With location and mapping so important in 2011, wouldn’t Microsoft love to have NAVTEQ in their back pocket? And with NAVTEQ being a well placed government contractor, it would only enhance Microsoft’s battle against Google (and to a lesser extent in our space, Esri.
Another year has come and gone and we are all huddled around the Google wondering when Santa will visit the Fee homestead. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and I wish all the best for the new year.
You may recall seeing this great visualization from Facebook last week on the links between friends. Well the creator of that graphic has blogged about how he did it using R and some amazingly simple processing. R is one of those tools that isn’t used in our space enough (really, you use Excel for analysis?) and if this doesn’t open your eyes to its great potential, your priorities are in the wrong place.
So last week Google threw down a huge hand in the bid to be the dominate mobile navigation company. Heck I can’t even remember who else has mobile navigation devices besides them anymore (though that might be the eggnog talking). It looks like Apple is going to give it a go for their iOS devices.
Apple seeks job candidates with “valuable knowledge” related to the development of navigation software, as well as “deep knowledge of Computational Geometry or Graph Theory.” Candidates are required to have at least 3 years’ experience of developing “high quality, robust software systems.”
In typical Apple fashion, they describe the work this way:
“We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way,” that job listing read. “We’ve only just started.”
Apple navigation seems like a natural progression for their hosted web services. I doubt Apple will ever do their own search as there really isn’t any way to improve on Google (Bing is trying, but really who wants to Bing anything?). Navigation though is a space that I’m sure Apple thinks they can do some really amazing stuff. Navigation devices are clunky and difficult to use. A little of the Apple design magic might lift all boats (and by all boats I mean only Apple and Google).
Well this isn’t likely, but still….
Manifold is being sued by an alleged patent troll (Google search is littered with their name and patent troll) based on some wacky patent some crazy government agency gave some Aussie 20 years ago (Isn’t that always the case?). The actual complaint is available here. You may recognize Uniloc as one of the most prolific (and successful) patent trolls around. This goofy patent seems to be the trouble. Manifold seems distracted, but this will only exacerbate their predicament. From this OCBJ article a couple months ago:
Uniloc pioneered the idea of using a 25-character product key or serial number embedded into each copy of a disk loaded with software. The key seeks to ensure there?s only one registered user per copy of the software and limit it to being loaded on a select number of devices. Uniloc?s patent only has about three years left before it comes to the end of its life. After that, Uniloc can?t sue to enforce the patent or collect royalties. We thought the timing was right to say, Well, it?s not just Microsoft,?? Davis said. Some of the biggest companies in the world began to use it.
Boy, best of luck everyone…
Invasion of the patent trolls!
So this was some really great news for those of us using OpenLayers; Bing Tiles for OpenLayers:
As of today, OpenLayers has a new layer type: OpenLayers.Layer.Bing. Why that you may ask, there is OpenLayers.Layer.VirtualEarth already. So why is this new layer type so special? It is the first time that we access tiles from a commercial service directly. Others (e.g. Google Maps) do not provide direct access to their tiles, but Microsoft does through the Bing Maps Web Services.
Yea direct tile access is pretty awesome. Bing Bang!
These new features are just the first steps in maximizing dynamic map drawing technology to create a faster, more interactive experience where efficiency really matters: mobile devices. For example, we estimate that viewing maps now requires almost 70% less mobile network data overall than before. We can’t wait to take the next steps in making Google Maps faster, more reliable and even more useful no matter where you take it.
3D Maps? Check. Offline caching? Check. Offline rerouting? Check. Wait, did they just say offline rerouting? Jebus how much is that app going to cost me? Oh right, free. Damn that is disruptive, iPhone version please!
I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted Geo-personality I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground data sweatshops!