Google Maps may be the dominant player in the mapping business still, but there's a rising star in an open-source competitor called OpenStreetMap that's been heavily backed by Microsoft. Due to the high fees of using Google Maps, some major services, including FourSquare and Apple's iPhoto app, have already defected to using OpenStreetMap instead.
There's something pretty unique about one of Facebook's new office buildings in the company's Menlo Park, California campus. Something so unique, in fact, that it can be distinctly recognized from satellites in space. Apparently a group of employees thought it would be a cool idea to paint a giant 42-foot QR code on the roof of the building, though the team hasn't actually decided what to do with it.
DARPA are said to be looking into the possibility of using cheap, disposable satellites to provide reconnaissance and data to soldiers. The satellites would be deployable with the “press of a button”. The idea is to provide backup when existing satellites would not be in position, or would take too long to re-align. Still, DARPA's idea of "cheap" might differ from everyone else's.
Nokia have posted to the Nokia Conversions blog to let the world know that Nokia Maps is now accessible just about anywhere with a web browser. That means that if you’re not a particularly big fan of Google or Bing Maps, you can point your smartphone’s browser towards m.maps.nokia.com and use Nokia’s solution instead. Check out our hands-on impressions after the cut.
A while back Google Earth started using images of the oceans to allow people to explore the depths and see the terrain under the sea. Some geeks who were exploring the new service discovered what appeared to be a grid-like pattern on the sea floor. Since the grid resembled city streets, some started calling the grid the site of the fabled lost city of Atlantis.
Emergency alerts have now been subtly added to Google Maps, and are now live across the United States. Never again will you have to navigate from page to page looking for specific information on flood warnings, earthquakes, or even snowstorms. Maps will now show all the specifics: from the warning duration, to even how severe it may be.
Way back in 2007 Microsoft filed for patent on a technology to help produce walking directions for people that are traveling in unfamiliar areas. The patent app is titled "pedestrian route production" and outlines a way to automatically adjust the walking directions given based n certain parameters like crime rate. The system uses more data than others to predict a "safe" route.
When it comes to mapping out the earth for mobile devices, there are only a few choices options you should really be deciding between - TeleNav being on of them - and this week they've upped the ante with the world's first HTML browser-based, voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation service. What this service will do is amp up TeleNav into the all-access world of mobile, giving essentially anyone with access to a web browser on their handheld device access to GPS in a way that's never quite been accomplished before now. In addition, developers of mobile websites and apps with local content will now be able to add one simple line of code to their product to have easy to use navigation at a glance!
For those of you wishing to get up close and personal with the destruction and collapse of massive parts of Northeastern Japan as crushed up by the earthquakes and tsunami from March 2011, you can certainly do so thanks to Google Maps new initiative to archive images of the area in the weeks after the disasters unfurled. In addition to being able to see these areas inside Google Maps (until they're updated as repairs are made and new images are collected), you can see before and after shots at a special site Memories for the Future, fully optimized for a browser-centric experience. What do you think, citizens of earth, is this a suitable memorial for the terror that occurred earlier this year?
Nokia unveiled its Nokia Maps 3D back in April of this year and they were certainly cool. The service reminded me more than a little of Google Earth. Nokia has announced some really cool new features. One of the new features is the ability for the user to search for local attractions, restaurants, and shops. That means you can see the shop you want to visit and then get directions how to get there.