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Tag Archives: mapping

Google Street View rival Mapillary collaborates with Amazon to read text in its 350M image database

Mapillary , the Swedish startup that wants to take on Google and others in mapping the world by way of a crowdsourced database of street-level imagery, is taking an interesting step in the development of its platform. The company is now working with Amazon, and specifically its Rekognition API, to detect and read text in Mapillary’s database of 350 million images. The first application resulting from the new feature will come from a large US city (that Mapillary will not name right now), which plans to use the information that will now be “readable” from parking signs to build a parking app. https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Mapillary_Amazon-Video-illustration.mp4 “Parking is a super hot space and parking information is one of the most asked-for pieces of data that people want to use  Mapillary for,” said Jan Erik Solem, CEO and co-founder of the Malmo, Sweden-based startup. He said that while parking will be the first application and one that he expects other cities to use as well, there will be other applications coming out from matching up text in Mapillary’s images, and subsequently being able to pinpoint exact latitude and longitude for specific locations. “We’re starting with parking signs in the US because parking is one of the biggest issues in towns today, but text recognition will apply to many different types of objects and images, such as building facades.” While it might sound odd that a city might not have a grip on the state of its on-street parking, this is apparently the case: cities, Solem said, have general analogue maps indicating parking regulations, but many of them lack digitised versions, which means that when they want to build new services (and in particular services that help them raise revenues either from parking fees, or parking fines), or consider whether they need to build more parking, they lack the datasets to do either. Mapillary cites research that says that parking problems collectively cost $73 billion in the US — presumably that includes not just the fines that people pay for overstaying, the gas they gobble looking for a spot, and so on; but perhaps even the lost revenues in areas where they overstay and no one knows. Notably, Mapillary is referring to its use of the Rekognition API as a “collaboration” with Amazon, although when I asked about the wording, he was a little less willing to collaborate with me. “I can’t comment on what Amazon is doing or why,” he said. “It would be nice to have that part of the announcement, but it ended up not working out this time.”  It seems that the two have been working together for a while now, although that is all under NDA.

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The World Bank has priced the world’s first public bond issued over a blockchain; the bond will be worth $73M and managed by Commonwealth Bank of…

Reuters : The World Bank has priced the world's first public bond issued over a blockchain; the bond will be worth $73M and managed by Commonwealth Bank of Australia   —  SYDNEY (Reuters) - The World Bank has priced the world's first public bond created and managed using only blockchain in a A$100 million …

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AudioLayer (Music)

AudioLayer 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $14.99, Version: 1.0.2 ( iTunes ) Description: AudioLayer satisfies the most sought after gap for contemporary music production on iOS devices. AudioLayer is a full featured open standard audio multi-sampler pushing the boundaries beyond what has been available even in the desktop music production worlds. And all this integrated in all relevant iOS production environments especially the emerging AUv3 AudioUnit standard. - SSE - Streaming Sample Engine - The ultra efficient Streaming Sample Engine SSE is capable of playing hundreds of voices of big multi-sampled instruments even in strictly resource limited applications like using multiple instances of AudioLayer in AudioUnit host environments. Innovative features like Sub Sample Looping for perfect loops even in the audible range extend the range of applications even further. - Perfect iCloud integration* - The consequent usage of the open file structure of the Files app makes organising even large sample libraries a breeze. Sample recordings and Instrument designs made with AudioLayer are seamlessly available across all your devices and desktop. Even more this opens up new forms of collaborations with musicians all around the world to share your creations and work together. - Multi Scope Editing - To support the creation of complex multi-sampled instruments AudioLayer allows you to use a hierarchical structure of Layers and Zones each with it’s own sound manipulation parameters. A unique element of AudioLayer is the possibility to decide for each Zone at which Scope level your editing apply: For the all Zones in the Instrument, for the Layer only or individually for this Zone only. This opens a whole new world of creative options for sound mangling

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Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the launch of Apple Maps went poorly. After a rough first impression , an apology from the CEO , several years of patching holes with data partnerships and some glimmers of light with long-awaited transit directions  and improvements in business, parking and place data , Apple Maps is still not where it needs to be to be considered a world class service. Maps needs fixing. Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps. It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 Beta and will cover Northern California by fall. Every version of iOS will get the updated maps eventually and they will be more responsive to changes in roadways and construction, more visually rich depending on the specific context they’re viewed in and feature more detailed ground cover, foliage, pools, pedestrian pathways and more. This is nothing less than a full re-set of Maps and it’s been 4 years in the making, which is when Apple began to develop its new data gathering systems. Eventually, Apple will no longer rely on third-party data to provide the basis for its maps, which has been one of its major pitfalls from the beginning. “Since we introduced this six years ago — we won’t rehash all the issues we’ve had when we introduced it — we’ve done a huge investment in getting the map up to par,” says Apple SVP Eddy Cue, who now owns Maps in an interview last week.   “When we launched, a lot of it was all about directions and getting to a certain place. Finding the place and getting directions to that place. We’ve done a huge investment of making millions of changes, adding millions of locations, updating the map and changing the map more frequently. All of those things over the past six years.” But, Cue says, Apple has room to improve on the quality of Maps, something that most users would agree on, even with recent advancements. “We wanted to take this to the next level,” says Cue

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CityMapper, the urban transportation app, is integrating with bike-sharing company Mobike

Hot on the heels of getting acquired for $2.7 billion by on-demand services startup Meituan-Dianping  en route to its own $60 billion IPO , Chinese bike-sharing startup Mobike is ramping up its international push as companies like Uber , Lyft and other standalone bike-on-demand startups take their own expansion strategies up a gear. The company will this week start integrating with Citymapper , the mapping and navigation app focused on urban areas and public transportation, in all cities where both companies operate (Citymapper is now live in 39 cities; while Mobike calls itself the world’s largest bike-sharing startup, in 200 cities in some 15 countries). This will mean that users of Citymapper will be able to select bike routes on the app, and also see where they can find a Mobike to complete those journeys, giving the bike-hire-on-demand company one more way to snag customers in what is shaping up to be a very competitive market for transportation options geared to single users. TechCrunch first learned of the integration by way of an anonymous tip, which was then confirmed to us by a spokesperson from Mobike itself. (We sent multiple emails to Citymapper, but didn’t receive any replies.) “Bikesharing is a true new emerging global transport platform, so a partnership with Citymapper, one of the most popular transport apps in the world, is a logical step,” said the spokesperson. “Partnering with Citymapper means that more and more people will realise how easy using a Mobike is, encouraging cycling everywhere for short urban trips.” London-based Citymapper taps APIs from city transportation networks to provide bike routes alongside walking, bus, train, ferry and car routes. In cities where there are city bike schemes — for example in London  and New York — it shows locations for bike docking stations and, if available, information on how many bikes are available. But while there are in London — as one example — some 750 docking stations in the city covering 11,000 bikes, there are large swathes of the city, particularly outside the center, where the city bike scheme doesn’t reach. That presents an opportunity for these bike startups, which are often not banked at docks but parked on sidewalks, to cater to people who may not own a bike but would like to ride one from points A to B, when one or both of those are not near a docking station. For the moment, you still have to register through the Mobike app to be able to reserve a Mobike you find on Citymapper. And it’s not a given that you will ever be able to book these directly: if you look at Citymapper’s Uber integration it gives you an estimate but links to the Uber app to actually seal the deal (this is now also what  Google Maps does, too )

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Mapfit raises $5.5M for its mapping platform

If you are a developer and you want to use the Google Maps Platform to power direction or other location-based features in your applications, things can quickly get expensive . Mapfit , which today announced that it has raised a $5.5 million funding round, promises to challenge Google on price while offering geocoding services and vector-based maps that are just as accurate as Google’s (and sometimes even better). Among other things, Mapfit promises that it can figure out the correct entrances of buildings for 95 percent of addresses, making door-to-door navigation easier, for example. Mapfit also argues that its new vector-based maps are 95 percent smaller than the map tiles that other services often use. The service does offer those traditional tiles, too, though, and they include support for 3D buildings and public transit info. The company was founded in 2015 and gets its data from a variety of sources, including both commercial and open data sets. It then takes this data and runs it through a number of steps to validate it and enhance it with its own algorithms for aligning addresses with pedestrian and vehicle entrances, for example. Mapfit offers a free plan for non-commercial projects and developers who simply want to kick the service’s tires, as well as a $49/month “growth” plan for startups that comes with 250,000 map views, 150,000 geocode requests and 150,000 directions requests. There is no limit to the number of mobile SDK and web users under this plan. For users who need more API requests, Mapfit charges $0.50 per 1,000 additional requests or users can opt for the $1,499/month enterprise plan, which includes 5 million map views. The company’s funding comes from a group of entrepreneurs and investors that include Cavalry Ventures, Weihua Yan (Diapers.com, Quidsi), Roderick Thompson (ePlanet Capital, Baidu, Skype), Auren Hoffman (SafeGraph, LiveRamp), Daniel Waterhouse (Balderton), Jeroen Seghers (Sourcepoint), Matias de Tezanos (Hoteles.com, PeopleFund) and Joost de Valk (Yoast).

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Apple says CarPlay will now support third party navigation and mapping apps

Big news for CarPlay, Apple’s in-car service that lets a vehicle’s display act as a controller and ‘reader’ of your iPhone: at WWCD, Apple today announced that it will now let third-party navigation and mapping apps to work with the service starting with iOS 12. Up to now, Apple only allowed its own mapping app, Maps, to work over CarPlay, but now you can use Waze, Google Maps, Here, or whatever other app you might want to use to get from A to B. The change marks a big shift for Apple, which is well known for favoring its own native apps and generally a more tightly controlled ecosystem on iOS and across devices. But Maps hasn’t been the most popular mapping app by some measure, even for users of iOS. This is in a sense is a tacit acknowledgement that iPhone owners are using a wide variety of other services, and so to get CarPlay used more, this needed to be enabled. Apple says that most major vehicle manufacturers are partnering with Apple to incorporate CarPlay, which gives iPhone users in-car access to its phone services, Apple Music, iMessage, Apple Books (new name!) and podcasts, along with a selection of third-party apps like Spotify, Google Play Music, NPR and iHeartRadio, as well as Siri support. It’s not clear why Apple didn’t extend third-party support for other mapping and navigation apps until now. Perhaps it was to sweeten the deal for more people to use its own Maps app. It’s not clear how many users there are of CarPlay, nor how many cars are now equipped to work with it, but the hope, it seems, is that with increased usefulness, now the service will see more adoption.

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Apple says CarPlay will now support third party navigation and mapping apps

Big news for CarPlay, Apple’s in-car service that lets a vehicle’s display act as a controller and ‘reader’ of your iPhone: at WWCD, Apple today announced that it will now let third-party navigation and mapping apps to work with the service starting with iOS 12. Up to now, Apple only allowed its own mapping app, Maps, to work over CarPlay, but now you can use Waze, Google Maps, Here, or whatever other app you might want to use to get from A to B. The change marks a big shift for Apple, which is well known for favoring its own native apps and generally a more tightly controlled ecosystem on iOS and across devices. But Maps hasn’t been the most popular mapping app by some measure, even for users of iOS. This is in a sense is a tacit acknowledgement that iPhone owners are using a wide variety of other services, and so to get CarPlay used more, this needed to be enabled. Apple says that most major vehicle manufacturers are partnering with Apple to incorporate CarPlay, which gives iPhone users in-car access to its phone services, Apple Music, iMessage, Apple Books (new name!) and podcasts, along with a selection of third-party apps like Spotify, Google Play Music, NPR and iHeartRadio, as well as Siri support. It’s not clear why Apple didn’t extend third-party support for other mapping and navigation apps until now. Perhaps it was to sweeten the deal for more people to use its own Maps app. It’s not clear how many users there are of CarPlay, nor how many cars are now equipped to work with it, but the hope, it seems, is that with increased usefulness, now the service will see more adoption.

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Mapbox’s new SDK helps developers build smart AR navigation apps

Mapbox , the open source mapping service that competes directly with Google’s Maps Platform , today announced a new software development kit (SDK) that will make it easier for developers to build applications that provide AR navigation. That by itself would be cool, but by using ARM’s Project Trillium AI platform , the Mapbox Vision SDK can also recognize other vehicles, pedestrians, speed limit signs, construction signs, crosswalks and more, all without having to train their own machine learning models to do so. It’s easy to see how this could be useful for navigation apps, but Mapbox is going a step further by also integrating its service deeply with Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform. Indeed, the company has integrated the open source Azure IoT Edge runtime into its SDK to allow developers to easily push events that the Vision SDK detects into the cloud. Thanks to this, you could easily crowdsource data about roadside construction, for example, or how busy a given intersection currently is. And in the context of a navigation app, the driver could get the same info in real-time, too (just in case you missed that construction sign…). “The future of location is building live maps in real-time from distributed sensor networks embedded in vehicles and mobile devices at scale,” said Eric Gundersen, CEO of  Mapbox, in today’s announcement . “Every vehicle and mobile device utilizing the Vision SDK creates a better map, and this same data is streamed back to Microsoft Azure for further processing. The Vision SDK not only runs in real-time to improve the driving experience in the vehicle, but also generates data for the back end to update the map based on changing conditions, powering larger solutions for smart cities or insurance companies.” Using ARM’s Project Trillium platform , the SDK is able to make use of the mobile device’s onboard CPUs, GPUs and AI chips (if available) to perform the necessary object recognition. Once new phones launch with ARM’s new ML and object detection processors, the SDK will be able to perform all of these functions even faster, but for now, it can extract features from the video feed at a speed of about ten times a second. Mapbox notes that its SDK will work on iOS and Android, but developers could also use it directly in a car that uses ARM embedded automotive chipsets. The company says that it currently has about 1.1 million developers on its platform. It uses a variety of sources for its mapping data, but the core of its data comes from the OpenStreetMap project.

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Ubiquity6 nabs $10.5 million from top investors to build a deeper augmented reality

Smartphone AR is available on hundreds of millions of devices but it doesn’t really seem like many of those devices are making regular use of the feature. A lot of people in the industry see this as representative of the platform’s technical shortcomings especially in regards to enabling social experiences. Ubiquity6 is approaching some of the tech problems that make shared augmented reality experiences a possibility. The team was founded last year by alums from Metamind, Facebook, Tesla, Twitter and Stanford. The startup’s co-founder and CEO Anjney Midha previously was a founding partner at KPCB’s emerging tech-focused EDGE fund where he focused specifically on AR, VR and computer vision. The small team announced today that they’ve raised a $10.5 million Series A led by Index Ventures, with participation from First Round Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Google’s Gradient Ventures, LDVP, A+E and WndrCo. In a very ethereal blog post , the startup detailed that they want to turn the smartphone camera into something that lets “you edit reality together with the people you care about, in physical spaces that matter to you.” In a more technical sense, the team is working on many of the hard problems that several other backend augmented reality startups are looking to solve, namely ensuring that objects stay put in the same physical spot long after sessions have ended and that users can easily sync up and see the same AR objects in the same places. Once these things have been solved in a smooth capacity, a lot more becomes possible but AR needs this for repeatable, social experiences to really feel worthwhile. In addition to tackling the mapping and syncing challenges noted above, Ubiquity6 is also going after more general object recognition challenges so that your phone will know what your bed and table and door look like and will have the intelligence to know what to do with that data. “We believe that augmented reality holds the key to unlocking a new atomic unit of communication — a creative medium that can bring people together in and around the physical spaces they care about,” First Round Capital’s Phin Barnes said in an emailed statement.

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Uber’s battle to get your car to arrive on time

Maps were essential to the exploration of the world. Most of our history books are filled with people who decided to go out into the abyss with just an inkling of what they would find, usually based on incomplete or even nonexistent charts. Uber and...

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Why PC Gaming Used to be Horrible – Game Revolution

Game Revolution Why PC Gaming Used to be Horrible Game Revolution When you get an accessory or a component for a PC , you can be reasonably sure that if it's an external device it's going to be powered by USB , and if it's internal it'll be PCI-E. If it's a display, it'll be HDMI, Displayport, or rarely DVI or VGA. In ...

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