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New Chips Promise Precise Positioning

by Matt Ball on April 9, 2012

Technology Review carries a story today about Broadcom’s innovative chip for smart phones that fuses signal inputs (GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth) with sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, altimeter) to provide precise indoor and outdoor location. A similar announcement came just last week with  the self-learning SiRFusion platform from CSR that also fuses location information from multiple technologies. With […]


Preserving Paper Maps Means Areas Without Connectivity

by Matt Ball on February 24, 2012

Flipping through the March issue of National Geographic magazine, I was surprised by this ad on page 6, with its tagline, “PAPERbecause.” The subhead that, “a lot of places worth going don’t get a signal, and hopefully never will,” probably speaks to most of the magazine’s audience. The PAPERbecause campaign is a much broader initiative […]

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Google Goggles will Spur Geospatial Development

by Matt Ball on February 22, 2012

There’s long been a rumor that Google has been hard at work on eye glasses that will stream information to the user. With a story in the New York Times today, that rumor has been verified, with details that the product will be released by the end of this year at a price point between […]


Augmented Reality Alters People’s Perceptions

by Matt Ball on February 6, 2012

The BBC have done a nice job of summarizing the possibilities, and future potential, for augmented reality in this video. The piece highlights the 110 Stories application that places a silhouetted image of the Twin Towers at the right height, in the right orientation into your smart phone, allowing you to take and share a […]


Two recent cartography graduates from the cartography program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have launched a company called Carticulate, with a  bright optimism for the future of cartography. The pair was profiled in this feature in the Minneapolis Journal, where they spoke about the democratization of cartography as well as the infusion of new tools, […]


China’s Soso Search Engine Adds Street View

by Matt Ball on December 28, 2011

China’s second most popular search engine,, has launched a street-level viewing function to their This feature currently is only available for three geographies, but more collection is underway with more areas to be added. The street-level mapping function looks very similar to Google’s StreetView. Unique to this offering is a night view that […]


Google Purchases Clever Sense

by Matt Ball on December 13, 2011

The local information site Clever Sense was just acquired by Google. The site uses Internet crawling technology to process and mine data in order to connect the online world with the offline world. Clever Sense developed technology to combine this data with data that they mine from social interactions, such as check-ins, likes and ratings, […]


Trimble Launches Custom Printed Maps with

by Matt Ball on November 16, 2011

Today, Trimble announced the launch of a new service that provides large-format printed maps via The service provides tools for the custom design of areas in the U.S. and Canad with base map options, aerial imagery, and hybrid topo and aerial photo maps. The market aims at construction, surveying, agriculture and field research fields. […]


There’s an interesting interview in The European Magazine with George Dyson in which he discusses the Internet and personal computers toward human progress. There’s some discussion about computers emerging as imaginative entities. Dyson’s reply: “I am not sure whether computers are just tools. When you look at your iPhone to get directions, are you asking […]


GeoChat Improves Self-Organized Communication

by Matt Ball on October 27, 2011

The Innovative Support to Emergencies Diseases and Disasters (InSTEDD) has developed a communication tool called GeoChat for coordinating communications between relief organizations and the local community in real-time. Central to the tool is a map interface to visualize communication in context. The tool fosters interaction that maintains shared geospatial awareness of who is doing what […]

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