Geotagging Imagery and Video

IsWHERE is a log of my thoughts, reflections, and news/blog links on the emergence of image and video geospatial tagging. On May5th this year, I opened a second blog to deal with more detailed aspects of tools for FalconView and TalonView can be found at RouteScout. Trends I want to try and follow are the various disruptions resulting from spatial smart-phones, how many GPS devices are out there, smart-cameras, and other related news. And yes, I have a business interest in all of this. My company Red Hen has been pioneering this sort of geomedia for more than a decade.

So beyond a personal blog, I also provide a link to IsWHERE a shareware tool created by Red Hen Systems to readily place geoJPEG or geotagged imagery and soon GEM full motion media kept on your own computer(s) into Google Earth/Map from your File Manager media selection. Works great for geotagged images from Nikon, Ricoh, Sony, iPHONE, Android and all geo-smartphones that can create geotagged images. IsWhere - read about it

IsWhere Free Download (XP and VISTA)


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Thursday, November 29, 2007

ABI Predicts 550 Million Handsets with GPS Features in2012

Key Drivers and Latest Trends Pushing GPS Penetration in CDMA, GSM and WCDMA HandsetsContact

Shipments of GPS-enabled mobile phones will generate over $50 billion in revenues in 2008, rising to $100 billion in 2012. The market for these handsets is expected to grow from around 240 million units in 2008 to over 550 million handset shipments in 2012. At present, most current GPS-enabled handsets are CDMA devices, but increasing numbers of GPS-enabled handsets for 3G/WCDMA networks will start to appear in the market from 2008 onwards.

According to ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey, “The ongoing consolidation in the mobile industry – including Nokia’s acquisition of NAVTEQ, Broadcom’s acquisition of Global Locate, CSR’s acquisition of NordNav Technologies and Cambridge Positioning Systems, and the tussle between TomTom and Garmin to acquire Tele Atlas – gives a clear indication of the plans and commitment of industry players to address the GPS-enabled handset market.”

ABI Research believes that the mobile industry has reached the stage where we can expect to see rapid growth in the GPS-enabled handset market. From cost and technology perspectives, chipset manufacturers now have solutions in place that will allow the integration of GPS in handsets at low cost and provide significant improvements in terms of accuracy, time-to-first-fix, and reception in indoor environments. On the services side, mobile operators and navigation application developers are coming up with attractive LBS offerings. Also, handset vendors are showing greater interest not only in providing GPS-enabled handsets, but also in introducing their own GPS-centric applications and services.

ABI Research expects the market for GPS-enabled handsets to grow strongly in the next five years. In addition to major handset manufacturers such as Nokia, Motorola, RIM and Samsung, smaller Asian ODMs including HTC, Quanta and Inventec are also introducing GPS-enabled devices. The firm’s new study "GPS-Enabled Mobile Devices" examines the market landscape and future potential for GPS-enabled mobile phones. It discusses the critical business and marketing issues, as well as the market opportunities and challenges facing handset vendors, mobile operators, semiconductor vendors, and other industry players in addressing the GPS-enabled handset market.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Auto-tagging - Faces with Places

Get ready for a new era in which your camera knows not just when you took a picture but who's in it, too.

Many cameras today can detect the faces of those being photographed, which is handy for guiding the camera to set its exposure, focus, and color balance properly. But the more difficult challenge of face recognition is more useful after the photo has been taken.

That's because of a concept called autotagging, one of a number of technologies that make digital photography qualitatively different from the film photography of the past.

Tags of descriptive data can be attached to digital photos, and they help people find and organize pictures. The only problem is that tagging your photos, today a laborious manual task, is like eating your vegetables. It's good for you but a lot of people don't like it.

With autotagging, the camera attaches tags as the pictures are taken. Today, cameras embed timestamps in photos, which makes it possible to sift through pictures by date. But be honest here--how reliably can you remember exactly when you took that picture of your darling daughter a year or two ago that you'd like to e-mail to her grandparents? Being able to screen for photos only of a particular person could dramatically speed up the search process.

One camera maker willing to mention its interest in autotagging is Panasonic. "A lot of thought is going into how to tag photos so you can retrieve them at a moment's notice," said Alex Fried, national marketing manager for imaging at Panasonic's Consumer Electronics Co. But he wouldn't go into specifics: "There are things we have in the works that will help benefit consumers going forward."

And faces aren't the only aspect of autotagging that's likely to show up in cameras. Location, too, is another useful attribute that can be attached to photos through a process called geotagging. Geotagging can be used both to look for photos whose location you know and to figure out what exactly is in a photo you already have at hand.

Today, geotagging is generally a laborious manual task that requires geographic data to be merged with photos after the fact using a computer. But more power-efficient approaches will lead to in-camera GPS systems that will enable automatic geotagging, predicted Kanwar Chadha, founder of GPS chip designer SiRF Technology.

"A location stamp is much more important than a time stamp in most cases. A year down the road, you have no idea where those pictures were taken and no way to search for location," Chadha said.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

iPhone Succes to Slow Smartphone Growth Rates?

Tecnology News - Nove 13, 2007

Slowing growth rates for smartphones already are apparent. In 2005, Windsor says, consumers bought some 50 million smartphones, more than double the number purchased in 2004. In 2006, unit sales doubled again to north of 100 million units. In 2007, he reckons sales will hit about 144 million -- still healthy growth, but nearly two-thirds off the preceding years' rates of growth. In 2008 and 2009, the rate of growth will slow even more, Windsor predicts.

David Carey, head of Portelligent, a consultancy that specializes in tearing down gadgets like wireless phones to estimate their materials costs, says the more likely cost driver in smartphones over time won't be graphics chips, but flash memory. "If you took all the memory out of an iPhone and compared its insides to a Nokia N95, you'd have roughly the same cost of components," he says "The component content that is most in demand is flash chips. If everyone starts chasing the iPhone, then the costs will go up, but that will be driven more by flash."

Indeed, smartphone makers already are boosting the amount of flash memory in their gadgets. Apple eliminated its 4-GB iPhone, to offer just the 8 GB version, and 8 GB versions of Nokia's N95 and N81 are expected this week. Within a year these same phones could be sporting 16 GB, Carey says.

Geotagging Driving GPS in Cameras and Mobiles

Geotagging Driving GPS in Cameras, Laptops, Says IMS Research
November 13, 2007

Traditionally, geo-tagging has been a complicated procedure, restricting the market to hardcore enthusiasts and professional users. However, new GPS and LBS advances are enabling this market while also driving consumer growth for GPS into cameras and laptops.

As analyzed in IMS Research’s report “The Worldwide Market for GPS/GNSS-enabled Portable Devices – 2007 edition” GPS is going to be integrated in a number of portable devices, such as laptops, PMPs, cellular and digital cameras. The overall market is set to increase 5-fold by 2011, with laptops and digital cameras representing over 20% of the market.

Matia Grossi, author of the report, says “Photo sites and online communities, e.g. Flickr and MySpace, need to maintain financial growth through traffic-based business; camera manufacturers need to differentiate in an increasingly competitive market; end users need new and innovative management functionalities for their offline pictures libraries. GPS is potentially the answer”.

“Looking at the camera market, only a small number of companies have introduced real-time GPS capabilities into their high-end SLRs”. It is difficult to integrate current GPS solutions cheaply and effectively. Camera manufacturers have razor thin profit margins, so it needs to be cheap and it needs to work. A traditional hardware solution is not well suited for the digital camera space for a number of reasons, including cost, battery drain and performance. Furthermore, people expect to capture the moment in an instant and do not want to wait for 30 seconds or more to get a fix. A GPS system, targeting the camera space, needs to address all these fundamental industry requirements”.

A new software approach is being developed by NXP Software targeting the laptop and digital camera market. SnapSpot is a low cost/low power alternative that easily integrates into these devices, requiring little additional hardware (i.e. antenna, LNA and RF front-end). When taking a photo, SnapSpot captures 100ms of digitized GPS signal and stores it in memory. On downloading the photos to a PC, the location is calculated using remote servers.

Asus has already introduced SnapSpot in its US3 laptops. Currently, other laptop and camera manufacturers have caught the navigation bug, which requires a more traditional GPS approach. This has driven the recent announcements from Qualcomm and other GPS suppliers in relation to these markets. While hardware GPS is fine for laptops, it will slow initial uptake in the camera market. IMS Research believes that software-based technologies will force manufacturers to change their minds and drive uptake of GPS and geo-tagging.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

SiRF Chips Dominate

SiRF Dominates Global GPS Handset Shipments and Evolving Location Based Services

GPS World

Global shipments of mobile handsets equipped with GPS capability will more than quadruple from 2006 to 2011 because of the U.S. government’s mandate for emergency 911 (E911) capability, as well as wireless operators’ initiatives to offer LBS, iSuppli Corp. said Thursday. GPS-equipped mobile handset shipments will increase to 444 million units by 2011, rising from 109.6 million units in 2006, according to the market research firm. By 2011, 29.6 percent of all mobile phones shipped will have GPS capability, up from 11.1 percent in 2006.

iSuppli Chart - Global GPS Equipped Mobile Handset Shipment Forcast, 2004-2011

"Besides cameras, multimedia capabilities and connectivity solutions, mobile-handset OEMs increasingly are investigating the integration of GPS functionality in mobile devices as a value-added product differentiator," said Tina Teng, iSuppli wireless communications analyst. "Wireless carriers are looking at introducing various new GPS-based, revenue-generating services to increase average revenue per user (ARPU)."

Accuracy and Response Key to LBS, Say TruePosition, IDC

"Location-based services have been slow to take off in the United States, but these research findings clearly show that the U.S. market is getting good traction," said Robert Morrison, TruePosition's senior vice president of market and business development. "Due to the rise in navigation systems in cars and websites that provide directions and points of interest, both consumers and enterprises in the United States are now grasping the concept of location-based services, and they have very specific ideas about how they should work."

The study asked consumers and enterprises in the United States exactly what they want and expect from the following LBS: child monitoring, medical and senior-citizen monitoring, pet tracking, navigation, traffic, stolen vehicle recovery, social networking, local search, fleet tracking, and workforce management.

When selecting the features that were most important to mobile navigation services, people ranked the ability to use the service in dense metropolitan areas first, according to IDC. The ability to use the service nationwide was second, and re-routing was the third feature.

As for local search, more than half of consumers are receptive to advertisement-sponsored local search services, which could prove to be a significant new source of revenue for mobile operators. Local search on cell phones looks to be the low-hanging LBS fruit for the wireless operator community, but only if they can agree on a free-advertising-based business model. Only 25 percent of those surveyed would consider paying for the service, IDC said.

The survey also found that security seems to be a key factor in determining whether location-enabled mobile social networking will take off. Consumers are unlikely to subscribe to these types of services unless service accessibility can be limited to authorized users and a process is in place to keep out strangers.

Overall, consumers revealed that they were extremely receptive to location-based services, providing they perform at the optimum levels—essentially, working wherever and whenever their mobile phone worked, IDC found. The majority of the respondents wanted the services to work in several different types of environments (outdoors, indoors and in vehicles), desired sub-50-meter accuracy, and required a sub-15-second response time.

But What Do Businesses Want from LBS?

From an enterprise perspective, LBS user preferences between the three geographies were remarkably similar. Workforce management and fleet tracking services were highlighted as the most prevalent uses of LBS by businesses. Some 74 percent of respondents to the survey viewed productivity improvements as a key benefit, while 69 percent saw cost savings as another key benefits. Also, businesses ranked the safety and security of their workers as the most important feature, with ease of implementation coming in at a close second.

SiRF Technology Holdings Inc. unveiled its SiRFecosystem strategy and introduced SiRFstudio, a standards-based, end-to-end LBS platform.

SiRFstudio is designed to simplify and speed the development and deployment of location-aware applications across a broad range of mobile devices, SiRF says. It is part of what SiRF has dubbed its SiRFecosystem, a suite of tools and resources to speed development, testing, deployment and marketing of LBS applications that drive higher average revenue per user. More than one hundred companies worldwide are already participating in the SiRFecosystem LBS developer community, according to SiRF.

SiRFstudio intends to make location an intrinsic and useful part of every mobile device, combining with and enhancing applications people use the most from calling, messaging and browsing to address books, calendars and e-mail, the company says. It is a superset of the JSR-179 location (application programming interface) API, supporting multiple integrated development environments such as Java Wireless Toolkit 2.3, and offers software developers standard APIs for accessing location capabilities across multiple devices, operating systems and location technologies.

Today the revenues wireless service providers receive for voice services far exceed those they receive for data services, SiRF observes. In contrast, in the U.S. and many other countries, wire-line data revenues already exceed voice revenues, and wireless service providers are understandably eager to close this gap. SiRF believes wireless data revenues will follow a similar trend, and that location will be a key contributor in closing this revenue gap by providing a context for mobile content, the company says.

The Lowdown on SiRFstudio

SiRFstudio comprises both client and server components. The SiRFstudio thin client resides on the mobile device and provides developer-facing APIs for the rapid development and integration of location-enabled applications.

OEMs and ODMs can employ these APIs to location-enable their native applications, while third-party developers can employ them to create downloadable and browsable LBS applications as well as widgets, according to SiRF. These open, common APIs will extend across all major device operating platforms, including Java, Windows, Linux and Symbian, and are compliant with all major standards, including JSR-179, Open LS, OMA MLP and SUPL and support the Web2.0 Widget environment, including Mobile Ajax and the JavaScript runtime.

SiRFstudio Server has a multi-protocol gateway that receives requests for location data from the SiRFstudio client over any available wireless link and delivers the available location data back to it. SiRFstudio Server interfaces with most of the major geospatial data platforms worldwide, including Autodesk, ESRI, Webraska, Navitime, Microsoft, DeCarta, Telmap, Maporama, Tele Atlas and Navteq, among others, the company says.

SiRFstudio Server's location intelligence capabilities support peer-to-peer location to communicate user location with others, geo-annotation to create location-based user content, geo-publishing for location-based RSS and real-time feeds and a geo-agent for event-driven alerts based on time, location, speed, heading or motion. The SiRFstudio Server vending machine interface provides a turnkey solution for both on-deck and off-deck content distribution, the company says.