mapping

Apple’s weird minivan caught on tape — self-driving car, or mapping?

Apple’s weird minivan caught on tape — self-driving car, or mapping?

There’s lots of speculation that Apple is getting into the automotive game, with a van found to be leased tot hem roaming the streets of California with special equipment mounted to the top. Though it’s not totally clear what the van and equipment are for, some speculate Apple is getting into the autonomous car game, and is using the equipment to learn more about how humans drive. Though we’ve seen the van in pictures, a new video gets right up next to the van, and shows a tablet-like device on the inside.

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Google Earth Pro drops $399 subscription, now available for free

Google Earth Pro drops $399 subscription, now available for free

Google has recently revealed that it is dropping the paid subscription from Google Earth Pro, a more robust version of its Google Earth software. The Pro service will now be available for free, previously costing $399 per year. While the standard version of Google Earth has often been more than enough for casual map and globe users, the Pro version has seen use among professionals from scientists to businesses, who have been able to take advantage of advanced features previously not available for free.

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Nokia’s HERE Maps arrive on Google Play, coming to iOS in early 2015

Nokia’s HERE Maps arrive on Google Play, coming to iOS in early 2015

You know Nokia the handset maker, but are you familiar with Nokia the services provider? After dislodging their hardware division and shuffling it off toward Redmond and Microsoft, Nokia has become a services company first, hardware (distant) second. One of their more fascinating and profound services for consumers is HERE, a Maps app that is putting the rest of the world on notice. After a beta period meant for testing the app and finding bugs, HERE is now rolling out to Android users, and will challenge Google Maps in a significant way.

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Google Maps next for Material Design revamp

Google Maps next for Material Design revamp

Google has been on a roll recently, updating its core app suite with Material Design style, and next in line is Google Maps. Both the Android and the iPhone versions of the popular navigation app are getting a revamp, with cleaner graphics, more intuitive controls, and a look that meshes with the Android 5.0 Lollipop aesthetic. Although the most obvious changes are to the design, though, that's not to say there aren't new features tucked in there as well, including closer integration with third-party services like OpenTable and Uber.

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Self-healing maps could solve autonomous cars’ big problem

Self-healing maps could solve autonomous cars’ big problem

Nokia's HERE team is working toward a self-healing mapping system for autonomous cars, tackling the thorny issue of rapidly out-of-date navigation data by giving self-driving vehicles the intelligence to cook up their own HD maps. With cold water liberally poured on Google's self-driving cars recently given the relatively minimal area within which they can roam, questions have been raised over just how practical such vehicles might be given the constantly evolving road network. According to HERE's ambitious scheme, though, the fleet of smart cars itself is the key to keeping the data clean.

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Google’s Skybox for Good to help nonprofits save lives

Google’s Skybox for Good to help nonprofits save lives

Satellite imaging is a rather touchy subject. So much so that it was only June this year that the US allowed the taking and use of high-quality satellite images. Aiming to give this kind mapping a more positive face, Skybox, which Google acquired just before the lifting of that satellite imaging restriction, is introducing Skybox for Good. This initiative will give nonprofit organizations such as Appalachian Voices or HALO Trust access to high-quality real-time maps of areas in order to help them save lives, human or otherwise.

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Google Earth for Android revamped: Smoother 3D & faster updates

Google Earth for Android revamped: Smoother 3D & faster updates

Google is pushing out a new version of Google Earth for Android that will boost the 3D navigation of the geographic app, as well as see updates to mapping data be pushed out to users more rapidly and thus cut down misdirections. The refresh sees Google change the 3D rendering engine for Google Earth on Android phones and tablets for the first time in over a decade, the company's mapping team points out, which should add up to smoother zooming, faster rendering, and less glitchy transitions.

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Nokia HERE Maps arrives on Galaxy smartphones

Nokia HERE Maps arrives on Galaxy smartphones

Nokia HERE's Maps app for Android has gone live for Samsung smartphone users, bringing a Google Maps alternative with full offline navigation support and more. The app, based on HERE's Windows Phone software, supports regular and satellite mapping, live traffic reports using data pulled from the 24/7 monitoring team at HERE Traffic, public transportation information for a number of cities, and of course navigation, with an in-car view for easier use while your Galaxy S5 is suction-cupped to your windshield.

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Waze trades user locations with governments in road insight exchange

Waze trades user locations with governments in road insight exchange

Waze will hand over real-time traffic data pulled from its crowdsourced driver community to select governments around the world, part of a new "Connected Citizens" program in Boston, Florida, and other locations. The scheme - which will involve anonymizing the traffic information, so that no single driver can be picked out - will net Waze greater access to official transit information, such as a heads-up on future road closures, as the Google-owned service tries to corner the market in driving data.

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