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

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."