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charlesarthur : maps   55

Real-time maps warn Hong Kong protesters of police • Quartz
Mary Hui:
<p>One of the most widely used real-time maps of the protests is <a href=""></a>, a volunteer-run and crowdsourced effort that officially launched in early August. It’s a dynamic map of Hong Kong that users can zoom in and out of, much like Google Maps. But in addition to detailed street and building names, this one features various emoji to communicate information at a glance: a dog for police, a worker in a yellow hardhat for protesters, a dinosaur for the police’s black-clad special tactical squad, a white speech-bubble for tear gas, two exclamation marks for danger.

<img src="" width="100%" />
<em>HKMap during a protest on August 31, 2019</em>

Founded by a finance professional in his 20s and who only wished to be identified as Kuma, HKMap is an attempt to level the playing field between protesters and officers, he said in an interview over chat app Telegram. While earlier on in the protest movement people relied on text-based, on-the-ground  live updates through public Telegram channels, Kuma found these to be too scattered to be effective, and hard to visualize unless someone knew the particular neighborhood inside out.

“The huge asymmetric information between protesters and officers led to multiple occasions of surround and capture,” said Kuma. Passersby and non-frontline protesters could also make use of the map, he said, to avoid tense conflict zones. After some of his friends were arrested in late July, he decided to build HKMap.</p>
maps  hongkong  protests 
15 days ago by charlesarthur
Google wants Travel and Maps to be the place you plan trips from start to finish • The Verge
Natt Garun:
<p>An update coming to Google Flights will now show travellers guides on popular destinations based on their country and the time of year. You can also specify exact travel dates and destinations to get historical data on flight prices and find the best time to book. Google says it’s so confident in this price prediction that it will offer a refund on select flights if a fare drops after you’ve booked. (It’s not automatic and you still have to file a claim, but it’s a nice deal if you’re planning to get away ahead of the Labor Day holiday.) The offer starts next Tuesday August 13th until September 2nd, and is limited to travellers flying out of the US.

Flights will also begin to show the fare class differences on Alaska and Delta airlines so travelers can differentiate between various economy seats. Google says because so many airlines have their own verbiage on what an economy seat may entail, it’s hoping to standardize the language by showing people what type of ticket they’re getting before they book. The company also says it will continue to work to add other airlines in the future.</p>

That's really useful. Also offering augmented reality when you're trying to find your way around in a location.
google  maps 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple Maps in iOS 13: sights set on Google • MacStories
Ryan Christoffel:
<p>Favorited locations are represented by an icon and color corresponding to their location type. Home and Work have house and briefcase icons in blue and brown, respectively, while restaurants will show a fork and knife on an orange background, bars a martini glass in purple, parks a tree in brown, and so on. Another important visual detail about favorites is that they each display your distance from them, or the time it would take to navigate to them. This further reinforces favorites' design purpose: Apple intends that you use them for commonly visited locations. If you simply want to mark a spot to remember for later, that's where collections shine.

Collections [new in iOS 13] are groups of locations you can save for accessing later. Like favorites, they have the benefit of being displayed more prominently on the map, so they're easy to spot at a glance, but they also offer a lot of flexibility you won't find with favorites. A collection is ultimately just a list of locations, so it can serve any purpose you need it to. You can use collections to plan upcoming vacations, keeping track of all the places you want to visit on your trip; you can also have collections dedicated to intriguing coffee shops, prospective date night spots, or restaurants that have been recommended to you. Every collection can have a name and even custom photo set by you, so you can truly make it your own.</p>

The "ooh" feature for demos is Apple's equivalent to Street View, which it calls Look Around. However, I can only find it for San Francisco at present, so the above features - which might be better for real usability - are what people will really use.
apple  maps  ios13 
7 weeks ago by charlesarthur
AI is supercharging the creation of maps around the world • Facebook
Xiaoming Gao, Christopher Klaiber, Drishtie Patel and Jeff Underwood:
<p>For more than 10 years, volunteers with the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project have worked to address that gap by meticulously adding data on the ground and reviewing public satellite images by hand and annotating features like roads, highways, and bridges. It’s a painstaking manual task. But, thanks to AI, there is now an easier way to cover more areas in less time.

With assistance from Map With AI (a new service that Facebook AI researchers and engineers created) a team of Facebook mappers has recently cataloged all the missing roads in Thailand and more than 90 percent of missing roads in Indonesia. Map With AI enabled them to map more than 300,000 miles of roads in Thailand in only 18 months, going from a road network that covered 280,000 miles before they began to 600,000 miles after. Doing it the traditional way — without AI — would have taken another three to five years, estimates Xiaoming Gao, a Facebook research scientist who helped lead the project.

“We were really excited about this achievement because it has proven Map With AI works at a large scale,” Gao says.

Starting today, anyone will be able to use the Map With AI service, which includes access to AI-generated road mappings in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, with more countries rolling out over time. As part of Map With AI, Facebook is releasing our AI-powered mapping tool, called RapiD, to the OSM community. </p>

This, at least, is good. Though it's a repetition of what undoubtedly already exists at Google and other mapping companies. The benefit is that this is open data.
facebook  ai  maps 
8 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Who has gone where • Centre For Towns
Concom Website Design:
<p>Moving out of London

This map shows the number of people who have moved from London to each local authority over the last four years.

House prices where you live: This map has four options: 1. Average house price in 1997; 2. Average house price in 2017; 3. Change in house price (£), 1997-2017; 4. House price:Income ratio. The last option uses average houshold income.</p>

And plenty more: mental health contacts in the last 12 months, post office closures in the past three years, train station usage, access to broadband, and much more.
uk  maps 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
The newest AI-enabled weapon: ‘deep-faking’ photos of the Earth • Nextgov
Patrick Tucker:
<p>Worries about deep fakes—machine-manipulated videos of celebrities and world leaders purportedly saying or doing things that they really didn’t—are quaint compared to a new threat: doctored images of the Earth itself.

China is the acknowledged leader in using an emerging technique called generative adversarial networks to trick computers into seeing objects in landscapes or in satellite images that aren’t there, says Todd Myers, automation lead and Chief Information Officer in the Office of the Director of Technology at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

“The Chinese are well ahead of us. This is not classified info,” Myers said Thursday at the second annual Genius Machines summit, hosted by Defense One and Nextgov. “The Chinese have already designed; they’re already doing it right now, using GANs—which are generative adversarial networks—to manipulate scenes and pixels to create things for nefarious reasons.”

For example, Myers said, an adversary might fool your computer-assisted imagery analysts into reporting that a bridge crosses an important river at a given point.  

“So from a tactical perspective or mission planning, you train your forces to go a certain route, toward a bridge, but it’s not there. Then there’s a big surprise waiting for you,” he said.</p>

The concern seems a little overblown, but you have to worry about malicious actors, especially with open source.
maps  ai  hacking 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Great Escape: travel inspiration by price
Rather neat: finds cheap flights from nearby you to various points around the world. The sort of thing that could be enjoyable around the Easter break. Apologies to Australians and New Zealanders, though then again you've already got it good.
travel  maps  flights 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Restaurant Megatrends 2019: Google's domination of local discovery is almost complete • Skift
Jason Clampet:
<p>In the late 1990s companies including Microsoft Sidewalk, AOL Digital Cities, and CitySearch duked it out digitally to be the place people discovered a new restaurant or bar online, while print outfits like Zagat, Time Out, and local newspapers did the same in print. There were multiple ways to find a place to go in print and online.

This isn’t really true anymore. Google, with its trifecta of Google Maps, Mobile search, and Desktop search fuels local discovery with a dominance that is daunting.

Sure, there are other ways to find a great taco: Apple Maps exists; Yelp is still important enough to worry restaurants; Foursquare hums along quietly; and reservation apps can point the way. Instagram has the power to inspire, but you can’t ask it where to get a burger near you.

Thanks to our reliance on smartphones and GPS, it’s become an indispensable tool for restaurants. At the same time, Google’s ad search business, allowing keywords to go to the highest bidder, change the way restaurants must market themselves.

The stats are daunting, whether they’re coming for Google itself or third parties. According to Think by Google, “people are at least twice as likely to use search than other online or offline sources … Not only is search the most used resource, it’s the resource 87% of people turn to first.”

Over the last year the frequency of the search term “restaurant near me” has grown by two to three times in markets around the world. In no place has this search grown less than 50%. Indeed, the growing popularity of “… near me” searches clearly illustrates the consumer shift to a reliance on digital for the most basic local discovery actions at an incredibly high frequency that will only continue to increase as long as search results satisfy.</p>

Clampet argues that Google Maps is now a "mega app", like Line in Japan or WeChat in China - absorbing other apps under its umbrella.
google  maps  app 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple ‘black site’ gives contractors few perks, little security • Bloomberg
Joshua Brustein:
<p>Apex is one tiny part of a sprawling global network of staffing firms working with Apple; it is not even the only firm staffing the facility at Hammerwood Avenue. For Apple Maps alone, workers are spread across several locations in Silicon Valley, as well as in Austin, Texas; London; the Czech Republic; and India, according to people who worked on the project. The operation involves thousands of contractors. At Hammerwood, the population has exceeded 250 at times, although the number fluctuates and Apple declined to give a current count.

Places like Hammerwood undermine the mythology of Silicon Valley as a kind of industrial utopia where talented people work themselves to the bone in exchange for outsize salaries and stock options. A common perception in the Bay Area is that its only serious tech-labor issue is the high cost of living driven by the industry’s obscene salaries. But many of those poorer residents work in tech, too. For decades, contractors and other contingent workers have served meals, driven buses, and cleaned toilets at tech campuses. They’ve also built circuit boards and written and tested software, all in exchange for hourly wages and little or no job security.

In different forms, temporary labor as an alternative to full-time employment has grown across the U.S. economy. Companies in many industries now use staffing firms to handle work once done by full-time workers. The technology industry offers one of the starkest examples of how the groups’ fortunes have diverged. While companies aren’t required to disclose the sizes of their contingent workforces, there’s ample evidence that tech companies use large numbers of contractors and temps. Last year, Bloomberg News reported that direct employees at Alphabet Inc.’s Google accounted for less than half its workforce. </p>

Back in 2012, Alexis Madrigal was <a href="">let inside one of the places where Google updates Google Maps</a>. "It has all the free food, ping pong, and Google Maps-inspired Christoph Niemann cartoons that you'd expect, but it's still a low-slung office building just off the 101 in Mountain View in the burbs," he wrote. Wonder if he just didn't see the bits where they queued for the toilets, and so on. Clever PR.
apple  maps  pr 
february 2019 by charlesarthur
DuckDuckGo taps Apple Maps to power private search results • Spread Privacy
<p>We're excited to announce that map and address-related searches on DuckDuckGo for mobile and desktop are now powered by Apple's MapKit JS framework, giving you a valuable combination of mapping and privacy. As one of the first global companies using Apple MapKit JS, we can now offer users improved address searches, additional visual features, enhanced satellite imagery, and continually updated maps already in use on billions of Apple devices worldwide.

With this updated integration, Apple Maps are now available both embedded within our private search results for relevant queries, as well as available from the "Maps" tab on any search result page.</p>

DDG is still miniscule compared to Google, but it's profitable and not going away any time soon. This is a clever way to enhance its "privacy" story.
apple  duckduckgo  location  maps 
january 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple’s new map: has Apple closed the gap with Google’s map? • Justin O'Beirne
O'Beirne does periodic, incredibly detailed (and fascinating) updates comparing Apple's maps with Google's. This is no exception, looking at the space where Apple has introduced new maps in California, which turns out to have some gotchas in tiny towns:
<p>It’s surprising that Apple mislabels the general store because TechCrunch said that Apple’s vans were capturing addresses and points of interest along the roads:

"After the downstream data has been cleaned up of license plates and faces, it gets run through a bunch of computer vision programming to pull out addresses, street signs and other points of interest."

But what’s even stranger is that “Markleeville General Store” is written on both the front and the side of the building—and according to TechCrunch:

"The computer vision system Apple is using can absolutely recognize storefronts and business names."

Yet the businesses that Apple is missing—but that Google has—all have signs along the road.

This suggests that Apple isn’t algorithmically extracting businesses and other places out of the imagery its vans are collecting.

Instead, all of the businesses shown on Apple’s Markleeville map seem to be coming from Yelp, Apple’s primary place data provider…</p>

It seems that while Google uses algorithms on visual data, Apple is using a lot of low-cost humans. Both have their advantages.
Apple  google  maps 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Google Maps will let you chat with businesses • The Verge
Dieter Bohn:
<p>shall we make the easy joke that Google can’t seem to stop launching new messaging platforms while its primary messaging platform strategy is still a mess? Yes, yes we shall. Hangouts is dead for consumers and Allo is “paused” and RCS Chat still hasn’t launched here in the US across all major carriers. Neither AT&T nor Verizon will commit to a launch date. (I asked them both this week.)

I bring up RCS not just for the cheap shot, but also because it’s a good example of how “business messaging” is quickly becoming big business. It’s part of the plan for RCS Chat, it exists inside Facebook Messenger and iMessage, and it’s a big part of the eventual business plan for WhatsApp. So it makes sense that Google would want to be in this space and, honestly, it makes some sense to put it inside Maps instead of in another messaging app. As Google notes, it keeps your business chat messages separate from your personal messages.

So let’s leave messaging aside and give Google this one. It can’t push harder on business messaging inside Android Messages, because it can’t leverage RCS, because it ceded control of its message platform to the whims of its carrier partners. Putting business messaging inside Google Maps is a good solution in that context. And anyway, this messaging feature already existed and the news here is simply that you can get to it inside Google Maps.

But that leads me to my third feeling: what the heck is going on with Google Maps? It is becoming overburdened with so many features and design changes that it’s becoming harder and harder to just get directions in it. There’s Group Planning, there’s a social-esque “follow” button for local businesses, you can share your ETA, there’s a redesigned “Explore” section, and there’s almost no way to get the damn thing to show you a cross street near your destination without three full minutes of desperate pinching and zooming and re-zooming.</p>

Product hits maturity; revenue growth slows; team in charge still has old growth targets, plus needs to justify their existence. (To <a href="">quote Ryan Ford</a>, a product designer.)
Google  maps  chat  product 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Google might be hiding the fact that its own reviews are shoddy • Yahoo Finance
Ethan Wolff-Mann:
<p>If you Google “Chiropractor Bethesda Maryland,” you’ll see Google’s famous 10 blue links. But you’ll also see a box with a map — a snippet — at the top with local results, star ratings, and buttons for phone number and directions. Clicking further will show you <a href="">reviews people left on Google Maps</a>.

Google is ostensibly providing a service to make it easy to get what you want: a chiropractor in Bethesda.

But what if these reviews aren’t particularly good or reliable? This is a question that has come up based on the fact that Google’s library of local reviews is no longer available apart from the Maps platform or the box above search links.

If you Google the exact, unique text of a user review found through the box above in quotes, an interesting thing happens: No results are found, despite the fact that you just saw the text, provided by Google itself in the box above the reviews.

Google appears to have quietly purged its own user-generated review content from its search results.

This is significant, critics of Google say, because it obscures the fact that Google’s search engine judges the company’s own reviews poorly. Google’s search engine ranks content by relevance and quality, and Google’s review content previously showed up deep into the search results, far from the first page of links that takes most of the clicks.

A Google spokesperson disagreed that the review content was “de-indexed,” simply noting that because Google reviews don’t currently live on a web page, they are not displayed as web results.

Given that reviews once showed up in regular Google search results and now do not, it follows that the reviews were moved from a web page to the Maps platform, whose code prevents search engines from crawling it. What was once searchable is now not searchable, something Google did not explain.

As a result, Google reviews do not have to rank highly in search engines. Instead, the Google snippet — the map and reviews box above the standard search result — allows the company to capture clicks that would otherwise flow off the platform to whatever website had the best result in the algorithm made by the search team down the hall at Mountain View deemed as the best.</p>

Capturing clicks that would otherwise flow off the platform is an increasingly big thing for Google, which once couldn't wait to let people get off its site.
Google  review  maps  search 
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="" 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
City street orientations around the world • Geoff Boeing
<p>By popular request, this is a quick follow-up to <a href="">this post</a> comparing the orientation of streets in 25 US cities using Python and <a href="">OSMnx</a>. Here are 25 more cities around the world:

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

Compare them to the American cities, also shown in the post. "Regular" barely begins to describe it. OSMnx is an interesting package, building on OpenStreetMap.
cities  maps 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up • TechCrunch
Matthew Panzarino:
<p>It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 Beta and will cover Northern California by fall.

Every version of iOS will get the updated maps eventually and they will be more responsive to changes in roadways and construction, more visually rich depending on the specific context they’re viewed in and feature more detailed ground cover, foliage, public pools, pedestrian pathways and more.

This is nothing less than a full re-set of Maps and it’s been 4 years in the making, which is when Apple began to develop its new data gathering systems. Eventually, Apple will no longer rely on third-party data to provide the basis for its maps, which has been one of its major pitfalls from the beginning…

…[Eddy] Cue points to the proliferation of devices running iOS, now numbering in the hundreds of millions, as a deciding factor to shift its process.

“We felt like because the shift to devices had happened — building a map today in the way that we were traditionally doing it, the way that it was being done — we could improve things significantly, and improve them in different ways,” he says. “One is more accuracy. Two is being able to update the map faster based on the data and the things that we’re seeing, as opposed to driving again or getting the information where the customer’s proactively telling us. What if we could actually see it before all of those things?”</p>

Going to be a long time before Apple can cast off third-party suppliers everywhere; though it might be able to wave goodbye to paid ones. (OpenStreetMap, for example, is free, though there might be a give-back licence on changes.) This is quite a move, though. OSM got its start by getting motorcyclists to map London with GPS trackers. Next step: the world. (Panzarino also has <a href="">a post answering many questions arising</a>. Such as: might do "street view"; will locate doors of buildings; will use AI to read business names.)
apple  maps 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Google Maps is getting the coolest new feature since turn-by-turn directions • BGR
Chris Mills:
<p>Google is adding some massive new features to Google Maps, the biggest being the addition of augmented reality directions to help with walking directions. If you’re trying to follow a set of directions, you can now hold your phone up, and Google Maps will match the view from your camera to the saved Street View imagery of the world. Street View can label things in the real world using your camera, and show you an overlay to let you know which way to go.

<img src="" width="100%" />

The company didn’t say when the augmented reality features will come to the Google Maps app, but it did hint that it might even include a cute robotic fox to act as your virtual guide.</p>

I've lost count of the number of times I've emerged from an underground station (US readers: subway station) and tried to work out which direction I'm facing, compared to where the map is directing me.

Betting on Apple having something like this in the works for WWDC?
google  maps  augmentedreality 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Hundreds of thousands of spam listings on Google “My Maps” • Terence Eden's Blog
Terence Eden:
<p>Back in 2007, Google introduced "My Maps": "Easily create custom maps with the places that matter to you. Allow friends to see and edit your maps, or publish them to the whole world."

Like most Google products, it was effectively abandoned after launch - receiving a superficial update in 2014. Now it is a haven for spammers and fraudsters.
<img src="" width="100%" />
Even Google's mighty AI is unable to detect this complex spam...
<img src="" width="100%" />

How big a problem is this? Pretty big.
<img src="" width="100%" />

Each of those "My Maps" contains a link to a dodgy site delivering dubious downloads. There is, of course, no "report spam" button on these maps. Even if there were, I'm not sure I could be bothered to do Google's job for them.

Naturally, people have reported this spam to Google many times before, but Google show no signs of removing it.</p>

Oddly enough, the BBC consumer programme You And Yours had an item on the same day about <a href="">scammers who had changed the phone numbers for contacting UK Job Centres</a>: normally they are freephone numbers, but the scammers changed it so they would get paid. How? By editing details on Google map listings, which of course "Anyone can edit!"

Google's MyMaps thing has been a complete pain for years because it scales so badly: the likelihood of malicious actors is far bigger than the ability of checkers to catch them.
google  maps  spam 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Map showing where today's countries would be located on Pangea • Open Culture
<p><img src="" width="100%" />
The map's creator is Massimo Pietrobon, someone who playfully describes himself as "a famous explorer and cartographer of Atlantis," and who has taken on other experiments with maps in the past. When someone claimed that the scale of certain countries wasn't exactly right, Massimo was quick to confess on his blog, "Yes, it's just a trial, it can be better." But it's a creative start.</p>

I don't think the US would like those neighbouring countries. Then again, flights to Europe would be cheap.
pangea  maps 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Using self-organizing maps to solve the Traveling Salesman Problem •
Diego Vicente:
<p><img src="" width="100%" />
To evaluate the implementation, we will use some instances provided by the aforementioned National Traveling Salesman Problem library. These instances are inspired in real countries and also include the optimal route for most of them, which is a key part of our evaluation. The evaluation strategy consists in running several instances of the problem and study some metrics:

• Execution time invested by the technique to find a solution.<br />• Quality of the solution, measured in function of the optimal route: a route that we say is "10% longer that the optimal route" is exactly 1.1 times the length of the optimal one.

The parameters used in the evaluation are the ones found by parametrization of the technique, by using the ones provided in previous works 2 as a starting point. These parameters are:

• A population size of 8 times the cities in the problem.<br />• An initial learning rate of 0.8, with a discount rate of 0.99997.<br />• An initial neighbourhood of the number of cities, decayed by 0.9997.

These parameters were applied to the following instances:

Qatar, containing 194 cities with an optimal tour of 9352.<br />• Uruguay, containing 734 cities with an optimal tour of 79114.<br />• Finland, containing 10639 cities with an optimal tour of 520527.<br />• Italy, containing 16862 cities with an optimal tour of 557315.</p>

It gets pretty close to the ideal - within 10% on a couple. (Worse on others.) The GIF above is for Uruguay, where it hit 7.5% of the ideal.
maps  algorithms  travellingsalesman 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Want to fix gun violence in America? Go local • The Guardian
Aliza Aufrichtig, Lois Beckett, Jan Diehm and Jamiles Lartey:
<p>Half of America's gun homicides in 2015 were clustered in just 127 cities and towns, according to a new geographic analysis by the Guardian, even though they contain less than a quarter of the nation’s population.

Even within those cities, violence is further concentrated in the tiny neighborhood areas that saw two or more gun homicide incidents in a single year.

<img src="" width="100%" />

Four and a half million Americans live in areas of these cities with the highest numbers of gun homicide, which are marked by intense poverty, low levels of education, and racial segregation. Geographically, these neighborhood areas are small: a total of about 1,200 neighborhood census tracts, which, laid side by side, would fit into an area just 42 miles wide by 42 miles long.

The problem they face is devastating. Though these neighborhood areas contain just 1.5% of the country’s population, they saw 26% of America’s total gun homicides.

Gun control advocates say it is unacceptable that Americans overall are "25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries". People who live in these neighborhood areas face an average gun homicide rate about 400 times higher than the rate across those high-income countries.</p>

Amazing piece of data journalism, digging down to the neighbourhood level: gun murder is a more common act where poverty, lack of education and racial segregation are high.
maps  crime  race  guns  america 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Google Maps’s moat • Justin O'Beirne
<p>So Google seems to be creating AOIs [areas of interest] out of its building and place data. But what’s most interesting is that Google’s building and place data are themselves extracted from other Google Maps features.

As we saw earlier, Google’s buildings are created out of the imagery it gathers for its Satellite View:

And as we saw in “<a href="">A Year of Google & Apple Maps</a>”, Google has been using computer vision and machine learning to <a href="">extract business names and locations</a> from its Street View imagery:

In other words, Google’s buildings are byproducts of its Satellite/Aerial imagery.6 And some of Google’s places are byproducts of its Street View imagery... this makes AOIs a byproduct of byproducts:

This is bonkers, isn’t it?

Google is creating data out of data.</p>

A very long post with tons of illustrations. Shows that Google is definitely miles ahead through its use of satellite data, which it interprets use machine learning systems. Remarkable.
google  maps  machinelearning 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
A year of Google Maps & Apple Maps • Justin O'Beirne
<p>Shortly after I published my <a href="">Cartography Comparison</a> last June, I noticed Google updating some of the areas we had focused on:

Coincidence or not, it was interesting. And it made me wonder what else would change, if we kept watching. Would Google keep adding detail? And would Apple, like Google, also start making changes?

So I wrote a script that takes monthly screenshots of Google and Apple Maps [default maps only, no personalisation]. And 13 months later, we now have a year’s worth of images:

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

The inference seems to be that Google is adding places and altering its icons, so that it looks increasingly like Apple's - except it has more detail about places. If you like design, you'll like this analysis.
apple  google  maps 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Land ownership map • Who owns England?
<p>Who owns land is one of England's most closely-guarded secrets. This map is a first attempt to display major landowners in England, combining public data with Freedom of Information requests. To follow the investigation and help us fill in the gaps, visit the <a href="">Who Owns England? blog</a>.

The map also displays some data for Wales and Scotland, where landowners' data includes this; our project is focused on England. Investigation by <a href="">Guy Shrubsole</a>, map by <a href="">Anna Powell-Smith</a>.</p>

But of course Powell-Smith would be involved - she does great mapping/data stuff. "Overseas companies" own nearly a quarter of a million acres, in some very odd places.
uk  maps  land 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
60 years of urban change: midwest • University of Oklahoma
Shane Hampton at the Institute for Quality Communities:
<p>60 years has made a big difference in the urban form of American cities. The most rapid change occurred during the mid-century urban renewal period that cleared large tracts of urban land for new highways, parking, and public facilities or housing projects. Fine-grained networks of streets and buildings on small lots were replaced with superblocks and megastructures. While the period did make way for impressive new projects in many cities, many of the scars are still unhealed.

We put together these sliders to show how cities have changed over half a century.</p>

Lots of fascinating pictures of how things have changed - and there are more regions.
cities  maps  change 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Google Maps will now let you share your location, creating a whole new set of privacy concerns • Recode
Tess Townsend:
<p>the updates don’t mark a sweeping change as the company has been careful about how it tweaks the service. That’s because Maps is Google’s most-used app after YouTube and the fourth most used app overall with <a href="">over 95 million people accessing it every month</a>, according to comScore. Maps has become crucial to Google’s mobile strategy.

Given that, it’s noteworthy that the changes don’t include any new ways for Google to make money from Maps.

Location sharing is the most significant update. People can let anyone else know where they are by sending a text message with a link. The link can be opened by anyone, even if they don’t have the Maps app.

That could raise all kinds of privacy concerns. The links, for example, can be shared on to anyone else through a simple copy and paste, whether or not the original user intended their information to be known to a wider circle.

But Maps product manager Ben Greenwood noted there are already ways a person could share your location. “It’s also possible they could take a screenshot of where you are,” he added.

Additionally, users will be able to share their location for set periods of time, or indefinitely until they turn the feature off. People will receive email reminders every two or three weeks that it’s still on.

That level of location sharing could be a problem in an abusive relationship where one person could demand the other keep the feature turned on, making it easier for them to track their whereabouts.</p>

This sort of location-sharing has been in Apple's "Find My Friends" app for ages (in my family, we call it "Stalk My Friends"). Except you can't copy-paste a link; you have to give permission explicitly to let someone track you.

Another thought: if there are 95m Google Maps users in the US, and Apple Maps (60m users, in the linked ComScore slide deck) are used 3.5x more than Google Maps on iOS, that means 17m Google Maps users on iOS, and so 78m Google Maps on Android users. If no Google-Maps-on-iOS user uses Apple Maps, that means 77m iPhone users, and 78m Android users in the US. But that seems too close; there's surely overlap on the Apple side.
google  apple  maps 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Your understanding of the size of countries and continents is completely wrong • Relatively Interesting
<p>The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection of a sphere to a two dimensional surface created by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It became the standard map projection for nautical purposes, and although the linear scale is equal in all directions around any point, the Mercator projection distorts the size of objects as the latitude increases from the Equator to the poles, where the scale becomes infinite.

As a result of these distortions…

• Greenland appears larger than Africa, but in reality Africa’s area is 14 times greater and Greenland’s is comparable to Algeria’s alone.<br />• Africa also appears to be roughly the same size as Europe, when in reality Africa is nearly 3 times larger.<br />• Alaska takes as much area on the map as Brazil, when Brazil’s area is nearly 5 times that of Alaska.<br />• Finland appears with a greater north-south extent than India, although India’s is greater.<br />• Antarctica appears as the biggest continent (and would be infinitely large on a complete map), although it is actually the fifth in area.</p>

You already knew that Mercator was a convenient lie, but it's nice to be reminded how much of a lie. (When it's shown to children for the first time, is that fake news?) There's a clever infographic accompanying the article, with questions and answers to: which is bigger, the US (inc. Alaska) or Russia? Is Colombia smaller or bigger than the UK? Is Tanzania the same size as Germany, smaller, or bigger?
maps  mercator 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
A technical follow-up: how we built the world’s prettiest auto-generated transit maps • Medium
Anton Dubrau of Transit, which makes the Transit app:

[Our transit map of showing line intersections was] Pretty good for a Version 1. Much better than Google, seeing as you can more or less tease out where each line is going. We were ready to roll out Transit Maps! And then… Apple Maps happened.
In the summer of 2015, after having worked on our maps for the better part of a year, we were finally ready to release our first version of Transit Maps. Then Apple rolled out their transit maps, and they were really pretty.

<img src="*zd0D-1zON6rJ-nQb2jWkNA@2x.png" width="100%" />

They instantly raised the bar for what transit maps should look like. In our drawings and designs, the end goal was something similar to (or better than) what Apple subsequently released, but we were planning to get there after releasing our Version 1.

Compared to Apple, our proposed Version 1 was kind of mediocre. Our Designer-CEO decreed that beating Google was not good enough — we also had to at least play in the same league as Apple.

After closer scrutiny, we hypothesized that Apple was drawing their maps manually. There were huge lags between the release of new cities, and there was something strangely off about the way the maps looked — as though they were drawn by humans, not computers. This meant that although our maps weren’t quite as pretty, our algorithm was still ahead of theirs.

At this point, we also knew that the hard part was behind us.</p>
transit  maps 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
Parkopedia to provide parking services to Apple globally • PR Newswire
<p>Parkopedia®, the world's leading parking services provider with more than 40 million parking spots listed, today announced that it is to provide its parking services to Apple Maps.

Apple Map users will be able to view key information about parking garages and lots around the world.  In addition, users will have the option to click through to Parkopedia's website and iOS app to view more detailed information including pricing, user reviews, special offers and real-time space availability. They will also be able to make reservations.</p>

Blimey. First carpool karaoke, now this.
apple  parking  maps 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Cartography comparison: Google Maps and Apple Maps, part 1 • Justin O'Beirne
O'Beirne takes an enormously deep dive into what things Google and Apple choose to highlight on their maps (because you can't highlight <em>everything</em> and finds some fascinating key differences:
<p>It’s interesting, isn’t it? Google is prioritizing roads, while Apple is prioritizing places. And that’s why were seeing such noticable differences in the counts.

But even when it comes to places, the maps are prioritizing different things:

<img src=" /">

Above, Google is again prioritizing transit places, while Apple is prioritizing landmark places. And Apple is also showing a couple of hospitals and a famous bakery.

What’s more important on a map like this? Transit? Or landmarks and hospitals?

Each map voted with its pixels, and it’s interesting to see.

(And here we’re also seeing the argument for map personalization: Not everyone uses transit, so there might be places—such as landmarks—that are more important to some people. And when it’s life-and-death, hospitals are the most important places in the world. But how often does the average person visit a hospital? Personalized maps are better at surfacing the most appropriate places for each person; but for the default map, something still has to be chosen… and that’s what we saw above.)</p>

Google's tendency to prioritise transit stations does feel like the right one, to be honest - at least to this frequent user of public transport. But O'Beirne points out that it isn't even that simple: there are places where Google leaves out stations.

And there's a part 2 forthcoming. Definitely worth the wait if you're the least bit interested in how to visualise large amounts of information.
apple  design  google  maps 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Scientology seeks captive converts via Google Maps, drug rehab centres • Krebs on Security
Brian Krebs:
<p>Experts say fake online reviews are most prevalent in labour-intensive services that do not require the customer to come into the company’s offices but instead come to the consumer. These services include but are not limited to locksmiths, windshield replacement services, garage door repair and replacement technicians, carpet cleaning and other services that consumers very often call for immediate service.

As it happens, the problem is widespread in the drug rehabilitation industry as well. That became apparent after I spent just a few hours with Bryan Seely, the guy who <a href="">literally wrote the definitive book on fake Internet reviews</a>…

…Seely has been tracking a network of hundreds of phony listings and reviews that lead inquiring customers to fewer than a half dozen drug rehab centers, including <a href="">Narconon International</a> — an organization that promotes the theories of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard regarding substance abuse treatment and addiction.</p>

The word "<a href="">skeevy</a>" seems appropriate for this practice.
drugs  maps  reviews 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Google Maps gets a new, 700-trillion-pixel cloudless satellite map • The Atlantic
Robinson Meyer:
<p><a href="">More than 1 billion people use Google Maps every month</a>, making it possibly the most popular atlas ever created. On Monday, it gets a makeover, and its many users will see something different when they examine the planet’s forests, fields, seas, and cities.

Google has added 700 trillion pixels of new data to its service. The new map, which activates this week for all users of Google Maps and Google Earth, consists of orbital imagery that is newer, more detailed, and of higher contrast than the previous version.

Most importantly, this new map contains fewer clouds than before—only the second time Google has unveiled a “cloudless” map. Google had not updated its low- and medium-resolution satellite map in three years.

The improvements can be seen in the new map’s depiction of Christmas Island. Almost a thousand miles from Australia, the island was largely untouched by human settlement until the past two centuries. Its remoteness gives it a unique ecology, but—given its location in the middle of the tropical Indian Ocean—it is frequently obscured by clouds. The new map clears these away.</p>
maps  google  detail  clouds 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Are maps necessary? » ROUGH TYPE
Nick Carr, musing on Jason O'Beirne's post (<a href="">linked yesterday</a>) about the changes in Google Maps over the years:
<p>O’Beirne is a bit mystified by the changes Google has wrought. He suspects that they were inspired by a decision to optimize Google Maps for smartphone displays. “Unfortunately,” he writes, “these ‘optimizations’ only served to exacerbate the longstanding imbalances [between levels of detail] already in the maps. As is often the case with cartography: less isn’t more. Less is just less. And that’s certainly the case here.”

I’m sure that’s true. Adapting to “mobile” is the bane of the modern interface designer. (And, you’ll note, the “cleaner” Google Map provides a lot of open space for future ad placements.) But, when it comes to maps, there’s something more profound going on than just the need to squeeze a map onto a tiny screen. Implicit in the Google changes is the obsolescence of the map as a navigational tool. Turn-by-turn directions and automated route selection mean that fewer and fewer people ever have to figure out how to get from one place to another or even to know where they are. As a navigation aid, the map is a vestigial organ. So why not get rid of the useful details and start to think of the map as merely a picture or an image, or a canvas for advertisements?</p>

Carr has such a deliciously sardonic tone, yet deployed so sparingly and precisely, it's shocking he isn't British.
google  maps 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
What Happened to Google Maps? » Justin O'Beirne
Engrossing look at how Google Maps represents its content, and how it has changed:
<p>Let's take a closer look at a couple of areas within the Bay Area.

First, the Pittsburg / Antioch area:
<img src="" width="100%" />

2010 - Cities, but No Roads. Pittsburg and Antioch are shown — but how to get there? No roads are shown that go to Pittsburg and Antioch.

2016 - Roads, but No Cities. Roads leading to Pittsburg and Antioch are shown — but Pittsburg and Antioch aren’t labeled. Why travel on those roads? Where do they go?

On the 2010 map, Pittsburg and Antioch are what cartographers call "Orphan Cities". That is, they're cities that lack connections to the rest of the road network.

A similar situation exists with Santa Cruz:
<img src="" width="100%" />

2010 - Santa Cruz, but No Roads. Santa Cruz is shown, but it's orphaned (i.e., there are no roads going to it).

2016 - Roads, but No Santa Cruz. Four different roads leading into Santa Cruz are shown — but Santa Cruz isn’t.

On either map, it's not immediately clear how to travel between San Francisco (or any other Bay Area city) and Santa Cruz.

See the problem?

Both maps, the one from 2010 and the one from 2016, have a similar issue: a lack of balance.</p>

Would love to see a similar treatment for Apple Maps.
design  google  maps 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Fake online locksmiths may be out to pick your pocket, too » The New York Times
David Segal, with a terrific piece that uncovers all sorts of fakery around one of the real "captive market" situations – people who need a locksmith in a hurry and hit Google to find one:
<p>Today, a well-oiled system keeps young Israelis flowing to the United States for locksmith jobs. Companies beckon on Israeli employment websites such as Maka (Hebrew for “score”). Among those currently hiring are Green Locksmith, Locksmith Garage, CT Locksmith and Mr. Locks. The latter, which claims its main office is in TriBeCa, promises that employees will earn as much as $4,000 a month and says it is looking for people “who are not afraid of new things.” Like many of these companies, Mr. Locks covers itself by stating — in Hebrew and on a site that caters to Israelis — that it is looking for United States citizens.

Many of the recruits later establish their own lead-gen operations, which then recruit more talent. This has increased competition and made deceiving Google an ever more esoteric pursuit. That was evident during a conversation with Roy Alverado, the owner of Locksmith Force, the company that created the fake pink building in Sun City. He insisted that he ran an authentic local business, with trained and courteous locksmiths.

As for that fake building: “We wanted to have a store in that area, but the rents were too high,” he said. He told a web design firm to create a building using Photoshop. Actually, all but one of the buildings are Photoshop creations, since Locksmith Force’s sole physical location is in Phoenix, Mr. Alverado said. The more buildings on the site, he candidly stated, the more people would believe they were calling someone who could show up at a car or house quickly.

Mr. Alverado said those fake buildings were necessary because getting to the first page in Google results now took ingenuity and cunning.</p>

The "locksmith problem" has been well-known for years, inside and outside of Google. Trouble is, Google has little incentive to fix it; it makes money from people clicking on ads in desperation. (The headline's slightly off; there are real – not fake – locksmiths, but they're looking to gouge you if you hire them.)
google  maps  locksmith 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Mesmerizing migration: watch 118 bird species migrate across a map of the western hemisphere » All About Birds
Pat Leonard:
<p>For the first time, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have documented migratory movements of bird populations spanning the entire year for 118 species throughout the Western Hemisphere. The study finds broad similarity in the routes used by specific groups of species—vividly demonstrated by animated maps showing patterns of movement across the annual cycle.</p>

<img src="" width="100%" />

There's also a version <a href="">showing which species is which</a>.
maps  migration  science 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Apple Maps vehicles » Apple
<p>Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.

We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.</p>

As Benedict Evans points out, the blurring and publication mentions immediately point to a Street View competitor. (Microsoft also has a Street View product, as I recall, which even came before Google's.)
apple  maps 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Why rural roads sometimes have mysterious detours » Travel + Leisure
Geoff Manaugh:
<p>When the Dutch photographer <a href="">Gerco de Ruijter</a> arrived earlier this year for an artist’s residency at Wichita’s Ulrich Museum of Art, he noticed something strange while driving to a friend’s house outside of town. At several points, the rural road he was on came to an abrupt halt at a T intersection in the middle of nowhere, requiring a quick zigzag to continue on the same road. The detour could be anywhere from a few dozen yards to nearly half a mile, but, in every case, there was no visible reason why the road should shift at all. This wasn't the urban street grid of Wichita, throwing a few random twists and turns de Ruijter’s way. It was the large-scale grid of the country itself—those huge squares of agricultural land visible from airplanes—seemingly gone haywire.

De Ruijter soon learned that these kinks and deviations were more than local design quirks. They are grid corrections, as he refers to them in a new photographic project: places where North American roads deviate from their otherwise logical grid lines in order to account for the curvature of the Earth…

…“It did not take long for legislators to understand that a township could not be exactly six miles on each side if the north-south lines were to follow the lines of longitude, which converged, or narrowed, to the north," explains landscape architect James Corner in Taking Measures Across the American Landscape. "The grid was, therefore, corrected every four townships to maintain equal allocations of land.” This added up to a detour every 24 miles, from sea to shining sea. </p>
geography  maps  topography 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
How law enforcement can use Google Timeline to track your every move » The Intercept
Jana Winter:
<p>The recent expansion of <a href="">Google’s Timeline feature</a> can provide investigators unprecedented access to users’ location history data, allowing them in many cases to track a person’s every move over the course of years, according to a report recently circulated to law enforcement.

“The personal privacy implications are pretty clear but so are the law enforcement applications,” according to the document, titled “Google Timelines: Location Investigations Involving Android Devices,” which outlines the kind of information investigators can now obtain.

The Timeline allows users to look back at their daily movements on a map; that same information is also potentially of interest to law enforcement. “It is now possible to submit a legal demand to Google for location history greater than six months old,” the report says. “This could revitalize cold cases and potentially help solve active investigations.”</p>

Familiar? Exactly the <a href="">same realisation for iOS in 2011</a>, which was then quickly encrypted. Android <a href="">was already doing that</a> too.

Four years later, nothing's really changed.
android  privacy  maps 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Fantastical designs from the frontier of subway maps » Washington Post
<p><img src="" width="100%" />

For many designers, creating a better subway map is an irresistible puzzle — “infinitely alterable, incredibly vexing, with no definitive answer,” writes Emily Badger. Badger’s new article looks at some amazing examples of metro maps from the frontier of design, including the beautiful 2010 diagram of all of the rails in the Tokyo region above, designed by Kim Ji-hwan.</p>
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Google faces new round of EU probing over Android mapping apps » Bloomberg Business
Aoife White:
<p>Google faces a fresh round of European Union questions about its Android operating system for mobile devices as regulators quizzed rivals and customers over applications for maps, e-mail and other services.

The EU wants to know whether Google Maps for phones has supplanted portable or in-car navigation devices, such as those produced by TomTom NV and the HERE unit of Nokia Oyj, according to a document sent to companies and seen by Bloomberg.

Officials are also seeking data, such as user numbers, about downloaded or pre-installed mapping apps on devices, as well as costs mapmakers face to produce a mobile-ready app.</p>

Wonder how long that one will take to reach any decision. 2017? 2018?
google  antitrust  maps 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple indoor positioning app 'Indoor Survey' spotted on iOS App Store » Apple Insider
Mikey Campbell:
<p>According to Indoor Survey's iOS App Store page, <a href="">spotted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith</a>, the Apple-branded software enables indoor positioning within a venue by using radio frequency signals and an iPhone's onboard sensors.

"By dropping 'points' on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through," reads the app description. "As you do so, the indoor Survey App measures the radio frequency (RF) signal data and combines it with an iPhone's sensor data. The end result is indoor positioning without the need to install special hardware."

While not an exact match, the described system smacks of technology pioneered by indoor positioning startup WiFiSLAM, a Silicon Valley firm Apple snapped up for $20m in 2013.</p>

Google has been doing something similar since 2012 <a href="">for museums</a> and a <a href="">SLAM (simultaneous location and mapping) system since September 2014</a>.
apple  maps  google 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
I once was in Maps, but now I'm found » Unauthoritative Pronouncements
Joe Steel has some worthwhile objections to Apple Maps:
<p>One of the things I’ve found puzzling about the design of the Apple Maps interface is that you can see traffic, and travel estimates supposedly influenced by traffic, in the route overview, but no traffic information is provided when turn-by-turn is on. All the roads are tranquil, neutral tones, and a serene blue path flows before you. It’s as if you’re in a kayak, on a river, being gently pulled along by the flow of water.

That’s not true, of course, because why would there be that much water in Los Angeles?

At heavy intersections, like Highland Ave. and Franklin Ave., you see no information about the flow of traffic in any direction. Instead of blue, you should see the streets run red with the blood of the Traffic God. Woe betide thee that commute on his most sacred of poorly designed intersections!

Tonight, Apple Maps routed me down Cahuenga to Highland. That sent me past the large, somewhat famous, amphitheater known as The Hollywood Bowl. Not a big deal, unless there’s an event at The Bowl. Guess what? There was an event! Van Halen! There were orange, safety cones and traffic cops directing at intersections. Apple Maps just herp-derped me through that. The only difference in the display was the estimated arrival time slowly ticking upward as I crawled.

On exactly one occasion I had Apple Maps present me with a yellow bar across the top, and Siri’s voice notified me that there was a delay due to an accident. (No alternate routing was provided on this occasion.) Waze has a leg up on Apple and Google when it comes to accident notifications. You even get notified about which lane the accident is in. Google sources some Waze data, but isn’t as specific. On the 101 N last night there was a very sudden slowdown, without warning, at a time of night when there shouldn’t be traffic at all. I waited patiently for Apple Maps to let me know what it was, and Apple Maps was oblivious to it. There was apparently a car accident that closed two lanes, and the car was being loaded on to a flatbed truck, so it wasn’t recent. Why Apple Maps kept silent about it, I don’t know.</p>

The "not showing traffic when you're en route" question puzzles me too. And TomTom, which is Apple's data provider, does offer a (paid) service with alerts about traffic. I don't think Apple's privacy approach (it splits the route halfway and runs it under another random ID) is the cause, but it seems odd not to feed in traffic data in from other devices on the same route ahead of you.
apple  maps 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
London Collision Map Beta
<p>Discover where road traffic collisions have happened in London since 2005; then filter by year, road user, collision severity and age group.

Figures for 2014 show that the number of people Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) on London's roads fell to the lowest level since records began. Safe Streets for London, London's road safety plan, set out the ambition to work towards roads free from death and serious injury and the Mayor's new target is to halve the number of KSIs by 2020 compared to the Government baseline.</p>

Nice idea, but it's pretty hellish to use. Heatmaps might have worked better.
maps  accident  london 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Busy-ness data on Google search results » Google
Do you ever find yourself trying to avoid long lines or wondering when is the best time to go grocery shopping, pick up coffee or hit the gym (hint: avoid Monday after work)? You’re in luck!

Now, you can avoid the wait and see the busiest times of the week at millions of places and businesses around the world directly from Google Search. For example, just search for "Blue Bottle Williamsburg", tap on the title and see how busy it gets throughout the day. Enjoy your extra time!

<img src="" width="100%" alt="busy-ness data from Google" />

That's very clever. (Location data from Android phones, one guesses.)
data  google  maps 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
Uber acquires part of Bing’s mapping assets, will absorb around 100 Microsoft employees » TechCrunch
Alex Wilhelm:
Uber will acquire assets from Microsoft Bing, including roughly 100 employees focused on the product’s image collection activities. In short, Uber is absorbing data-collection engineers from Microsoft to bolster its own mapping work.

The companies confirmed the transaction with TechCrunch, but each declined to name the terms of the agreement. Microsoft handing Uber part of its operating expenses is minor, given the financial scale of the firms. The technology transfer is far more interesting.

Uber’s app is essentially a map with add-ons, so that it would want to pick up engineers — currently the hottest Silicon Valley commodity1 — isn’t surprising. And that Microsoft might want to shed some talent that isn’t precisely core to its larger platforms and productivity efforts doesn’t shock.

So that's one cost centre gone (and a nice win for Uber). One shoe drops..
microsoft  uber  maps 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Sizing up the suitors for Here, Nokia’s map business » TechCrunch
Ingrid Lunden:
One former longtime senior employee of Here estimates there are around 300 different location attributes, with corresponding historical databases, that can be tracked using Here’s technology. They include more obvious mapping and location-based applications such as driving directions and street maps, but also spatial data technology used in video and gaming applications.

“It’s incredibly difficult to get the type of mapping data that Here has. Base geometry and 20-40 road attributes are relatively easy to collect. However, to collect the 250+ attributes needed for the best navigation experience requires a combination of field teams and user-generated content,” notes entrepreneur Kurt Uhlir.

“Here has proprietary collection hardware and software that is unmatched, even by Google. Plus, they have the most extensive patent portfolio covering collecting and creating spatial content for current generation of maps and dynamic data. Here also has the foundational patents covering usage of spatial data for creating video games, movie content and the upcoming ADAS vehicle applications.”

Unmatched even by Google? Protected by patents? Such talk is heresy.
here  nokia  maps 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Where are Maps going? » Asymco
Horace Dediu, using Apple's data points about map requests per week:
In December 2012 I posted an analysis on the the cost of maps. It showed that maintaining maps requires an investment of between $1 billion and $2 billion/yr. With the addition of new features such as 3-D mapping, transit maps and thousands of new cities, the cost is likely to have increased. $2 billion/yr is probably the norm today.

Apple then could be seen as spending about $6.5/user/yr on maps and Google could be spending about $2/user/yr. To be profitable Google would need to find ad revenues of $2/user/yr and Apple would need to find $6 of profit on each phone/yr. Clearly, each of these targets is achievable.

In contrast we can see why Nokia’s HERE Maps business is now worth a lot less than it was in 2007. The asset has been for sale for some time and the latest bid  has been for $3 billion, making the $5 billion lost in market value and $7 billion of investment since seem like a catastrophe. Without a business model the data is worthless – with only 30 million users the cost per user reaches $66/yr. A buyer needs to find an appropriate model for sustaining a $2 billion/yr burn rate.

So the question of where maps are going depends on the business model for maps.

The point about the loss in value of HERE is well made.
apple  google  maps  ios 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Here's why Apple didn't want to buy Nokia's mapping unit HERE » Forbes
Parmy Olson:
Apple appears intent on fixing the problems that cropped up from relying on third-party map providers. One of the reasons Apple Maps was so buggy from when it was launched in June 2012 is the fact that its data percolated in from multiple sources like TomTom, Acxiom, Waze and Yelp

By building its own geography dataset, Apple can pare down its reliance on sources like TomTom’s TeleAtlas. Apple’s likely vision is that years from now, we’ll have forgotten about how bad Apple Maps was, because Apple will have taken complete control of its mapping infrastructure and made it watertight.
apple  maps  here 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Watch the City of London pulling in commuters from across the south east like an imploding star » CityMetric
Last week we ran some <a href="">fascinating maps</a> [<a href="">Alasdair Rae</a>] created showing the population density (and, consequently, urban area) of major British cities. Now, he's created a visualisation that shows the limits of this type of static density modelling: an animation that shows the massive population shift that takes place every day as workers commute into the City of London. 

The visualisation is based on 2011 census data showing daily commuter journeys into the square mile, London's main financial distract. It shows commuters speeding into the city's centre from as far away as Bournemouth and Margate. It's also completely hypnotic to watch: 

<img src="" width="100%" />

Now I want the commute home too...
city  maps 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Jobs at Apple » Apple
Job Summary

The Maps team is looking for a web technology expert to help make maps work seamlessly on the web. The ideal candidate will be a JavaScript expert, have in- depth knowledge of various core web technologies, and be proficient with web developer tools for debugging and performance analysis.

If you have an iOS device and use, you can use Apple Maps online to do Find My iPhone. Either Apple is looking to expand its desktop Maps so that it's not just an OSX experience, or this is just strengthening the FMI team.
apple  maps 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Breaking News: Howard University shows up as 'N***er University' on Google Maps » Seely Security
Bryan Seely:
A few hours ago, Bomani X @AceBoonCoon  updated his twitter feed with yet another one of his shocking discoveries on Google Maps.  Yesterday the world took notice when he posted an image of his Google Maps results where he found that when he searched for the keyword ‘nigga’ or ‘nigger’ , the White House would come up. Unfortunately, President Obama and his family are not the only targets of this deplorable prank. When you run a Google Maps search for ‘nigger university’ you get search results for ‘Howard University,’ a private university in Washington, D.C.

Beginning to look like we're discovering the limits of useful crowdsourcing. (Though of course the Google search for "miserable failure" of a few years ago might differ.)
google  maps 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
Nokia targeting Apple, Alibaba and Amazon in maps-unit sale » Bloomberg Business
Nokia Oyj, the Finnish company selling its money-losing maps business, is trying to drum up interest from some of the biggest names in technology including Apple Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said.
Those companies as well as Facebook Inc., a group of German carmakers, and private-equity firms are among the companies looking at Nokia’s maps operations, known as HERE, highlighting the ubiquity and utility of location-based services. Nokia is seeking more than €3bn ($3.2bn) from a sale of the unit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Bought it for €8.1bn in 2008; valued at €2bn in the accounts last year. Big lossmaker; the question is how any company that bought HERE would be able to make the purchase worthwhile in monetary terms.
nokia  here  maps 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple Maps now includes hotel reviews from TripAdvisor and » Mac Rumors
Eric Slivka:
Since the release of Apple's in-house Maps app as part of iOS 6 back in 2012, Yelp has been the company's sole partner for integrating customer reviews of businesses and other points of interest. In recent days, however, Apple's Maps app has begun including reviews from TripAdvisor and on select hotel listings.

Very slow but steady improvement. Apple Maps is getting better and better at finding whatever you want.
apple  maps 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Why Waze is so incredibly popular in Costa Rica » The Washington Post
Matt McFarland:
“It’s a nightmare.”

That’s how Eduardo Carvajal describes the Costa Rican way to give an address.

“If I want to give the address of my office I say ‘Okay, go to the ice cream cone shop in Curridabat then drive 100 meters south and 50 meters east,” Carvajal said.

He’s part of the team of volunteers who mapped Costa Rica in Waze, a crowdsourced traffic and navigation app. Carvajal, whose day job is running a software company, has made hundreds of thousands of edits to Waze’s map of Costa Rica.

Fellow volunteer Felipe Hidalgo spent 50 hours a week for almost two years helping to map the country. Hidalgo has made 378,000 edits to maps in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Cameroon, St. Helena Island, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. He described the work as addicting. Since the mapping of Costa Rica was completed, he scaled back to 10-15 hours a week.

Pity that it wasn't OpenStreetMap; then everyone could have benefited, including Waze. But as the article shows, Waze "addresses" have become part of the culture there - so much so that the government partnered with it on road closures.
waze  maps  costarica 
april 2015 by charlesarthur

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