Архив метки: Bing Maps

Google Launches Android App To Improve Its Indoor Location Accuracy

logo_Google Maps Floor Plan Marker

Google Maps, Bing Maps and a number of startups have been offering indoor maps for large venues like airports, malls and stadiums for quite a while. The problem with indoor mapping, though, is that it’s pretty hard for these companies to actually tell you exactly where you are on these maps. GPS obviously doesn’t work well in these spaces and WiFi and cell tower triangulation just isn’t very accurate. Now, however, Google has come up with a plan to improve indoor location accuracy for venues in Google Maps: venue owners who have uploaded their floor plans to Google’s mapping service can now use a new Android app to provides Google with feedback about how accurate its predictions are for their locations. All they need is an Android device (including tablets) that runs Android 2.3 or up.

Once installed, the app will tell its users where to go in the venue and while they walk, the app collects data about nearby WiFi hotspots, as well as data from local cell towers. Once it has collected and analyzed this data, Google can more reliably tell its users where they are inside the building. One specific feature that this process should improve is Google’s ability to tell you which floor you are on.

It’s a shame that Google is limiting this app to users who have uploaded their own floor plans. It would have been nice to see a fully crowdsourced version of this app that would allow anybody to help out with this project. Throw in a few gamification elements or other rewards (chances are you are in a commercial venue already, after all) and Google would have an army of volunteers in no time.


Google Launches Android App To Improve Its Indoor Location Accuracy

HP Turns To Bing For New webOS Maps App On Smartphones

webOSBingMaps

Though webOS products have been somewhat shelved going forward, there are still plenty of people out there using HP and Palm phones running the OS. For them, getting map information and directions has been quite the task with the webOS Google Maps-powered app. But today that should change, as the company has opted for a Bing Maps-powered mapping application for the OS.

This is the same Maps app you’ll find on the now discontinued HP TouchPad. According to MobileBurn, the app loads much faster, and comes with new features from Bing. For instance, users can choose between standard map view, satellite view, or birds-eye view, which are pretty gorgeous as far as maps go. The app now provides driving, walking or public transit directions, along with access to your address history and saved locations.

The new app is available for all webOS smartphones, which includes the original Pre, Veer, and Pixi smartphones. Just search “Maps” in the App Catalog and download the new app.

It’s really wonderful to see that HP hasn’t washed their hands of webOS entirely. Plenty of loyal webOS customers deserve a solid Maps application, especially since their OS of choice is on its way out the door.


HP Turns To Bing For New webOS Maps App On Smartphones

Microsoft Job Listing Hints At Locating “Every Windows Phone Device In The World”

Windows-Phone-7-maps-search

Microsoft has set out a pretty lofty goal for whomever applies to their latest job listing — they want some deeply technical people who, among other things, will help “find the location of every Windows Phone device in the world.”

Useful location-based services like “Find My Phone” and Bing Maps have been baked into Windows Phone 7 since day one, but Microsoft seems to have something slightly different in mind for their location team. The listing specifically seeks people to work on their forthcoming core location service, details of which are largely unknown.

The job listing, spotted by Neowin, does however make mention of what the core location service will be expected to do. Among the priorities for the core location team will be working on more accurate ways to determine a device’s location even without assistance from the built-in GPS. Next up on the list is solving the problem of determining a device’s position while indoors — a truly dicey one because the device usually can’t rely on GPS, and wireless network coverage can take a hit within walls.

It seems as though much of Microsoft’s focus here is building a strong team to boost the overall accuracy of their location services, and while no specific applications are mentioned, it’s easy to see how such improvements could enhance Windows Phone’s user experience. Find My Phone and Bing Maps performance could improve tremendously, and if offered to developers, core location services could make location-based apps even more accurate and more worth using.

Pragmatic causes aside, this isn’t great timing on Microsoft’s part. Their recent legal kerfuffle over storing and transmitting user location data without consent is still fresh in people’s minds, and perhaps because of that, Microsoft has already pulled the listing. The full text is reproduced below, but hopefully Microsoft gets their issues ironed out and posts it again. Better location services can only improve the Windows Phone experience, so long as it plays by the user’s rules.

“The team is looking for highly motivated, extremely intelligent, and deeply technical people to build the core location service platform. We are tasked with delivering a highly scalable service to find the location of every Windows Phone device in the world, either by assisting GPS, or by using signal-analysis techniques to compute location where GPS cannot. You will work closely with MSR and other research groups to improve our algorithms for mining large amounts of data using Bayesian analysis and other machine learning techniques. We have incredibly hard problems to solve in the coming year such as solving the indoor positioning problem as well as motion detection and relevance based positioning.”


Microsoft Job Listing Hints At Locating “Every Windows Phone Device In The World”