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charlesarthur : mapping   10

What3words: The app that can save your life • BBC News
Duncan Leatherdale:
<p>Police have urged everyone to download a smartphone app they say has already saved several lives. What is it and how does it work?

Kicked. Converged. Soccer.

These three randomly chosen words saved Jess Tinsley and her friends after they got lost in a forest on a dark, wet night.

They had planned a five-mile circular stroll through the 4,900 acre (2,000 hectare) woodland Hamsterley Forest, in County Durham, on Sunday evening, but after three hours they were hopelessly lost.

"We were in a field and had no idea where we were," the 24-year-old care worker from Newton Aycliffe said.

"It was absolutely horrendous. I was joking about it and trying to laugh because I knew if I didn't laugh I would cry."

At 22:30 BST they found a spot with phone signal and dialled 999.

"One of the first things the call-handler told us to do was download the what3words app," Ms Tinsley said.

"I had never heard of it."

Within a minute of its download, the police said they knew where the group was and the soaked and freezing walkers were swiftly found by the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team.</p>


The issue is that W3W is a private company. (It <a href="https://intercom.help/what3words/en/articles/2212827-how-does-what3words-create-revenue">charges for certain API use</a>.) But then again, it's a useful service: doesn't need a phone signal to work (though of course you need one to call the emergency services), is precise to within a few metres. One of the cases: "Humberside Police were able to quickly resolve a hostage situation after the victim was able to tell officers exactly where she was being held." 👀
mapping  measurement  what3words 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Live map of London Underground trains • Traintimes.org.uk
Matthew Sommerville:
<p>This map shows all trains (yellow dots) on the London Underground network in approximately real time. Geographic version, or Skyfall version.

I have similar things for the London buses and National Rail, and an awesome bookmarkable train times journey planner.</p>


The Skyfall version is.. it's much more weird. Sommerville did a version of this <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2010/jun/22/underground-live-map-possibilities">back in 2010</a>. Now it's live again. Gotta love live, open data.
opendata  trains  tube  underground  mapping 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Farewell, Google Maps • In der Apotheke
Bartłomiej Owczarek and Tomasz Nawrocki run a startup which helps people find medicines at p[hysical pharmacies; they've previously used Google Maps, but suddenly found the prices rising dramatically:
<p>After a conference call with Google Maps customer service (who, contrary to the email, offered no discounts or credits whatsoever) we realised that price increases are huge:

• Current free usage limit of 750k requests monthly turns into ca. 28k requests (almost 30 times less)

• Current $0.5 for commercial usage becomes $7 (14 times more), $5.60 with high volume

Importantly, prices are the same from US to the Africa, despite the fact that revenue generation is vastly different in most developed countries compared to the others. We know it well from comparing Polish market to Germany, as we expand there. 

Comparison of Google Maps monthly bill before and after price hike
<img src="https://whereigetmymeds.azureedge.net/img/2018/maps-monthly-cost-en.jpg" width="100%" />

If we maintained current monthly usage of both maps and Places (ie. location search), the cost of Google Maps would be multiple times higher than the total cost of all other infrastructure.</p>


They are going with MapBox and MapTiler - but also swapped in some code so that they can quickly swap between providers.
google  maps  mapping  cost 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
Introducing the Citymapper Smartbus • Medium
<p>First we built an app to help you get around town, using open data. But we found the data needed fixing, so we built tools to do so. We also built tools to analyse the data and learned a lot about how people are moving around. When we studied the existing public transit routes, we realised that they don’t always serve people best, nor evolve quickly enough to accommodate changes in the city.

<img src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*0_b9MCIKrwBYmiqlaMFCvw.gif" width="100%" />
<em>Simcity: Route Creation</em>

We built an ultimate tool (codenamed: Simcity) to evaluate routes utilising our demand data and routing. We found we can figure out how to improve existing routes in all of our cities. We can also identify new and better routes. London is actually not that badly served, but other cities have major gaps. We will write in more detail about Simcity later.

<img src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*-LvcRdAK38yuBHE5ljIRNQ.jpeg" width="100%" />
<em>Simcity: Route Evaluation</em>

We also feel buses haven’t evolved enough. They still roam around cities utilising old systems of operations and inefficient technology. If we’re going to solve urgent problems of congestion and infrastructure, we need buses to improve, to operate smarter. In the era of smartphones we can have responsive buses that react to realtime needs.</p>


This is a smart idea - and it's working with Transport For London, which offers open data.
citymapper  infrastructure  mapping  router 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Kansas couple who live in a ‘digital hell’ sue mapping company MaxMind • Fusion
Kashmir Hill (who wrote the original story about how a family was being hassled by police and others claiming their house was the location shown on a map of Bad Things):
<p>“At that time, we picked a latitude and longitude that was in the center of the country, and it didn’t occur to us that people would use the database to attempt to locate people down to a household level,” MaxMind co-founder Thomas Mather told me earlier this year. As with Pokémon Go, the company didn’t realize its digital map of the country would have consequences for the people located at the real-world coordinates.

When I wrote the first story, I spoke with Joyce Taylor, the 82-year-old owner of the property, who also suffered from the digital fall-out. Her renters, the Arnolds, did not talk with me, because as their lawyer Randall Rathbun explains, “they are very private people.”

In their lawsuit, the Arnolds say that MaxMind’s conduct “placed them in a false light and invaded their privacy,” resulting in “great emotional distress, fear for their safety, and humiliation.” The damages amount to at least $75,000. Rathbun estimates that it will take at least a year for the case to go to trial.

MaxMind did not respond to a request for comment. But after my story, they changed the default location for the U.S. in their database. It is now conveniently located in a nearby lake.</p>
mapping  privacy 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Maps from the past - programmatically »Thenmap
<p>Use the Thenmap API to fetch historical geodata as GeoJSON or TopoJSON, or prerendered maps as SVG files.

Pass a year and preferred coordinate system or projection, and the API will give you all borders in return. Like the world in 1956, or Swedish municipalities from 1979.

The Thenmap API currently holds:

• World borders, from 1945<br />• Swedish municipalities, from 1974 (a few borders in southern Sweden still missing from 1973)<br />• Swedish counties, from 1968<br />• Finnish municipalities, from 2011<br />• US states, from 1865<br />• Municipalities of Greenland, from 1979

Learn more by reading the <a href="http://api.thenmap.net/">full documentation</a>.</p>


Neat. Built by Leo Wallentin of Journalism++Stockholm.
api  data  mapping 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Taking pictures with flying government lasers » Generalising
Andrew Gray:
<p>A few weeks ago, the Environment Agency released the <a href="https://environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2015/09/18/laser-surveys-light-up-open-data/">first tranche of their LIDAR survey data</a>. This covers (most of) England, at varying resolution from 2m to 25cm, made via <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lidar">LIDAR airborne survey</a>.

It’s great fun. After a bit of back-and-forth (and hastily figuring out how to use QGIS), here’s two rendered images I made of Durham, one with buildings and one without, now on Commons:<br />
<img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8f/Height_map_of_the_City_of_Durham%2C_1m_resolution%2C_with_buildings.tif/lossy-page1-640px-Height_map_of_the_City_of_Durham%2C_1m_resolution%2C_with_buildings.tif.jpg" width="100%" /><br />
<img src="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Terrain_map_of_the_City_of_Durham,_1m_resolution.tif" width="100%" /><br />
The first is shown with buildings, the second without. Both are at 1m resolution, the best currently available for the area. Note in particular the very striking embankment and cutting for the railway viaduct (top left). These look like they could be very useful things to produce for Commons, especially since it’s – effectively – very recent, openly licensed, aerial imagery…</p>


You can play too - just download QGIS (open source, Windows/Mac/Linux) and find the place where you live. Oh, LIDAR? Laser Interferometry Detection And Ranging (though Wikipedia has it as "Laser Imaging"). You're welcome. The whole Generalising blog is worth browsing if you like people noodling with data. They do it wonderfully.
data  mapping 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
iOS 9 Transit Maps to launch in a handful of cities in North America, Europe & China » 9to5Mac
Mark Gurman, for it is he:
While Apple plans to debut its own mass transit directions service for Maps in iOS 9 as soon as June, the rollout will not be as ambitious as some users may have hoped. In its first iteration, Apple’s Transit service will only support approximately a half-dozen cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe, in addition to China, according to sources…

In the United States, the planned launch cities are San Francisco and New York, two major metropolitan areas that are known for public transportation, while Toronto will be likely Canada’s sole representative for the iOS 9 Maps Transit feature at launch. In Europe, Apple is said to be gearing up to first launch the feature in London, Paris, and Berlin.


Google has been miles ahead in this for years (which made iOS 6 retrograde). Three years on, there are already lots of apps - especially Citymapper - which offer services like this. But it's the integration that Apple has really lacked.
apple  mapping 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Proper Google Maps app appears on Android Wear via latest phone app update » Android Central
Andrew Martonik:
The app can be launched from the app launcher or by voice with an "open Maps" command, and when opened you get a full screen top-down map experience. You can scroll around, pinch-to-zoom (barely) and even switch between true North and device direction views. Zoom in/out buttons appear on the top of the screen when you tap it, which is much better than pinching, and you also get a small pin button that lets you quickly scroll through nearby places and navigate to them — though when you fire up navigation from the Maps app on the watch it still corresponds with launching Maps on your phone.

There's even a neat feature that gives you a simple black and white outline map when the watch doesn't receive interaction for while, just like the ambient watch faces do.

Aside from the handful of reboots of our phone and watch that were necessary just to get it to run, the app still seems rather unstable. Several times in just a few minutes of playing with the app it has failed to respond or open up navigation properly — we have a feeling that this isn't quite ready without a new version of Google Play Services or potentially a new version of Android Wear on the watch.


Options for resizing: pinch-to-zoom or prodding a plus/minus onscreen tab. Neither seems ideal. The <a href="http://m.androidcentral.com/sites/androidcentral.com/files/styles/xlarge_wm_brw/public/article_images/2015/05/google-maps-watch-urbane-2.jpg?itok=YI9q66o0">black/white outline map</a> is horrible. The <a href="http://m.androidcentral.com/sites/androidcentral.com/files/styles/xlarge_wm_brw/public/article_images/2015/05/google-maps-watch-urbane-3.jpg?itok=YI9q66o0">"list of pins"</a> looks smart.
androidwear  mapping 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
Nevada approves autonomous Daimler trucks » FT.com
Robert Wright:
Daimler said it had brought the new self-driving technology to the desert, southwestern state after European governments were slower to approve regulations for autonomous trucks. Nevada was also one of the first states to allow autonomous passenger cars.
However, the company said it would require far more states to accept the technology before it could show its potential by handling road freight deliveries “from coast to coast”. The vehicle will be able to operate autonomously only in Nevada — when it crosses state lines the driver will have to take the wheel.
Wolfgang Bernhard, chief executive of Daimler’s bus and truck division, said autonomous driving would sharply reduce crashes from driver error. Driver error — often a result of fatigue or distraction — leads to about 90% of crashes involving trucks…

…The vehicle has already undergone tens of thousands of hours of testing on Nevada’s roads and will be immediately available for full commercial use, although Daimler will continue to monitor its performance.
“This is not a testing licence,” Mr Bernhard said. “This is a full operating licence. We believe that these vehicles and systems are ready.”


Not mentioned: the maps provider for Daimler. That'll be Nokia's HERE, currently up for sale, which vehicle makers including Daimler are considering bidding for.
daimler  selfdrivingcar  here  mapping 
may 2015 by charlesarthur

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