give you this alternative route and not another one. Pretty neat, huh?

Thank you SlashGear for providing us with this information

Apple Might Add Transit Maps in iOS 9

Since Google was dropped as the official provider of map data, Apple hasn’t been able to provide users with any Transit data. Word is that the Transit system should have been added in iOS 8 last year, but it was eventually cut shortly before WWDC 2014.

The Transit service is said to give users the ability to navigate bus, subway and train routes from the official Maps app, similar to what other map apps have built into their features. In addition to the latter, Apple is said to alter the icon size inside Maps for users to easily spot airports, subway and train stations.

Apple was faced with a lot of problems regarding the data and small coverage for the Transit feature, so they decided to pull it right before it was announced. Previous iOS 8 betas are reported to present the feature, but nothing eventually landed in the final iOS releases.

This time around, Apple is said to have added more cities, a new push notification feature and perfected its data. This means that we might see the Transit Maps integrated and revealed at this year’s WWDC.

Besides the Transit feature, Apple is rumoured to be working on some indoor mapping project that would allow users to navigate office buildings, landmarks and other indoor points of interest. But the project is still at its early stages, so it’s highly unlikely we will see something like this added this year.

Thank you 9to5 Mac for providing us with this information

Uber Bids $3 Billion for Nokia’s ‘Here Maps’

As Nokia is planning to sell its Here Maps, many companies are eager to get ahold of it for themselves. Uber has bid $3 Billion for Here, which is much less than the $8.1 Billion that Nokia paid for Navteq (original name of Here).

With Here being for sale, there are many companies that want to use the tech for their own projects, as well as the licensing fees that there will be. Uber will want the mapping tech since it is such a core part of its business and it can also cut down what it is paying for mapping tech that they currently use. The mapping may also come in very handy for Uber with their own self-driving car projects. This is the second mapping company that Uber is looking to obtain this year as it bought deCarta earlier in the year.

A few of the long list of other companies that will likely be bidding on Here are Apple, Amazon, Audi AG, BMW AG, Baidu, Facebook, Harman, Mercedes-Benz and Sirius XM. We will soon know who will have won the bidding war as The Times says that Nokia will decide what offer to go with later this month.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of andrewkarenwedding.

The Moto 360 Is Now $165 on Google Store

The Moto 360 has just dropped to $165 on Google’s store, it is the lowest that the watch has been so far. The next version of the watch is in the works so Motorola is most likely clearing stock in anticipation of the new model.

The Moto 360 is one of the best Android Wear smartwatches that you can currently get, and is certainly one of the most striking designs with it being one of the few with a circular face. The Moto 360 has a very nice inductive charging cradle, making charging super simple. The watch also has a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor that works very well with Google Fit. From my own experience with the Moto 360 I found that the integration with Google Maps was great and would be very useful to someone who is biking or driving with the app on their phone. Alternatively if the Google Store runs out the watch has dropped to $179.99 at Best Buy as well as Amazon. Is this new price drop enough to get you to jump on it or will you be waiting for the new version of the watch to come out?

Thank you  Engadget for providing us with this information

Will Microsoft Finally Buy HERE Maps?

Windows Phone users will understand the difficulty of choosing between Microsoft’s Bing Maps and Nokia’s HERE Maps when they need to use a good GPS app. While HERE Maps is a great app on its own, Microsoft’s alternative is still based on the HERE technology.

Microsoft first attempted to buy Nokia’s HERE Maps along with the big Nokia deal, but it was too expensive at that time. The Windows maker eventually ended up licensing the HERE technology and integrating it into its Bing Maps.

As time passed, its value went down and compared to the $8.1 billion acquisition Nokia made to buy out Navteq Corp back in 2008, HERE Maps is now estimated at a value of $2.1 billion.

Nokia is said to have reached out to Uber and other companies in hopes to sell its technology and focus on its wireless networking business. However, the more the latter companies and the Redmond giant ponder on what to do, the more opportunity they give other big name companies such as Apple or Google to strike a deal first. Why might they be interested you say? It’s simple.

The HERE technology is significant due to its availability on all major smartphone platforms. Given that Microsoft has previously showed interest into making a profit off the more popular smartphone markets with its own products, it would be wise for it to swoop in and make a deal ahead of everyone else.

Microsoft did not make any official statement regarding its intentions to buy the HERE technology just yet. But truth be told, it would be a shock to see the technology in the hands of some other company since Microsoft’s Bing Maps relies heavily on HERE’s data.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of WPMania

GTA V’s Los Santos Meticulously Recreated in Cities: Skylines

Despite urban planning simulation Cities: Skylines being available for little more than five days, a keen city designer has already used it to create an accurately detailed facsimile of Grand Theft Auto V’s sprawling metropolis, Los Santos.

Steam user grockfeller, who has made the map available to other Cities: Skylines players through Steam Workshop, described the GTA cityscape:

“Here’s the completely built region of South San Andreas including the cities of Los Santos, Palomino, and Sandy Shores. Ever wanted to challenge and continue the vibrant metropolis of Rockstar Games? Now you can! You’ll have to deal with multiple problems like employment, ecology, waste disposal, and water [sic] gestion.”

Take a look for yourself at the incredible detail that grockfeller has achieved with the Los Santos recreation:

Compare the above to actual screenshots of Los Santos from GTA V:

Source: Kotaku

Evolve To Get Two New Maps for Free

2K Games has recently announced that Evolve will get two new maps for free. The Broken Hill Mine and Broken Hill Foundry will be available to users later on, featuring the Hunt, Nest and Rescue modes.

As a short description of the maps, the Broken Hill Mine is a “deep labyrinth of caves running below the surface”, while the Broken Hill Foundry is a place with a lot of open areas and corridors in a warehouse/street setting.

Both maps are said to be available on Xbox One starting from March 31st and will arrive on the PlayStation 4 and PC on April 30th.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Google Maps is 10 Years Old

Google Maps has just become 10 years old. It’s hard to believe that it’s as old as that, but it’s also hard to imagine a world without it 10 years ago.The quintessential mapping web app was initially developed by a team of 50 people, but it took many years and many more people to bring it to where it is today.

Google Maps originally started out as a downloadable app created by Danish brothers Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen at Where 2 Technologies – a company which attracted the interest and was subsquently acquired by Google. That app was a very basic application, but it laid the foundations for what was to become one of Google’s most iconic services.

So it was, that on February 8th 2005, Google made an announcement on the Google Blog about their latest project and that a beta version was to open to the public. That was just the beginning and since then, after many additions, including hybrid maps, Street View, transit information, turn-by-turn directions and more, Google Maps has become the way most of us find our way around the planet.

Happy Birthday Google Maps.

Source: The Guardian

You Can Now Embed Google Street View on the Web

Google has finally made it possible to embed Street View images and Photo Sphere panoramas into webpages.

Previously you could only embed maps into websites, but now you can view Street View in all its glory right here on eTeknix, or any other website for that matter.

All you now need to do is click the settings button at the bottom corner of a Street View image or Photo Sphere, and you’ll simply be given the HTML embed code to paste straight into your website or blog post.

Source: Engadget

Apple Unveil Their New Smart Watch

Apple’s live event is over and we’ve been presented with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and they look great. The live event-stream had some trouble with blackouts and the wrong audio, but the viewers hung in to see the next big thing, and I think this is what most people were waiting to see. The excitement is over and it’s here.

The new Apple Watch is a reality and not only does it looks gorgeous, it’s also highly customizable, to fit your own personal style. It doesn’t matter if you prefer your Apple Watch in 24-carat gold or in a simple aluminium case with a black leather strap. Apple has it all covered with custom alloys and thoughtfully designed bands.

“Apple Watch is the most personal device we’ve ever created”, said Tim Cook during the presentation. “A comprehensive health and fitness companion and it’s an extremely precise and customizable timepiece.”

Once again Tim Cook takes the audience on a trip down the memory lane to some of Apple’s previous inventions. First it’s the computer mouse, then it’s the clock wheel on the iPod and finally the iPhone with its multi-touch. The new invention on the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown. A versatile utility that answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display. The digital crown can scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display.

The screen has a flexible Retina display, curved around the edges and laminated to a single crystal of sapphire. Sapphire is the hardest transparent material known after diamond. There are a range of watch faces to chose from and millions of ways to personalize them, to fit your specific needs and preferences.

On the inside of the watch, it has infra-red and visible-light LEDs along with photo-sensors to detect your pulse rate and physical condition. Working with other technologies in Apple Watch, these help provide a comprehensive picture of your daily activity.

The home screen looks very familiar, yet slightly different. It’s of course optimized for the small display and navigational options. A press on the Digital crown and it’s launched. The Apple Watch also allows you to receive and send messages in new ways, directly from your wrist. Pre-set phrases, smart responses based on your conversation, audio messages, your location and even interactive emoticons. Apple Watch of course also features Siri; the voice based assistant.

There are a lot of useful apps that have been ported to the new format; Maps for example. It can show your current location in case you should get lost, give you turn-by-turn directions and tell you how long it will take you to get to your destination. It doesn’t just show and tell you where to go, it also gives you a tap if you need to change direction.

For the quick and personal message to the one you care about, the Apple Watch comes with some funny alternatives to just a text. It allows you to draw a fish or a flower, or what ever you’d like, with your finger and send it to someone. If it has to be really personal, you can even send your own heartbeat by just pressing and holding two fingers onto the screen.

Another big aspect of the Apple Watch is fitness and as such the watch comes with two apps that give you a complete picture of your health and fitness. The activity app monitors movement throughout the day and the workout app tracks dedicated workouts. An everyday, all-day fitness tracker and highly advanced sports watch designed in cooperation with some of the leading experts within the field.

The Apple Watch has built in accelerometers and a lot of other sensors, but still rely on your iPhone for WiFi and GPS to track your distance.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”500″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7EHkwBybqI[/youtube]

Thank you Apple for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Apple

Google Street Car Crashes Going Backwards on One-Way Street

The Google Street View Car has been involved in an accident after it was travelling the wrong way down a one-way street, which is kind of ironic given that this car is supposed to be helping others to navigate roads, when its drivers seem at a loss for how to drive themselves.

the Google car suffered significant damage to its front end and the other car was totalled. The Google car, a 2010 Subaru Legacy was being driven by 28yr old Alexander Spurr, who said he attempted a U-turn, but accidentally came out onto an adjacent road. At this point they struck the side of the other vehicle, with the victims car also suggesting to local police that the Google Car must have run a red light for the collision to happen.

Police estimated that around $1500 in damages was done to the Google Car, while around $2000 in damages was done to the Mazda they hit.

The driver of the Mazda, a 22 year old construction worker received treatment at a local hospital for bruised ribs and whiplash after a catscan and X-Ray and I fully suspect he’ll be taking Google for everything he can.

Thank you TheSmokingGun for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TheSmokingGun.

Mapping Cities Using Smartphone Motion Sensors

Any decent smartphone has a motion sensor built into it, these are great for improving fitness applications, games, or your navigation apps as it lets the phone calculate if you’re walking, running, driving or even riding a bike. These sensors can work out speed, distance, direction and more to help them calculate your movements and provide you with all kinds of useful information, but what about using the data to create maps?

[vimeo width=”800″ height=”450″]http://vimeo.com/99614610[/vimeo]

In a trick that reminds me of the sonar mapping technique in the recent Batman films,  that is essentially what The Human App has been doing. By taking a blank canvas and drawing white pixels on it as humans move around their city you can quickly see each major road, side street and more being routed out with incredible detail.

The map below shows you all the motorized transit in New York.

Whilst this one show you peoples walking routes around San Francisco.

It’s amazing to see the data visualised as a time lapse and while this just puts on a pretty show, the data is a great way to view what areas are suffering heavy traffic from different types of transit. Obviously it lacks all the finer details we find on things like Google maps, so I doubt we’ll be using these for navigation any time soon, but as a concept the maps are still pretty cool and there are loads more of them you can check out as well as an app you can download to add your own data to the system here.

Thank you Buzzfeed for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Buzzfeed.

Skybox To Enable Real Time Google Maps, Let the Spying Begin?

A few weeks ago Google made a quiet acquisition of a start-up called Skybox. As with many of Google’s purchases it went without much fanfare as the company likes to shop around for new toys quite a lot, it can be hard to keep up with them all. This latest one is of great interest though as SkyBox have the satellite imaging technology needed to enable real-time imagery on Google Maps.

Imagine being able to scope our traffic in real-time from an birds eye view? Even if you’re tens, or hundred, even thousands of miles away. What about scoping our a street to see if it’s somewhere you want to live? Might look nice in the day, but could be packed with drunken idiots from a local pub after 9pm. There are lots of things you could do with real-time mapping and that of course raises a lot of questions on how comfortable people are with this kind of technology watching them.

It all sounds a little sci-fi, and certainly has an air of the sort of technology seen in movies or that is used by the CIA. With the US government recently changing the law to allow for what is known as “manholes and mailboxes” imagery, companies like Google are now allowed to use higher resolution images on their maps. With companies like SkyBox being able to offer high resolution video shot from their satellites, it could also negate the need for the current patch-work of images that Google use, often created from a mixture of satellite images and aerial photography.

“If you imagine a satellite sat above your office then the old resolution could probably make out your desk. The new imagery – where each pixel measures around 31cm – can now make out what’s on your desk,” explains Clive Evans, lead satellite imagery investigator with LGC Forensics.

It is unclear when and where Google will make such images and technology available to the public, but with SkyBox preparing to put more satellites into space, it’s likely going to be in the very near future.

Thank you Independent for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Independent.

World Under Water Google Maps Hack Is Both Cool And Frightening

The US Government launched their National Climate Assessment Report this week, it showed that all regions of the country are experiencing the affects of climate change. Following on from this, the team at Carbon Story have launched their World Under Water campaign, a mod for Google Maps that let’s you see what your hometown, or any part of Google Maps would look like if sea levels continued to rise. According to recent reports, the time between 2001 and 2013 was warmer than any previous decade throughout the entire country in the last 100 years.

The mod isn’t perfect, it just adds 6ft deep water to the entire map, disregarding elevation. So you could live half way up a mountain and still see what the flood would look like, if a tad biblical at that level. This is cool because it means you can see the effects anyway, seeing your own front door under water is more of an eyeopener than seeing some strangers house get flooded.

The site lists several popular locations for you to quickly jump to and view, such as New York, London and Paris, with the addition of 6ft of water of course. You can head over to the World Under Water Google Maps mod right here.

Thank you Businessinsider for providing us with this information.

 

Nokia Announces HERE Maps Availability To All Windows 8.1 Devices

Nokia HERE maps for tablets has been available only for the Lumia 2520 in the past, but things are about to change when the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 gets released this April.

Nokia has announced that the application will be available on all Windows 8.1 handsets, including Windows RT and Windows Pro devices. The app will also receive an update, which will improve its overall speed and performance of the app, using progressive rendering and other optimizations to be able to get city pages to load four times as faster. The offline maps are also stated to load as fast, but depending on the handset’s configuration.

It is said that Nokia also added mouse and keyboard support for laptops. however users can also interact via touch screen controls as well. The maps will have support for high-resolution satellite imagery, giving the user more details when zooming in on an area. Another addition is the app’s ability to store your search history and routes calculated, and place results lists will be able to be sorted by distance or rating.

The update is said to be released in the next few days in North America and Europe, offering users an alternative to Bing and Google generated map solutions for their Windows-based hardware.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Google Street View Takes You On A Trip To The Taj Mahal

Google have long proven their ability to take Street View off of the highway and into some of the more unique parts of the world, from Easter Island to the insides of a sweetie shop. Now they’ve taken their their love for exploration around one of the worlds most famous landmarks with a trip to India’s legendary Taj Mahal.

Not all of us will be able to visit the Taj Mahal in our lifetime and while many will be familiar with what it looks like from pictures, we lack the ability to move the camera around and explore in more detail, until now of course.

The Indian ministry of culture has joined forces with Google to bring the Taj Mahal, as well as 99 other heritage sites, to Google’s Street View.

It’s great that Google are working to capture these places, the historical value of the data alone is worth the trouble and for education purposes it can be a very powerful tool to have.

The world is a big place, full of many sights that we may never see in person, but what places would you love to see captured by the Google Street View cameras?

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of The Next Web.

Nokia’s HERE Maps Removed From iOS AppStore, iOS 7 To Be Blamed

Nokia has removed its popular HERE Maps app from the iOS App Store. The Finnish company blamed its decision on iOS 7, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, for being a user experience killer.

“We have made the decision to remove our Here Maps app from the Apple App Store because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience,” Nokia said in a statement.
“iPhone users can continue to use the mobile web version of Here Maps under m.here.com., offering them core location needs, such as search, routing, orientation, transit information and more, all completely free of charge.”

True to Nokia’s word, we could still access HERE Maps using an iPhone web browser, although lazy fanboys would no doubt prefer to have a nice big button to click rather than a long old web address to type in.

HERE is wildly popular on Windows phones, where it comes pre-installed, and is probably one of Nokia’s killer pieces of mobile software, but for the most part, it has failed to pull users away from old faithful Google Maps.

Anyone using Windows phones can still use HERE, which is handy because Microsoft has licensed it for 10 years. The mapping division will be a core part of Nokia’s denuded business, which will look significantly smaller when Redmond’s acquisition of the Finnish firm’s smartphone production division is complete.

Apple’s own Maps has a long and buggy story too, for when it wasn’t directing drivers onto airport runways, it was rather rudely deleting whole towns. Nokia also has a long and occasionally sad history with mobile phones, although its Windows phones recently made ground on Apple in Europe. According to recent stats, Nokia’s phones now account for about 10 per cent of all mobile sales in Europe, while Apple’s share shrunk from 20.8 per cent to 15.8 per cent.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information

National Geographic To Bring Custom Cartography With The Help Of Google Maps

National Geographic introduced a way to share over 500 of its historical map overlays with the help of Google’s Map Engine. Users can now make use of these maps via Google’s platform.

National Geographic Society, founded in 1888, aims to inspire people to care about the planet. As one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, they have founded over 10,000 research, conservation and exploration projects, along with creating and publishing more than 800 reference, historic and travel maps.

The program has been considered for the historical map availability to a “wider world”, National Geographic says. Having sold fold-out maps for more than 100 years, people just put them away and forget about them. National Geographic aims to raise awareness about environmental issues and historic events through offering the maps online for everyone to use on their PC, laptop, tablets or smartphones.

Google Maps is a very popular and high-performance platform, used daily by millions of people. It would make sense for National Geographic to offer its services to the public through a well-known service such as Google’s Maps Engine, which offers 2D as well as 3D display capabilities.

Articles, photography and information from National Geographic expeditions will be added in an interactive full-screen image environment which users can pan and zoom to view the overlays filled with tons of great data. Also, National Geographic will also add a paid service for high-definition printable maps to fund its non-profit organisation.

Thank you Google Enterprise Blogspot for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Kalaghoda Association