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Tag "GPS"

A tracking project based in amsterdam has produces a really nice visualisation of the GPS log data. A couple of people tracking themselves on their daily commutes presumably with a igotU GPS device.
The visualisation is done in processing.
It is amazing how quickly the structure of Amsterdam becomes visible. Compared to the London UrbanDiary map here in Amsterdam a much clearer urban structure shows. This is probably down to a number of factors, for example the urban morphology is fundamentally different between Amsterdam and London and the mode of transport is probably similarly different. A lot more bicycle transport, which makes for a more divers picture, than by using public transport or even traveling underground with the tube.
But because of this is makes for a really nice visual comparison between the two.

Tracks in the void from Steven M. Ottens on Vimeo.

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A tracking project based in amsterdam has produced a really nice visualisation of the GPS log data. A couple of people tracking themselves on their daily commutes presumably with a igotU GPS device.
The visualisation is done in processing.
It is amazing how quickly the structure of Amsterdam becomes visible. Compared to the London UrbanDiary map here in Amsterdam a much clearer urban structure shows. This is probably down to a number of factors, for example the urban morphology is fundamentally different between Amsterdam and London and the mode of transport is probably similarly different. A lot more bicycle transport, which makes for a more divers picture, than by using public transport or even traveling underground with the tube.
But because of this is makes for a really nice visual comparison between the two.

Tracks in the void from Steven M. Ottens on Vimeo.

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Actually the GPS signal can be manipulated, who would have guessed otherwise? The system being a American Military Defense innovation initially, this is one of the strategies implemented to prevent enemies using the system against US targets. The other system implemented was the selective availability (SA) restriction imposed on the signal for civil, e.g. non military, use. Today a large variety of digital gadgets are equipped with a GPS receiver, ranging from in car navigation systems to mobile phones and cameras. This was kicked of by the former president Bill Clinton’s decision to lift the imposed selective availability (SA) restriction in 2000 (Prasad 2005, p.7). Following the SA removal, civil and commercial GPS accuracy increased from around 100m to somewhere between 3m and 15m (Pendleton 2002 as cited in Spencer Spencer 2003, p.56).
However to come back to the temporal and local jamming of the GPS signal holds still a very important status in the strategy of US military action. This is that the European system Galileo is still under construction and its partial launch will not be until 1012 or beyond. The other functioning system is the Russian Glonas. However this is not covering the entire planet with constant signal as it only operates from 18 satellites (2008) covering Russia. In this sense the US holds a monopoly on this location based information system.


Image taken from Wikipedia

The jamming of the signal is normally not know to the public and only speculated over. However it is very likely that it is used in current war zones, like Iraq and Afghanistan. There are reports over this jamming to be found on the internet.
Computerworld has an article on the subject quoting some GPS experts on the matter. “Sam Wormley, a researcher at Iowa State University in Ames and manager of an authoritative GPS resources and accuracy Web site, said that the Pentagon “definitely” has the capability to jam civilian GPS signals in a given area without interfering with more precise military signals. Wormley said that’s because the military signals occupy a different and smaller slice of the GPS frequency band than that used by the civilian signals.” The jamming most likely is achieved through a slight desincronisation of the clocks. For military purpose this can easily be decoded.
There are very funny discussions going on out there on the web around the possibility of jamming satellite signal. A good one is on yahoo.answers.com, where some guy accuses his neighbor ‘Joe’ to jam his satellite dish, because when ever Joe is home the guy thinks his TV signal is disrupted.
Thinking this further, how do we know that the actual position is correct? As we have seen in the introduction of this post, as well as in last weeks new Argos catalogue, consumer GPS products have become immensely popular and everyone needs to know where they are. Whether this is true or not in this case is probably not that important. So to say, we don’t know if the represented location on Google Earth is actually the true position as in lat long, yes we can see that this image shows the street we’re in, but the structural framework of the Lat Long coordinate is not necessarily the ‘right’ one. But I guess this is the question of the artificially impose grid that we can only virtually refer to and belief in as a convention.
So next time you end up in New York, rather than the planned Newark because of a spelling mistake while typing it into the gadget, you can blame the US for temporarily jamming your specific satellite. But if you are after your neighbor here are some web stores where you can purchase your own satellite jammer to annoy your ‘Joe’.

However I wanted to link a creepy James Bond extract, where the space craft swallows the satellite, but you guess it is not out there yet. So if anyone has this sequence laying around please upload and link it here.
However I therefore link to a very boring but scientific clip that actually visualises the GPS signal availability in Kabul during the course of one day. The scientist, Richard Langley, a professor of geodesy and precision navigation at the University of New Brunswick has observed the predicted position of the satellite versus the actual signal strength in the are and there seems to be clearly a jam. However, that was recorded back in 2001, but most certainly this has taken place before and after, as well as in other places than Kabul too.

Clip by Richard Langley – Kabul.GPS.Visibility.mov

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In the 3D max post post I wrote about a script to import GPS data directly into 3D studio max.It was developed here in CASA with a focus on using it in the UK. Due to the interest of people in the code we decided to release it for you to use. It is now available to download HERE.
Richard, who developed the code, had to make a few changes for the released version. It has got mainly to do with the transformation. As mentioned earlier it was developed with a focus on the UK, so the implemented transformation was from WGS to OS GB. For a general release this might not make much sense. So for now the released code is a simple factor multiplication on the Lat Long GPS information. For the quick import that should work fine, as long as you are not working on a Max model dealing with large geographical areas like the whole of Africa. For small scale models this should be ok. However, let us know how its work and what you like or what you d’wanted changed.
We are also aware of a problem related to time interpretation. For example if you are using GPS Babel to write the GPX file it will have milliseconds in the format and that might cause the script to report an time interpretation error. You can change it manually in the code, two formats are implemented.

I have just tested the new script with a rather large GPX file of some three month of tracking data, Max really has to work but it comes up with all the points.

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Image by urbanTick – GPS track rendered in 3D Studio Max

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Are we losing our Sense of Direction? What a rhetoric question. Without the context this does not really make sense, or does it?
Usually as things are starting to be fun, some one comes over to tell you how bad this is and that you should not do it because of this or this or even this reason. At least it was like this when you were a teen, battling for independence with beloved ones.
However this is long gone and things have changed since. And still the same situation. But now we are wiser and think twice, maybe it is true, or at least partially, there might be something about this other opinion I have not thought of in this way.
Here we re with the news, finally, GPS is BAD!
Yes, you are right, your SatNav is doing harm to you as you drive. At least this is what the headlines of the news on the New York Times blog and the walrus magazine suggest Actually it is all based on an article by Alex Hutchinson.
We actually have an other SatNav article her on urbanTick, that addresses the problem of arriving at the desired location but in this case it was about spelling the destination name correctly.
In general Alex Hutchinson points out in hi article that navigating is a learning process that is a dual relationship between brain and action. The more we use it the better we are at it, but it needs to be maintained.
Scientists have identified an area in the brain, the hippocampus, to be responsible or this sort of navigation task. “The brains of London cabbies have outsized rear hippocampuses, because they are required to painstakingly learn the byzantine lanes and byways of the Old World city. (NYblog)” Most of us will not attempt to learn the apparently 25’000 street names and thousands of landmarks required for becoming a cabby. However navigating and orientating do not necessarily require you to know all the names of the streets. Other elements are important in day-to-day navigation. Hutchinson refers to Veronique Bohbot a researcher at McConnell Brain Imaging Center: “Bohbot demonstrated in a widely cited 2003 study that our mapping strategies fall into two basic categories. One is a spatial strategy that involves learning the relationships between various landmarks — creating a cognitive map in your head. The other is a stimulus-response approach that encodes specific routes by memorizing a series of cues, as in: get off the bus when you see the glass skyscraper, then walk toward the big park. For their study, Bohbot created a virtual maze that tested both methods; they found that about half of us prefer spatial strategies, while the other half prefer stimulus-response” (walrus magazine). We probably use both of these techniques depending on the situation, but most likely we prefer one over the other. What navigation type are you?

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CoMob is an iPhone GPS tracking application developed at Edinburgh College of Art in collaboration with Edinburgh University. “The CoMob iPhone Application was developed as part of a research project exploring the creative use of collaborative GPS mapping.”
It is a simple tracking application that sends the location to a customisable server. It was designed for an art project presented at ISEA2009. Some images of the event can be seen on flickr here by jensouthern. The application determines the position and ends the information to a pre configured server. The update frequency is customisable as well as the server. You can change the server and for example send the location to your own server. It does not give you a visual feedback, all you can see is numbers. The interesting data is saved on the server.

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Image from CoMob – Logos CoMob (red) and CoMob Net (blue)

The CoMob (in red) application has only recently received a sister application CoMob Net (in blue). It is built on the base of CoMob, but adds some group functionality and a visualisation using Google Maps. A group of iPhone users can use the application simultaneously and see the location of each group member on the screen. Locations are shown with a connection line between them producing shapes across the urban fabric. Usage is really simple, all you have to do is put in a user name and choose a name for the group. If joining an existing group simply type the name in the box provided and you’re linked up. Here too it is possible to customise the server to store the data.
So get your iPhone friends to come out into the streets and start mapping… Download CoMob or CoMob Net directly from iTunes here. You can then join our casa group by entering the name of the group to the settings page (lowercase and you have to hit return to verify the entry).

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Image by urbanTick – Screenshots CoMob Net

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The visualization of the UrbanDiary GPS tracks has bee a big topic earlier this year. So far Google Earth was used as a rendering engine and the animations produced where screen grabs. A rather crude and straight forward way of creating an animation.
However the process seemed to make sense as the G Globe is working well with GPS data.
Now, a new to for visualizing the tracks has been developed here at CASA. Richard Milton has written little script to import GPS tracks directly into 3D Studio Max. It reads of the gpx. file and creates a spline for the path, a marker object and time frames for each point.
There is still some tweaking to be done with the time interpretation, especially regarding multiple tracks, but as a proof of concept it work.
I have only just put out a crappy clip with 10 tracks, but the machine is working on a better version and I will update the post.
In a next step the idea would be to also import the Virtual London model and start visualizing the use of the urban form.

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Image by urbanTick

3dsMaxGPStest from urbanTick on Vimeo.

Music by watermeron on mp3unsigned.com

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When have you gotten lost for the last time? It must have been a while. The art of getting lost has got lost itself nowadays. The sense of not knowing the exact direction to a familiar object, place or location can be very unpleasant. On the other hand it can be very reliving. If you are prepared to accept that you have lost control over the situation or at least the location you might find yourself enjoying it.
The idea of stoling through the city, not directed by a specific destination is a concept introduced by the Situationists. The aimless wandering or derive, as it is called in the Situationist writing, can even be a method to observe the city.
However, people also get lost not on purpose. The marketing campaign of a number of companies make us aware of a lot of possibilities we could get lost and with this fuel a lot of people’s fears of the immediate surrounding. In car navigation has become the number one gadget in car sales, it has overtaken the air condition feature or the CD player.


Image by Fischer Portugal for Honda / promoting Honda’s Compact Navigation System.

People seem to enjoy being talked through the environment, and then it all depends on the voice. I assume gadget developers put a lot of thought into the voices they offer as the direction instructor. Even how it is said must be important. In a recent interview Bob Dylan has announced that he is in talks with GPS manufacturers to lend his voice for a next generation of Gadget. Click here for a sample of his voice. I am still waiting for the vice over that starts shouting at someone who just missed the turn for the fourth time. “You twat, can’t you follow instructions! I said turn LEFT!” The other way round, people shouting at the in-car-navigation-system are probably quite common.
The BBC has recently collected a number of stories of people getting lost with the GPS. Due to a software fault : ) the GPS will not correct your spelling mistakes. And it seems that people quite often misspell their destination. And a little knowledge is still needed to distinguish between Capri and Capri, as a Swedish couple have learned after they arrived in the Industrial Town of Capri instead of the island Capri in Italy. via GPSCity

GPS from DustFilms on Vimeo.

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It is already one year that I am in London this month. So it is time to look back at my personal track record and see where I have been. Of course this goes in comparison with last years 365PLY – One Year Plymouth.
It is the same time span, but the amount of data has increased dramatically due to the use of the new device. Plymouth has been recorded with the Garmin Foretrex 201, whereas London has been partially collected with the Garmin Forerunner 405. The 405 records about a third more points, meaning that the data volume is at around 150’000 location points compared to only 60’000 in Plymouth.
The drawing that appears on top of the London urban fabric is my interaction with the urban fabric by finding my way. Interesting how it acts as a memory trigger. By following the line I can bring up images in my mind about what happened there.
Interesting that I have only been on the north side of the river. There are visits to the Tate Modern, Waterloo Train Station or the South Bank, but that’s about it. Already in my previous London record the pattern was very much the same. Traveling between Kentish Town and Bloomsbury. By looking at the collection and comparing it to Greater London, I haven’t exactly managed to see the whole lot. But I don’t remember my year as been boring at all.
It is more or less the same pattern that also has shown up in the UrbanDiary records, although they are recorded over the period of two month only. This longer period suggests that the emerging pattern is rather stable.
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Image by UrbanTick – click on the image for full resolution version.

Just updated the map, I have to confess that I missed part of the beginning dating late 2008. Other than me probably no one would have noticed anyway, because it is really hard to spot what is what.
There are some particular interesting areas on the map. One is Regents Park and London ZOO. I have been quite often to ZSL and those visits draw like this.

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Image by UrbanTick – ZoomIn London Zoo ZSL

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TomTom announced its navigation software for the iPhone earlier this year at the WWDC. It was a blog post and it also was somehow exciting. It is only two and a half month later and the software is published but it is all not that exciting anymore. It might be a great software and with no doubt it works fine, but since the introduction of the 3GS at the same WWDC, so much has changed on the mobile gadget market. Only this month the introduction of the crowd sourced traffic platform WAZE was introduced in the United States and layar opened up AR layers for a broad range of uses. In fact AR has been the big topic for mobile phone platforms and Android is leading as an AR platform at the moment. TomTom has not yet announced anything for the Android platform.
Anyway, one software can not do everything we are well aware of this, but this now pushed the iPhone with its “can not run anything in the background” policy to its limit. If I ever will use the TomTom on my iPhone I want to have the WAZE live traffic update on top of it to give me up to date information and why not having some user generated stuff as AR blobs on the screen as well. For me all this fits together and will hopefully eventually merge into something I would more likely call a “navigation” software.

Augmented Reality Navigation from Robert Winters on Vimeo.

So navigation in the style of AR would be exciting, but the ever so normal (we now definitely got used to it) “after 200m turn right” TomTom is not exciting anymore, Nevertheless here is the latest TomTom clip to sweeten the waiting for the actual iPhone car kit.

The company has not yet announced the release date for this important element of in car navigation. In fact this is really funny but theoretically the software is somehow useless without the car kit. Of course some clever guys came up with a solution.

Found through GPSobsessed

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