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LBS & tourism through the eyes of a postgrad marketing student in New Zealand.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

An onslaught of LBS news

The power to follow your every move (New Scientist subscription required)
"Later this year the first four satellites of a rival system called Galileo will be launched. Galileo is a European project set up by the European Commission and the European Space Agency, and is designed to be more accurate, powerful and reliable than GPS, with more satellites - 30 in total - stronger signals and a range of commercial services for different needs. Galileo will also incorporate GPS signals, almost doubling the size of the system. The most significant difference, however, is that Galileo will be a purely commercial enterprise.

The imminent availability of a reliable, fast and accurate satellite positioning system dedicated to commercial users brings the scenario outlined above much closer to reality. This week specialists from areas as diverse as academia, security, surveying and government will meet at the UK's National Physical Laboratory in south-west London to discuss the social implications of Galileo once it goes live in 2008. And while it's impossible to know what the "killer application" will be, the consensus is that Galileo will finally allow satellite positioning to fulfil its potential. It could, some say, have as big an impact on the world as cellphones, PCs or the internet."
Unfortunately you do have to have a proper New Scientist subscription and login to read the full article, but basically it talks about Galileo's possible applications, and how it could really spur location-based services forward. If you would like to read the full article, drop me a line and I'd be happy to email it to you! =)

Discrete Wireless' GPS Teen Tracking Device
"One teen who wished to remain anonymous said, "At first I didn't like it, but I soon realized that it gives me a way out of doing things that I really don't want to do. It eliminates peer pressure. I tell my friends that my parents can see everything we do, and everywhere we go in my car, and my friends don't ask anymore."
Is it just me, or does this quote (and indeed the entire story) seem a bit dodgy? Sorry, but I still don't buy into the child/teen-tracking thing at all. Like Russell Buckley has said before, you can't push the responsibility of parenting onto technology in this way. Teenagers will always find a way to get around such 'controls', and it totally defeats the purpose of what good parenting should be about - trust. Yet more and more firms seem to be trying to make money off paranoid people. To prevent teens from drinking & driving or speeding, it's up to the parents to educate them properly and build a relationship of mutual trust - spying with technology won't work, because if they really want to act out, they'll just use their friend's unbugged car, or disable the device in their own vehicle! Hopefully parents will actually realise this too...

Node Explorer upgrades GPS tourism with WiFi, Linux (also see the detailed Telegraph article)
"The unit, a prototype Node Explorer from Bath-based Node, is billed as a location-aware media player. Using GPS to get location data, the Linux-based, ruggedized unit communicates over WiFi with a nearby Node Server to present info on a location in realtime. Currently envisioned as being a tool for tourists, the Node Explorer could be a more versatile solution than current GPS tourism devices, which typically use off-the-shelf components like Pocket PCs, and keep their data onboard, limiting their utility to a narrow, pre-defined geographical area."
This is much more exciting! A definite must-read, especially the detailed Telegraph article which describes the user experience in detail. The more location-based tourism applications there are, the better, really!

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa testing Pocket PC guide
"The Mobile Exhibition Guide (MEG) provides visitors with in-depth information corresponding to the exhibits they are viewing. It compliments Te Papa’s existing interpretative media, and takes the visitors deeper into the exhibition narrative and collection histories by presenting a range of audio and visual media such as moving and still images, with narration throughout the experience and interviews with curators."
Something closer to home! I wonder if I could interview someone who was working on MEG... I hope it's a success! But with companies like Microsoft and HP behind it, I'm sure it will be. =)

UK-based mobile phone location service launched
"Rock Seven Mobile Services Limited launched a new mobile location service called 'Closer'. The service allows their website users to locate individuals anywhere in the UK using a mobile phone signal.
The accuracy of the system varies, depending on the location in the UK. In cities and built-up areas the accuracy is usually between 100m and 1000m. In rural areas, where mobile transmitters are less dense, accuracy ranges from about 1km to 5km. Some mobile networks perform better than others."
Hmm, they probably need to work on the accuracy a bit, but other than that it sounds like they're on the right track! What with the emphasis on being permission-based and everything...

Okay, now I've got to go and finish transcribing my third focus group... Hopefully I will be able to write a brief report on my own research results soon, instead of just blogging about everyone else's!


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