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)


IsWhere Visitors

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3.4 Billion Mobile Phones - A marketing incentive?

Trillion with a T, the Newest Giant Industry has Arrived: the Money and Meaning of Mobile

"We have the newest Trillion dollar baby, and it is growing really fast. In this blog posting I only focused on the big picture items, and didn't even touch upon the content and services that are in this space. I'll do that in a separate blog posting soon. But yes, now the numbers to remember for 2009 - there are four billion mobile phone subscribers on the planet. That means 3 billion unique mobile phone owners, who carry around 3.4 billion mobile phone handsets everywhere they go.'

"The industry sells 1.2 billion new mobile phones every year. The phone in your pocket is as powerful as a supercomputer only 20 years ago or the laptop that is 5 years old, and the capabilities and functions grow at breathtaking speed, partly because the replacement cycle globally is down to 15 months. There are 1.9 billion cameraphones in use today.'

For the first time now, the majority of internet access is from a mobile phone, no longer from a personal computer. Also for the first time, MMS multimedia messaging, or known as "picture messaging" has more users than the total users of email.

"Meanwhile, SMS text messaging continues its climb as the biggest data application in the world, used now by 3 billion people.'

"Mobile messaging is worth about 130 billion dollars. Mobile voice is worth about 600 billion dollars. The mobile data and content industries are worth about 70 billion dollars. The total mobile services industry is worth about 800 billion dollars. The handsets business is worth about 150 billion, and the network hardware rounds out the remainder, a bit under 50 billion, to bring our total to one Trillion (1,000 Billion) dollars."

"This year 2008, Nokia became the world's largest supplier of GPS devices. Its only an added feature on premium Nokia phones, and not every user even cares to use the positioning technology. Yet its there on the phone. But when the industry ships 1.2 billion new phones - yes, 3 million new phones ship every single day, Saturdays, Sundays and all holidays included - that gives it an enormous momentum and the ability to devour almost anything it wants. Oh, how about cameras you ask? Yes that too. The first mass market cameraphones were introduced in Japan in 2001, and Nokia has been the world's most common digital camera brand since 2004. Today the phone industry has shipped a cumulative 3 billion cameraphones, and the current installed base is 1.9 billion cameraphones. 57% of all mobile phones in use on the planet are cameraphones already. Oh, the stand-alone camera industry still lumbers along, selling now a little over 100 million stand-alone cameras but did you notice, since cameraphones appeared, two of the four camera giants have quit the camera business altogether. Minolta and Konica, no more in the camera biz. Shame. My first SLR was a Konica, they made great 35 mm film-based cameras - three decades ago.."

Friday, October 17, 2008

GeoTagging GPS Accuracy

GPS Performance Standard Document Updated - GPS World

The National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) has released an updated civil GPS Standard Positioning Service Performance Standard, committing the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to an improved level of GPS accuracy for civilian signals.

It is the fourth revision of the standard positioning service (SPS) performance standards document, and the first update since October 2001. In addition to specifying GPS minimum performance commitments, the SPS performance standard serves as a technical document designed to complement the GPS Signal in Space (SIS) Interface Specification.

The most significant change in the updated SPS standards is a 33 percent improvement in the minimum level of SIS range accuracy, from 6 meters root mean square (rms) accuracy to 4 meters rms (7.8 meters, 95 percent), according to the document, which is drafted by the DoD and released through the PNT committee.

While the stated dedication to improvement is notable, it has a built-in conservative margin for minimum performance; as the documents authors note in the executive summary: "with current (2007) SIS accuracy, well designed GPS receivers have been achieving horizontal accuracy of 3 meters or better and vertical accuracy of 5 meters or better, 95 percent of the time."

The full SPS document can be found on the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing website.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Geotagging Accuracy Nikon and Nokia

Lots of interesting stuff going on concerning geotagging on the new Nikon P6000 . Also given that Nokia is churning out on the order of two to five million geo-smartphones a month, accuracy of the GPS tagged images is becoming topical. Richard's Tech Reviews while not exhaustive is a great start to at least address GPS qualities...?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Nikon CoolPix 6000 Geo-tagging Solution

This newest Coolpix camera from Nikon has a built-in GPS and Nelso's blog reviews the GPS functionality. Read the Great article on Nikon's Coolpix 6000 GPS qualities - Nelso Blog. He does a pretty good job but I believe he confuses normal GPS start-up lags as being related to the Nikon implementation when the noted lags are essentially present in all single channel GPS devices... The entry of the $500 CoolPix 6000 makes Nikon the alternate offering to Ricoh's geo-cameras. GO NIKON!

An explaining comment for Nelso's article...

Just a comment on what I believe is your disappointment regarding out-of-the-box initial turn-on to first sat lock in the Nikon CoolPix 6000.

All GPS units require two reference tables to be current and if not they must updated by un-disrupted listening to “a” satellite for a period of time. The larger table, the almanac, requires upwards of 10 minutes of uninterrupted lock on a satellite. The second, the ephermic table, needs a minute or three before precise satellite lock to be achieved. A bit of explanation -

The almanac is essentially the bus schedule that provides the essential “coarse” schedule for all satellites. Generally it must be no older than a week or three and if older it must be updated. Absence or presence of a stale almanac requires the update of this table which requires around 10 minutes of “constant lock to one satellite” to be fully loaded at the bit rates in the carrier code. Break the lock and it must reacquire and initiate refreshing of the almanac all over. So if you store your unit for more than a couple of weeks – expect 10 or more minutes minimally to regain a proper "almanac" table.

The next step to getting the "best" positional solution is the updating of the ephermic table. This is the very fine hour-to-hour resolution on the coarse almanac and accounts for things like tidal effects, day/night, and other fine tunings on the satellites’ paths. This information can be updated several times in an hour. The ephermic table is also the reason why cold starts with current almanacs can require upwards of a minute or three to properly lock and for accuracy to stabilize. This is where the a-GPS advantage can be found in certain geo-smartphones to improve time to navigating lock. These phones will hunt the ephermic table first from the carrier gaining this update via the mobile web feature… also allows the carrier to keep you locked to them as well?

Lastly, accuracy can be further improved by a differential correction that is know as WAAS. Its not available everywhere as it is broadcast from fix-position satellites - Europe and the US are covered. If present and if the GPS chip set can utilize this "very-fine" correction, GPS accuracy can be held to under three meters.. better chips-sets can be within a meter 95 percent of the time. This is really the fine tune and accounts for radio delay due to atmospheric density and other delays that vary minute to minute.

So the Almanac gets you to the bus stop. The ephermic tells you if the bus is going to be a bit early or late and the differential suggests delays due to making change or getting a long line properly to their seats.

Lastly, your point on moving a GPS several hundred miles from its last known position when almanac and ephermic are current can also confuse your unit. This lag is a result of GPS unit believing it is in the same area when it was turned off. It looks into the almanac, its clock, and then hunts for the predicted satellites based on its last known position. If it can not find those most likely satellites it falls into a search and find solution… for at least two or more satellites for a hint; this too delays the locked navigation. Giving the unit a hint can speed this up significantly… geo-smartphones use the local area code for the hint.

MidNight Mapper

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Smartphones killing PDNs?

RIM beats Microsoft Mobile - Symbian looses 10 percent


Isn’t this some good news? RIM surpasses Windows Mobile in market share for the second quarter of the year. RIM comes second after Symbian which dropped significantly from the same time last year. Amazingly Windows Mobile lost the second position although they have about the same market share they did last year.

BlackBerry is up to 17.4% from last year’s 8.9%. They have almost doubled their market share in a year. Apple went from 1% to almost 3% during the same period. The biggest looser seems to be Symbian which has lost about 10% from 65.6% to 57.1%.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Americans and their cellphones, new numbers


Sent to you by MidNight Mapper via Google Reader:


via Communities Dominate Brands by Tomi T Ahonen on 28/08/08

And continuing from my miscellaneous articles picked up during the vacation..

I read the September issue of PC Today magazine and it had some mobile telecoms stats from America. The Nielsen Company reports that the American cellphone penetration rate per capita is now 85% (still lagging almost all industrialized countries where leading countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy and Israel have per capita rates of 135%-140%). But the PC Today article gave good comparisons of how other technologies fare in America. DVD players are nearly as prevalent with 84% penetration rate per capita.  PCs are only at 80%, digital cameras at 69% and MP3 players only at 40%. Hopefully this helps wake up those who might still be asleep in America about the 7th of the Mass Media - the world's most prevalent technology is the cellphone.

There was another stat in the issue as well. The USA National Center for Health Statistics reported that 15.8% of American households has already cut the cord and have no fixed landlines, but use only cellphones for their telecoms needs. Again, this may seem like a big number (almost one in six homes in America) but of course, this also lags the leading countries quite massively. Finland has already passed the half-point with more homes relying only on cellphones than those that have a fixed landline.


Things you can do from here:


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Clear Path heading for Disaster? HP and bad dealings

The printer market isn't exactly full of the most intersting news, but it's still big money, and big money tends to bring out the worst in people -- like former HP VP Atul Malhotra, who was just charged with stealing trade secrets from his former employer IBM and emailing them to other HP execs.
Apparently Malhotra requested some confidential sales data two months before he went from the three-letter company to the two-letter one, and when he got there he hit up some other senior execs with the files -- marking the subject line "For Your Eyes Only." Yeah, that's an effective way to keep a lid on things. Malhotra was fired from HP in 2006, so all this went down some time ago, and HP says it actually conducted an internal investigation about the matter before firing Malhotra and reporting the theft to both IBM and the authorities. Sure, sure -- but we'll know what's up when the next HP AIO is running a Cell chip.

New Wintec Bluetooth GPS Handheld

Wintec G-Trender ABC integrates high-sensitivity GPS receiver, barometric altimeter and electronic compass, also provides not only a large LCD showing various dynamical information but also the data logger supporting the off-line tracking. It is the best companion for sport and recreation.

Product Features

  • GPS Receiver with latest "Atmel / u-blox Antaris® 4" GPS chipset
  • 1-4 Hertz technology
  • WAAS/EGNOS possible
  • LCD display
  • A very easy to read and user-friendly menu
  • GPS data logger
  • Trackback-Navigation with directional signs
  • Large storage space for over 130.000 waypoints
  • Photo function via freely obtainable PC software "Time Machine X"
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Electromagnetic compass
  • Thermometer
  • GPS Information (PVT)
  • Lunar and solar system display
  • Bluetooth interface
  • USB interface
  • Firmware updatable
  • Dual function: utilizable via USB data cable as well as Bluetooth
  • Mini-USB connection
  • Rechargeable and replaceable Li-ion battery (BL-5C format)
  • approx. 20 hours continuous operation when in log modus
  • Very small, lightweight, handy
  • Sturdy and rainproof design

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I have tried and tried to better understand the GPS chip count but the " industry pundits " used as sources are not much more that soggy cow-chips .

I have even gone to the horses’ mouths to try to sort out not the finite count but the magnitudes of growth. Too sensitive - fortunes and futures are at stake!

And my absolute biggest gripe is the speculation as related to so called smart-phones, the Mother-of-all-GPS uses, evolution into PDNs (or is it really PDNs/PDAs into smart phones?) for which there seems to be a rather dynamic definition that so crumbles the statistical edges that nothing or very little can be determined… with the result of FUD.

Personally I see the one-handed smart-phones versus enlightened PDAs and PDNs (also know as "I want-2-b-a-phone too!" devices) as key to really understanding what may or may not be really happening…

My personal bet is where ever you have a good digital camera the chances of having a GPS location will soon be the norm - so just count the great cameras? Too easy.. just point me in the direction of great cameras - Nokia, Nikon, Cannon, Kodak, and Apple or Google?

Smart Phones Must Have's:

  • Provide voice communication via a carrier
  • Provide Internet connectivity via carrier and WiFI/WAN (I don’t need no stupid carrier!)
  • Can be programmed by third-parties
  • Organize internally around a directory tree structures for programs and data
  • Provide removable data storage/chips
  • Include the Bluetooth halo
  • Have a good camera – better than 3mp IMHO and VGA MPEG video
  • Have good GPS – CEP less than 30m

Now the statistical chaff starts when “form/size” is included. There are two types based on size – candy-bar origami and ham-sandwiches both now exhibiting an evolving form identified as finger-fud:

One-handed – small, fits in your pocket including origami designs (which reveal a hidden keyboard) but can be and best operated with one hand and thumb – billions sold

One Hand vs Origami

Two-handed – needs two hands to operate either with touch/micro-keyboards or finger/stylus.

ham-sandwiches (size factor) like most Palm, RIM, and Microsoft OSed devices – keyboards not hidden but sometimes can be virtual – tens of millions to be sold soon

Ham Sandwiches

Both forms are evolving features I identify as finger-fud – best example is iPHONE and like derivatives (Ham-sandwich with crusts trimmed?).

So if you or your group can help normalize all of this noise we, at least this MidNight Mapper, will all appreciate your skills and clarity of purpose. Heck you might even be called over to DC to alert our government that things are happening in the GPS domain.

Lastly, there are two phone-GPS pieces really missing IMHO –

  • really cool "integrated" usability (a review of third-party GPS utilities not just maps!), and
  • accuracy of the GPS since LBS and its certain 2-come ad-$$ can be as bad as phantom clicks if the revenue models think 100m CEP versus 3m CEP is the smarter choice to deliver and charge 4 an ad?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What is LBS?

I still see the real LBS problem as how to drive and handle events. I’m not sure how the iPhone SDK will handle this, or Android, but I suspect that some really interesting ecosystem ideas could come from both Apple and Google, or possibly Nokia of course - and perhaps this is Nokia’s chance to make their first real impact as an ‘Internet company.’

Friday, June 27, 2008

PND Statistics 30.7 million units in 2007

Personal Navigation Device Sales Beat Expectations

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., June 25, 2008 - Worldwide shipment growth of personal navigation devices (PNDs) was higher than anticipated last year, with shipments reaching 30.7 million in 2007, up from 13.3 million in 2006, reports In-Stat main drivers for this growth were price declines, efficient volume availability through the retail channels during the crucial holiday season, enhanced functionality, and stronger consumer demand for navigation, the high-tech market research firm says.

“However, the PND market faces strong competition from both mobile phone handset navigation and embedded automotive navigation systems,” says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst. “In particular, vendors in handset navigation are starting to offer a number of value-added services, such as pedestrian navigation, offline navigation, and searches for local points of interest.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • Worldwide unit shipments of PNDs are expected to grow from 30.7 million units in 2007 to 68 million units in 2012.
  • PND manufacturers are integrating advanced functionality in PNDs in order to improve the price/performance value.

iPhone GPS Chipset $4.00

iSuppli estimates iPhone BOM at $173, including $3.6 GPS

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

10 Million GPS SmartPhones in 2008?

The folks at Databeans have made a guessitmate that in three years or so the collective market for GPS chip sets will approach $1.3 billion. The graph below is essentially a linear growth of 11 percent per year if their base sales statistics are well founded. What is missing though is the estimated count of chips, to me the more relevant interest. Current rumors for "chip-sets" suggest around $4-12 per set. For companies like SiRF they are attemtping to hold value by combination of additional handset integration for things like graphics and FM radio and the like. So if we use $700 million as the current best guess and $10 per chip set that makes 7 million devices which seems reasonable when the likely smartphone with GPS sales is to be at least 10 million units? So if I figure that the the cost per chip set will fall by 80 percent over the next several years... (Moore's Law?) then $1.3 billion in gross sales is going to be a HEAP of navigation opportunites! And most of them will be in your smartphone!

As mobile phone manufacturers try to keep pace with one another, this announcement may have a strong impact on GPS usage within handsets. Along with phones, GPS technology finds its other main applications in portable navigation devices and vehicles. All together, Databeans expects revenue for GPS chipsets to grow at an average annual growth rate of 11 percent, reaching nearly $ 1.3 billion in 2013. Today, Databeans estimates the market at $729 million.

With the large number of current mobile phone users and the relatively low penetration rate of GPS into phones, the handset market should drive GPS growth. In addition to the iPhone, the major handset players, Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung, all offer phones utilizing the technology. Garmin, the world’s largest GPS manufacturer has also entered the handset space, set to release its nüvifone in the third quarter of this year. In general, as consumers replace their previous phones with new models, their demand for increased functionality should lead to strong sales for GPS technology into handsets.

Databeans - Momentum Shifting in the GPS Device Market

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Open Symbian...

This is going to be talked and blogged about... The very quick story is that Nokia will buy out all of Symbian and turn that into the Symbian Foundation which will provide the Symbian OS to all interested players as Open Source. This targets both Microsoft and Research in Motion's closed mobile operating systems as well as emerging challenges from Google's Android Open OS just now delayed till sometime next year. The move to Symbian Open Source will also create lots of comparison to Apple's apparently closed code and business model.

Symbian to go Open Source

To compete with Google and LiMo on an equal footing, Symbian will also become an open-source based platform. The Symbian Foundation will make some parts of the operating system available as open-source code at launch. More code from the project will be made available over the next two years under the Eclipse Public License, according to a statement.

During the first quarter of 2008 Symbian had a smartphone market share of 57.1 percent, followed by Research in Motion and Microsoft, at 13.4 percent and 12.0 percent respectively. Linux was the fourth largest platform with a market share at 9.1 percent, according to Gartner.

Also announced on Tuesday was the formation of the Symbian Foundation, which will come into being during the first half of next year with members including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Vodafone Group. All will get access to the Symbian operating system under a royalty-free license.

The deal will unite Symbian's OS and S60, UIQ (which is run as a separate company, but owned by Sony Ericsson and Motorola), and MOAP, the software platform for NTT DoCoMo's FOMA service, to create one open mobile software platform and a stronger competitor in the battle with other platforms.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Nikon GeoTagging - Blue2CAN Nikon Review

Here's how to use geotagging to add location data to your image files.

Here's how to use geotagging to add location data to your image files.

Click for full image.

Dave Johnon

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 1:00 AM PDT

I remember showing photos of my trek through Grand Cayman to a friend a few years ago. "Where were these taken?" she asked me about a particular set of photos. "Hmm," I replied, "I don't remember. The East End, I think. I took so many photos, I can't keep track." At the time, I wished there was some automatic way to tag my photos with location information, so I'd always know where they were taken. Yet another thing I'd never have to remember ever again!

Well, my wish has come true: Geotagging is here. Geotagging is the term for adding location information to your photo files--and it's one of the coolest things ever to happen to digital photography.

The Magic of GPS

How can a camera know where it's taking photos? With the Global Positioning System, of course! The system of navigational satellites that a lot of people now take for granted also lets you geotag your photos. In a perfect world, GPS chips would be built into all digital cameras. But that's not the case right now. Instead, we need to somehow marry GPS and photography to make geotagging work.

The available solutions range from amazingly elegant to somewhat less elegant. Take Red Hen's Blue2Can, for example. In my experience, there's no better geotagging solution.

Click here to view full-size image.

Blue2Can is a thumb-sized gadget that plugs into a small port on the front of several Nikon digital SLRs, including the D200, D2X, D2Xs, and D2Hs. It communicates wirelessly to any Bluetooth GPS receiver, like the kind that sits on your car's dashboard, the clip-on GPS device that I reviewed in May, or the Pharos gadget that combines multimedia features with GPS.

Click for full image.

Blue2Can automatically tags your photos as you take them with GPS data (latitude, longitude, and altitude) that mapping software can read. Take a few pictures with Blue2Can attached to a Nikon camera, then upload them to your Flickr page, for example. Flickr adds a "map" link to each picture--click it and you can see where it was taken. Even cooler: You can view all your photos as pushpins on a map, so you can go on a virtual tour of that Grand Cayman vacation.

Manual Geotagging

But what if you don't have a Blue2Can-compatible Nikon camera? You can add location info after the fact. To do that, carry a GPS receiver with you while you shoot, and then use a program on your PC to synchronize the GPS data with your photos. RoboGEO is a clever program that can read the log from your GPS receiver and mark all your photos with the appropriate locations. And Sony has a gadget custom-designed for just this sort of track-your-movements photo duty, the GPS-CS1.

It is a pretty simple process, but it does involve an extra step to batch-process all your photos when you get them home.

Click for full image.

If you aren't quite ready to step into the world of GPS, there are ways to mark your photos with locations manually. In Flickr, for example, you can display a photo and click the link labeled "Place this photo on a map" to pick a location off a map by hand.

It's not as glamorous as letting a billion-dollar military satellite system do it for you, but the end result is the same: You and your friends can see the photos were taken.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blue2CAN Review

Review of Red Hen Blue2CAN GPS Unit

Ruth Happel/Wild Portraits

The Red Hen Blue2CAN unit is one of the latest emerging technologies allowing photographers to encode GPS data with their photographs. I have earlier explored the many reasons why this is important (see for more details on GPS and photography), but the most obvious is the ability to sort photos by not only time but place.

As an early adopter of combining GPS with photography, I am always looking for the ultimate solution in allowing me to collect location data automatically with my photographs. I have had the pleasure of using the Red Hen Blue2CAN for the past month, and can fully endorse it. My early adoption of GPS units with my Nikon D200 has kept me searching for the optimal geotagging solution, and this latest unit from Red Hen is a welcome addition.

The Blue2CAN is a BlueTooth unit, and locks onto signals relatively quickly. The Red Hen unit works automatically with many Nikon DSLR cameras, including the D200, D2X and D2Xs), D2Hs, D3 and D300. It connects to the Nikon 10-pin remote on the front of the camera. It is also necessary to have a BlueTooth GPS receiver, as the unit connects to any nearby GPS receiver. If for some reason you have 2 BlueTooth devices, simply move one out of range (approximately 30 feet) until the desired unit connects to the camera, and then it stays locked on.

When first attaching the unit, the camera should be off. Once the camera is turned on, the light on the unit will flash 3 times, then search for a GPS unit. It continues to search at 20 second intervals until it makes a connection with a GPS. In field testing the unit, it locked on slightly faster than other units I have been using. In my experience, it kept the signal reliably, as long as the GPS unit is located within about 30 feet. Once it has locked on, it stays locked, allowing very fast startup.

It is a very small, measuring only about ¾"by 3/8". Unlike other units I have been using, it plugs right into the 10 pin connector, requiring no bulky mounts or cables. It is therefore by far the easiest of any unit I have ever had, adding a minimal footprint to the camera. Another major plus is its battery usage. I have found with other units that my camera is drained quickly when I leave the GPS unit attached, even when the camera is turned off. With the Red Hen unit, I have seen very little difference in battery life with the unit attached, so I have just left it on all the time, ready for instant use.

In practice, the Red Hen is very easy to use. In setting up the properties, through the menu, I simply enabled the Auto Meter function. Since the unit is designed to work with the Nikon technology, this then ensured all my pictures were stamped with the GPS data.

After a month of using the Blue2CAN, I can honestly say it is my new favorite GPS technology. It is so light and easy to use, I am really happy to be free of all the previous contraptions I have had connecting the GPS to the camera. This, combined with its significantly lower battery usage, make this unit a real winner. I strongly recommend it to anyone considering integrating GPS data with photography.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

iPhone takes Third Place

Apple Insider helps with some insider data from Gartner who reports on Apple's emerging position in smart-phones... the table below is World Wide market share... 14.5 m for Nokia, RIM increases to 4.3m and Apple's single entry grabs 1.7 million units in the first quarter. And rumor is that the next version of the iPHONE is going to be first available in Australia via Telstra and its Next-G system exclusinvely as well as in Asia. Some pundits are suggesting that Apple will grab upto 25 per cent of the smart-phone market share in 2008 - assuming neither Nokia nor RIM nor Microsoft does anything.

Apple no doubt is doing a great job leading competition to do more. I started with an Apple II, then a Lisa, followed by a Mac but as way leads on to way I now use Windows and Vista - need software and clients that mac I like Nokia equipment historically but if given a chance I think I will jump to an iPHONE just to better understand what will be possible. Like I suggest in the blog item below the internet connection is important but all smart phones connect. It is widely rumored that the next iPHONE will have a 3 megapixel camera not all that exciting but how they implement it will likely be. Most of Nokia's newest smart phones have increasing better features in the camea as well as 5 megapixel resolutions. And lastly the GPS function, nothing really exciting I will expect for the pending iPHONE there either.

But it will be the iPHONE zen and Jobbs magical presentations that hook our interest and pocketbooks... I will be getting one but I will not loose sleep on the street just to carry one!

And soon we will see Android devices show up... thisn is getting exciting! I just hope my SIM card shifts around without issue?

And some recent news from Symbian and Smart Phones....

With analysts predicting smartphone shipments to reach approximately 30% of all mobile phone sales by 2013 (ABI Research, March 2008) and with 2007 estimates of around 4 million navigation solutions sales based on GPS-enabled smartphones - the majority of which were based on Symbian OS – we also announced the most advanced mobile OS LBS architecture at CTIA. With this new technology, handset manufacturers do not need to invest separately in developing location support, dramatically reducing the time it takes to create GPS-enabled devices, while developers can cost-effectively target their LBS applications across multiple Symbian OS platforms. Mobile phones featuring Symbian’s LBS offering were recently launched in Japan.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Smartphones - not a cheese sandwich

In 2007, worldwide smart-phone sales to end users grew 52.5% compared with 2006, reaching 122 million unit sales. 4Q07 was the strongest quarter on record, with sales up 50% year over year. Gartner - March 2008

So at this moment in time, June 2008, the best guess on total smart phones to be sold in the first two quarters of '08 would be something like 75 million units. What makes a smart phone? Well its all of the mobile phones that are not PDA-like - meaning if it looks like a large piece of bread when holding up to your ear (like a lot of the Microsoft Mobiles) its not a "smart-phone". A bit of a wobbly statistic qualifier I know but reasonably accurate IMHO.

That large classification behind us, I would then divide the world into to one handed smart-phones versus two-handed. RIM, Microsoft, and Apple are the essentially players in two-handed phone use so that is one group... maybe 30 percent of all smart-phones out there. And Android will likely further fragment that group mostly at the pain of Microsoft. Nokia's are essentially one handed smart-phone designs and have say 45 percent of all smart phones and only bit play in the two-handed domain. That leaves the remaining smart-phone players with 25 percent of worldwide smart-phones as mostly one-handed designs.

What is of common to the smart-phones...? They all connect to the Internet and have the potential to by-pass legacy phone connect services - hmmm pretty smart. All have cameras, some better than others (3 mega-pixel is so last month) and all but the less-smart-phones now have GPS. And if you are really a smart smart-phone user, your smart-phone has WiFi too! Nothing like getting your GB at a discount when your can!

Gartner's reports average $1500 a copy so you have to watch the smoke signals. And the smoke signals suggest the following to me:

Nokia dominates the category called smart-phones everywhere but in the US were it just does not yet have much market share. That is going to change as 3G really takes hold in the US in a significant way over the coming year. Currently, in the US RIM dominates as the defacto of the smart-phones followed by Apple iPHONE (wahoo!). World wide iPHONE is way back in the pack in count but likely number "uno" in passion and most-desired factors - it ain't no sandwich up against your head!

And I will really stretch out on this one... Symbian is no slouch OS... but what they do for two-handed smart-phones is yet to be seen? Apple is to die for but it will always be Apple's... Android, is a dark horse that will keep all the OS players honest but my suspicion is that the carriers are also going to be just a "bit" wary of Google's gift... somewhere in Google's "do-no-harm" the carriers will loose control and just be a bit-player in the big Ethernet?

And FYI... From Gartner via Computerworld's budget/leverage....

June 6, 2008 (Computerworld) While much of the attention in the U.S. smart phone market is on the next-generation iPhone, which is expected to be revealed by Apple Inc. on Monday, the global leader for smart phone sales is still Nokia Corp., analyst firm Gartner Inc. said in a report released today. Nokia had 45.2% of the worldwide market in the first quarter, followed by Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of BlackBerry, with 13% and the Apple's iPhone (first generation), with 5%, was third, Gartner said.

In the U.S., RIM was ranked No. 1, at 42% for the first quarter, while Apple was No. 2, at 20%, Gartner said. Earlier this week, research firm IDC reported similar findings, putting RIM in the U.S. at a 44% share and Apple at a 19% share.

Gartner found that RIM's global market share increased to 13.4% in the quarter, up from 8.3% in the first quarter a year earlier. The iPhone was not shipping until June 2007. Nokia slipped slightly to a market share of 45.2% this year from 46.7% in the same quarter last year, although the total number of units shipped rose from 14.5 million units in the quarter, up from 11.6 million in the first quarter of 2007.

Globally, total smart phone growth in the first quarter grew 29%, making up 11% of all mobile devices sold. Sales in the first quarter totaled 32.2 million units, Gartner said.

In Europe, Middle East and Africa, growth was 38.7% in the first quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2007, with 11.7 million units sold, Gartner said. Nokia is especially strong in Europe. By comparison, smart phone sales in North America were up 106% in the first quarter compared with the first quarter a year ago, with a total number of 7.3 million units sold.

Smart phone growth was driven by buyers replacing older phones, but also by new devices with touch screens and a variety of new applications, Gartner analysts said. Growth in the smart phone segment is expected to continue as more open-platform devices are announced, such as Android-based phones, they added.

Despite an economic downturn, the smart phone market continued to expand in the U.S., driven by lower-cost devices and heavy advertising and marketing, said Hugues De La Vergne, a Gartner analyst. Wireless operators in the U.S. and Canada are also giving the smart phone devices their attention, since they can provide higher revenue per user than more traditional devices, he added.

Globally, the fourth-ranked smart phone in sales was a tie between Sharp and Fujitsu, each with 4.1%, Gartner said. All other smart phone makers had nearly 28% of the market, but Gartner did not specify which devices. Microsoft Corp., maker of the Windows Mobile operating system, contends that Windows Mobile smart phones have the largest share globally, but their numbers are not included by either IDC or Gartner because they are sold across four device-makers and include ruggedized devices

Thursday, June 05, 2008

2.8 Billion Mobile GPS Devices in Four Years!

Worldwide shipments of GPS-integrated mobile devices will grow at an annualized rate of nearly 40% over the next five years, reaching 834 million units in 2012, according to Parks Associates' new report: "GPS: A Path to New Applications on Mobile Devices".

The report looks at a variety of mobile devices, including personal navigation devices (PNDs), mobile handsets and smartphones, portable media players, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). “Mobile handsets and smartphones will constitute the majority of shipments up to 2012, but PNDs will remain the most widely used and preferred navigation choice in the next three years,” said Harry Wang, senior analyst, Parks Associates.

"GPS will come to your mobile handset as a standard feature, but mobile carriers are still a couple of years away from turning GPS into a money-making, mass-market feature," Wang added. “Currently, consumers prefer PNDs thanks to the combination of a bigger screen, more versatile functions, and growing affordability”.

"The use of navigational services on mobile phones will lag behind adoption of PNDs and GPS-integrated handsets in the near term, [but] carriers can boost consumer interest and usage by developing flexible and innovative services and revenue models."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Flickr - Break Up or Microsoft?

My note just below on the 45 million geotagged images of an estimate one billion(?) images now within Flickr caused me to pause a bit and consider what Microsoft might be after. Is their interest like a hostile take-over where selling off all the individual parts is far more valuable than the aggregated company or does Microsoft really see additional merit in Yahoo's "absorption"? If break-up value is the driving merit, who might want Flickr? As far as I tell there is no revenue model on Flickr? Would Google want billions of images? I understand Yahoo and Google have been talking about some sort of business model? Hmmm.... interesting?

One critic on the digitial imagery scene thinks Flickr might have a value far beyond its social-web merit. Seems to beleive that the pool of images might be linked to some sort of royalty payment for use? (Pay attention!) I cut out a couple of paragraphs that interested me... the ariticle offers some interesting insights on Flickr - read on.

Pulling the Flickr sword out of the Yahoo stone
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dan Heller

In today's New York Times, this article talks about Yahoo's cutting of 1,000 jobs due to its dwindling revenue and profits. Jerry Yang has said that it will focus all its resources on three objectives: "becoming a starting point for consumers on the Web; making the company a top choice for marketers seeking to place ads on sites across the Web; and opening Yahoo's technology infrastructure to third-party programmers and publishers."

Yet, the article also had this very understated snippet: "the company has said it would de-emphasize or shut down a number of other services, including photos, podcasts and a largely unsuccessful social network."

The obvious question is, what does this mean for Flickr? But the answer is complicated by an obvious observation: Flickr is rarely ever mentioned in any news stories about Yahoo.....

In any event, the conversation went pretty simply: Flickr is really regarded as a completely autonomous tech group with no orders or objectives to do anything other than be a fun place for people to come and socialize about their photos. They have no financial responsibilities back to the mother ship, and Stewart is free to do whatever he wants with no long-term objectives. When I asked whether there was any plans to ever get into licensing or other forms of monetizing its content, he said that Stewart has thought about it, but they are enjoying what they're doing too much and such a move has dubious financial returns in a market already dominated by other very successful companies.

Flickr Geotagged Images Statistic

April 8, 2008 - So now we have around 45 Million geotagged photos... on Flickr

Dan Catt works for Flickr. He also works on Maps.

I have been trying to keep track of aggregated geotagged images on Flickr and other image sharing sites. Flickr "used" to provide the total count when you opened up maps but apparently that feature has been eliminated. I was looking at some of the like technology over on the Microsoft zone and I have to wonder if they are successful to buy-up Yahoo what will happend to Flickr? New maps and dump the old API for their's? Indeed, times they are a-changen?

Based on some of the legacy stats in this list, I would guess that Flickr add around a million geotagged images a month. Wish I could figure out the same for growth. I would suspect that the emergence of smartphones with geotagging on-board are starting to really kick up the interest and growth rate?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blue2CAN Updated - faster, lower power use, better geotagging


You asked, and we delivered!

The firmware in the Blue2CAN has been re-architected, Rev C, to enhance the functionality and improve compatibility with various types of Bluetooth GPS units. WAIT! What if you have the earlier version of the Blue2CAN? Contact for more information.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

GeoTag Icon

What's this all about in a nutshell?

The Geotag Icon is intended as a web "standard" icon for identifying geotagged content to humans.

The advent of inexpensive GPS devices and free tools like Google Maps or Flickr Map mean that more and more people are associating their content (typically blog posts or photos) with a specific geographic location. Such "geotagging" stores coordinates within metadata or microformat tags—where machines can find them but people can't.

That's where the Geotag Icon comes in. It provides a visual reference to a map link, or if no link is yet made helps viewers recognize the geographic relevance of the content.

It's free, easy to use and helps us all visualize the developing semantic web.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

geoMobile Services $13 billion by 2013

Mobile Location Based Services Revenue to Reach $13.3 Billion Worldwide by 2013

LONDON - April 3, 2008

Contact: Nicole Fabris
Contact PR

After years of hype, mobile Location Based Services (LBS) are finally gaining traction among wireless subscribers. This growth is driven on the supply side by WCDMA and GSM handsets increasingly joining the many CDMA-based devices that incorporate GPS capabilities; and on the demand side by surging consumer interest in personal navigation functionality. According to a new report from ABI Research, LBS revenue is forecast to reach an annual global total of $13.3 billion by 2013, up from an estimated $515 million during 2007.

Personal navigation, although expected to remain the most popular consumer application over the next several years, won’t be alone: friend-finder, local information searches, family tracker applications, and enterprise applications (including workforce tracking and fleet management), will all find niches under the LBS umbrella. Friend-finding is anticipated to be the next service launched for mass consumption.

ABI Research industry analyst Jamie Moss says, “Personal navigation and enterprise services are projected to be the highest revenue-generating services of the five LBS categories profiled, and are forecast to be worth about $4.3 billion and $6.5 billion respectively, per annum, by 2013.”

“The interesting thing about the LBS content-producing sector is that much of the information is already available,“ Moss continues. “It’s a win-win situation for content providers: they already have established markets for their map and POI data (automotive and telematics), and LBS is yet another that could potentially provide them with considerable additional licensing revenue.”

However there are still important service-related developments needed to ensure LBS’s future success. The wider availability of all-inclusive data tariffs will spur service usage, which will in turn reduce users’ concerns about how much data value-added services like LBS might consume.

Perhaps the most important development will be the cross-network interoperability of services. Once services provided by one carrier are capable of seamlessly incorporating users from other networks, then the usage of LBS will be driven virally by the desire to respond to and interact with friends and family on other networks.

ABI Research’s “Mobile Location Based Services” examines the market for high-accuracy LBS, focusing on the applications side of the industry. It examines service deployments, providing projected levels of uptake and revenues for five key LBS types. It includes summary profiles of the market-leading LBS-enabling companies, and forms part of three subscription Research Services: Location Aware Services, Mobile Devices, and Consumer Mobility.

ABI Research is a leading market research firm focused on the impact of emerging technologies on global consumer and business markets. Utilizing a unique blend of market intelligence, primary research, and expert assessment from its worldwide team of industry analysts, ABI Research assists hundreds of clients each year with their strategic growth initiatives. For information, visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Blue2CAN GPS and Nikon D Series Cameras

Red Hen Blue2CAN for Nikon D3 and D300 GPS cameras review
Article by Mike Barrett
March 29, 2008

Pocket GPS World

Last year Nikon announced the latest in their range of Digital SLR cameras, the D3 and D300. These are targeted at the top of the range with a price tag of £3400 for the D3 (yes that is three thousand) and a slightly more affordable £1300 for the D300.

Red Hen Systems have produced a tiny Bluetooth adapter that connects to a bluetooth GPS and transmits the GPS data to the camera: the Blue2CAN. The Blue2CAN retails at $279 USD.

Both new Nikon cameras have a special 10 pin connector which amongst other functions allows you to connect a GPS to the camera. This then provides a NMEA datastream from which the camera can extract the positional information and stamp the image meta data with the location that the picture was taken.

In the last year I have reviewed a number of GPS systems that offer a mechanism to match GPS tracks to digital photos. Whilst these do work they add an additional step into the workflow and the possibility of errors creep in with each additional step. The beauty of this system is to have the camera stamp the image when the shutter is pressed.

To get started the Blue2CAN and your Bluetooth GPS need to connect to each other. Technically this is known as pairing.

The Blue2CAN should be attached when the camera is switched off. As soon as you switch on the adapter's LED will flash 3 times within a second and will then start looking for GPS devices. If it doesn't find a Bluetooth GPS then it will go to sleep for 20 seconds and then search again. This will continue until it manages to pair with a GPS. There is little feedback during this process and it can be a little disconcerting whilst waiting for it to happen.

Once paired you need to tell the camera to record the GPS position with the image. This is achieved by pressing the menu button, selecting GPS, then "Auto meter" then select "enable".

I was amazed how simple Red Hen had made this process. The main issue with Bluetooth devices is getting them paired, for some reason it is either simple or very complex. I am fortunate enough to have over 20 different Bluetooth GPS receivers and in my tests only 3 failed to connect to the Blue2CAN. These were a Globalsat BT-359, a B-Speech GPS 20C and Evermore BT GPS receivers. I suspect that this is because they need a passcode to pair.

Another interesting feature is that even if the camera is switched off the Blue2CAN will still remain active and paired to the Bluetooth GPS receiver. This enables it to instantly have the connection when the camera is switched on, a great idea! Unless of course you use the GPS with a phone or a PDA. The GPS can only connect to one device at a time. It took me a while to work out what had gone wrong with my PDA navigation, with my camera in the boot of the car the GPS was still connected so my PDA couldn't get a connection. I overcame this by luck by switching the GPS off and on again.

Although the Blue2CAN is constantly powered whilst connected I found there was more than enough power in a charge to take hundreds of pictures over a 3 day period (some including the built in flash) and still have about 30% left in the battery.

The Red Hen Systems Blue2CAN is a Bluetooth adapter for the high end Nikon digital cameras allowing the connection of a Bluetooth GPS receiver. The compatibility of the adapter was impressive, working seamlessly with a huge range of Bluetooth GPS receivers.

The installation and setup is simple and required no technical knowledge. If you are capable of operating one of these Nikon cameras then you are well over-qualified to set up the GPS for the camera.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mommy, I want an Android!

PND increasingly loosing their future to Smartphones

Just assume that all mobiles being sold in the US currently have GPS buildt-in... and that adverstment ain't going to pay the bills... or "Mommy, the screens too small!!! I want an Android!"

SAN FRANCISCO — The rising availability of connected portable navigation devices (PNDs) and continued growth of location-based services were big topics at the GPS-Wireless 2008 conference here.

To make a point about where the market has gone in 10 years, Marc Prioleau, deCarta's vice president of marketing, held up a bulky, mid-1990s-era PCMCIA card with integrated GPS. "At Trimble, we sold about 10 of these. Now, companies like Nokia have GPS integrated into 35 million devices," he said.

Services available on the mobile phone, such as navigation, will continue to be one of the market drivers for LBS, said Doug MacMillan, Nokia director of technology insight and promotion. "It's going to be clearly about services. Right now, we have about 40 percent market share," he said. "In North America, there will be 85 percent of phones [with navigation capability]. That number is about 50 percent in Europe and 10-15 percent in Asia."

The sale of advertising around traffic information has been a $300 million-a-year business for Westwood One, said Bill Martin, the company's senior vice president for interactive traffic services. "When we expand the model into the telematics space, the automobile is one our biggest single [markets]," he said. "What doesn't help the market is some of the interfaces that most drivers see. When selecting a specific route, seeing an icon on a 2.1-inch screen isn't the best option, as it is not actionable. The interface has to allow the driver to make a decision."

My conclusion... Google's future will be in your hand with a screen just big enough...

One Billion GPS Chip Sets by 2011 - SiRFs UP?

In a report published today ABI Research forecasts one billion GPS chipsets will be shipped annually in 2013. According to ABI Research, in 2007, SiRF held a commanding 70% share of the GPS IC market. "It achieved this by getting in early and aggressively targeting the market for consumer devices: while professional GPS has been around for some time, it is a much smaller and slower-growing market segment", explains the report.

Industry analyst Jamie Moss comments, "Three factors will intersect to shape the future of the GPS IC market. The average price of the chipset will fall to $3.50 or below by the end of 2008, permitting a true mass market adoption. This past fall ASP is driven by manufacturers' goal of producing receivers that can be included in lower-margin devices such as mobile phones: handset-based GPS will be critical to strong market penetration. The benefits will filter down to more traditional GPS uses such as in-car navigation. Meanwhile, we're seeing growing numbers of acquisitions: large chip manufacturers buying up specialist fabless GPS IC vendors in order to include their technologies in solutions that combine GPS with varied wireless RF product offerings, especially Bluetooth."

ABI's interest in GPS fabricators suggests manufacturers of personal navigation devices are facing continued stiff competition and will likely seek to stand out in the market by adding speech technology, multimedia capabilities, 3D map content and other features to their products. ABI Research predicts worldwide sales of these convergence devices will surpass more than 100 million units by 2011. Examples of such acquisitions in 2007 include Global Locate, acquired by Broadcom (June); GloNav by NXP (December); and u-Nav by Atheros (December). Additionally SiRF acquired Centrality to integrate System on Chip (SoC) solutions in its product range and u-blox went public on the Swiss stock exchange.

"In terms of absolute performance," says Moss, "there's not a lot to choose between rival manufacturers. To win important contracts the chipset must be as inexpensive as possible and as easy as possible for device manufacturers to integrate with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM radio and cellular solutions. As it was with Bluetooth, there is no great proactive consumer demand for GPS in mobile phones today, but once it's there, people will use it and expect it."

The dominance of Mobile phones that increasingly offer GPS as a standard feature has driven SiRF to play the commodity game as new entrants erode their legacy domination of the GPS chip supply. They took a significant hit in their stock due to this increase competition. But they have an answer that could shift the opportunity back their way in a few quarters.

In February Sirf announced a new GPS chip design, the SiRFprima platform. SiRFprima is a technical jump in that it combines an industry leading GPS/Galileo location engine, powerful application processor, rich audio and video recording and playback capabilities, high-resolution 3D graphics and a host of peripheral interfaces - all tuned to operate concurrently. Playing to the smartphone manufacturers, it supports both WinCE and Linux operating system environments which suggests SiRF intends to play with Google's Android handset.

The SiRFprima platform includes an ultra-high-speed, multifunction processor comprised of an advanced ARM11 core, a high-performance location engine that supports both GPS and Galileo satellite systems and an on-chip DSP. It also includes hardware-accelerated 3D graphics and multimedia encoding and decoding engines based on the gaming-grade PowerVR MBX 3D graphics accelerator core, vertex geometry processor and PowerVR MVED1 video encode/decode accelerator from Imagination Technologies. The SiRFprima multifunction processor delivers SiRF's renowned, industry leading, GPS-enabled location performance, featuring 64 channels with -161 dBm sensitivity. The hardware scalable location engine, with more than 1,000,000 correlators, is among the first capable of working with both GPS and Galileo signals simultaneously. Additionally, the SiRFprima processor has been specifically designed to support SiRF's proprietary GPS technologies, providing, for example, a dedicated accelerator for the SiRFInstantFixII(tm) technology.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wintec's Affordable PDN - the WGS-1000

Wintec WGS-1000

Wintec Tiawan has recently added a nifty new handheld GPS device, the WGS-1000. It is the grown-up replacement to an earlier device, the WGS-100.

Brand new to Europe its March'08 release is just now getting attention. The suggest retail is around $100 euros or likely $150 US. Depending on how its functions and screen are used it has very good power longevity of up to 20 hours as a data logger. And data logging is 130,000 points/bread-crumbs large that can be set at time or distance interval logging is quite impressive. The WGS-1000 can be set at rates of up to 4 hertz. Built on a ubox chipset it has well know sensitivity as well as corrected accuracy via WAAS and EGNOS. The WGS-1000 also includes some great sensors: compass, barometer and thermometer. It can be interfaced via either Bluetooth or via a mini-USB connector that doubles as a charging port.

With included software the device's setting can be set, photos geotagged, and tracks downloaded and converted to KML for placing into Google Earth.

  • High Sensitivity Atmel / u-blox Antaris GPS chipset
  • 1 - 4 Hertz epochs setting WAAS / EGNOS
  • LCD display with easy menu structure
  • GPS Data Logger 130,000 points
  • Various screen selections:
    • Navigate, Satellite info, TrackBack, Performance
    • Lunar and Solar Sunset/Sunrise Lunar phase Display
    • TrackBack Feature with Directional "steer-to" display
  • Barometer
  • Electro Magnetic Compass
  • Thermometer
  • Bluetooth and mini-USB connection
  • Rechargeable, replaceable lithium-ion batter (BL-5C format)
  • 20 hours of continuous data logging
  • Water resistant

Wintec may have an entry-GPS winner this time around. While essentially a datalogger with a minimalist PND interface, the WGS-1000 will offer strong competition to entry solutions from Garmin like their Gekos and Colorado handhelds that cost four to five as much.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008