Tag Archives: Apple

Monday Geonews: Finding Osama Bin Laden in Google Earth, FOSS4G News, More on ‘Locationgate’, and much more

Here's the recent geonews in batch mode. Some of those news could have deserved individual announcements. From the open source / open date front:

  • Regarding the FOSS4G conference, the community can now vote to determine the program of the FOSS4G conference, and there will be an Introduction to Geospatial Open Source day-long event
  • The final version of MapGuide Maestro 3.0 has been announced
  • OpenStreetMap has been recognized by the United Nations Foundation
  • OpenStreetMap data can be used in the X-Plane flight simulator
  • GeoTools 8.0-M0 has been released
  • Here's a new review of the PostGIS in action book, which is now available on Amazon: [amazon 1935182269]
  • Talking about books, here's the new Locate Press, focussing on publishing on open source geospatial projects
  • O'Reilly offered and article named open source tools look to make mapping easier
  • GRASS GIS now has a barb module
From the Google front:
  • Ogle Earth shares a long entry named Finding Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad mansion with Google Earth, with numerous screenshots
  • Slashdot runs a story named Your Location 'Extremely Valuable' To Google
  • The official Google Lat Long blog shares an entry named Post-tornado mapping in Google Maps and Earth
  • Slashdot also discussed a story named Using Google Maps To Simulate Tsunamis
From the ESRI front, Mandown shares several entries, including:
  • ArcGIS 10 Service Pack 2 Released
  • Learn The Basics Of Developing Applications With The ArcGIS API For iOS and ArcGIS API For iOS 1.8 Now Available
  • ArcGIS Viewer For Flex 2.3.1 Released and ArcGIS API For Flex And ArcGIS Viewer For Flex 2.3 Released
In the miscellaneous category:
  • VerySpatial shares iOS Apps for learning Geography while APB mentions the MagicPlan App to easily map your house
  • MacRumors shares a story named Apple Hints at Future Turn-by-Turn GPS Directions With Traffic for iPhone
  • On the same topic, Slashdot ran a story named Share Your iPhone Location Data Like You Mean It
  • While SS shares an entry named Where’s the Geospatial Industry’s Response to ‘Locationgate’?
  • The timing was ripe for O'Reilly to share an article named What does the attention around tracking mean?, especially in the context of online payments
  • V1 informs us that Russia's Putin Invites Sweden Into GLONASS
  • MapQuest is celebrated 15 years of existence
  • It's been a while since RFID has been mentioned, Slashdot discussed a story named Hotel Tracks Towels With RFID Chips
In the maps category:
  • TMR shares an entry named Mapping Long-Term Radiation Exposure at Fukushima too bad Japan lost one Earth Observation Satellite on Tsunami Mapping Mission
  • TMR also shares an interactive map of oil production from 1960 to
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Apple Q&A on Location Data: It’s *Not* User Locations and Storing Duration was a Bug

There has been quite a lot of noise on the geoblogs and blogs regarding last week's announcement that Apple's iPhone is recording user locations (see also this followup story). Via Peter Batty, I learned that this morning Apple is providing official answers, including confirmation that it's not user location that is stored: "6. People have identified up to a year’s worth of location data being stored on the iPhone. Why does my iPhone need so much data in order to assist it in finding my location today? This data is not the iPhone’s location data—it is a subset (cache) of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database which is downloaded from Apple into the iPhone to assist the iPhone in rapidly and accurately calculating location. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data." If that's not enough for you, you can read more of what was published recently, on Slashdot regarding the associated lawsuits, Google's Ed Parsons entry named A smartphone without location is just not smart, O'Reilly's entry named iPhone Tracking: The day after and Additional iPhone tracking research. Keep in mind that these were published before Apple's official explanations.

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Mobile Devices Location Tracking Update & Other Location Privacy Stories

Hot on the heels of last week's announcement of Apple's iPhone and iPad 3G recording user locations, Slashdot discussed several mobile devices tracking and privacy stories. Here's their summaries and follow the links to read their associated discussions. The first one was a story named iPhone and Location: Don't Panic, followed by a more detailed story named Police Using Apple iOS Tracking Data For Forensics:

"Several readers have sent in follow-up articles to Wednesday's news that iPhone location data was being tracked and stored. First, it seems Android shares a similar problem, though the file containing the location data is "only accessible on devices that have been rooted and opened up to installation of unsigned apps." Developer Magnus Eriksson has created an app to flush this data. Next: the iPhone tracking file is not new, just in a different place than it used to be. Reader overThruster then points out a CNet story indicating that law enforcement has been aware of this file for some time, and has used it in a forensics context. This story is a growing concern for Apple, particularly now that Senator Al Franken (PDF) and Rep. Ed Markey (PDF) have both written letters to Steve Jobs demanding details about the location tracking. Finally, PCMag explains how to view the location data present on your iPhone, should you so desire."

Two other stories on location privacy were discussed, the first one How People Broadcast Their Locations Without Meaning To:

""Smartphones include geotagging features that many people aren't aware of, MIT's Technology Review reports. And it's not just in the obvious places: 'For example, by looking at the location metadata stored with pictures posted through one man's anonymous Twitter account, the researchers were able to pinpoint his likely home address. From there, by cross-referencing this location with city records, they found his name. Using that information, the researchers went on to find his place of work, his wife's name, and information about his children.'""

And a last one named Turning GPS Tracking Devices Against Their Owners:

""Those low-cost embedded tracking devices in your smartphone or those personal GPS devices that track the whereabouts of your children, your car, your pet, or a shipment can easily be intercepted by hackers, who can then pinpoint their whereabouts, impersonate them, and spoof their physical location. A researcher demonstrated at SOURCE Boston how he was able to hack Zoombak's popular personal tracking devices.""

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Where 2.0: Apple’s iPhone and iPad 3G Recording User Locations

It's not the first time privacy issues arise from mobile devices. Today at the Where 2.0 conference, there was a talk on the discovery that your iPhone, and your 3G iPad, is regularly recording the position of your device into a hidden file. From the O'Reilly Radar: "Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps. We're not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it's clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations. [...] What makes this issue worse is that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and it's on any machine you've synched with your iOS device. It can also be easily accessed on the device itself if it falls into the wrong hands. Anybody with access to this file knows where you've been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released. [...] We have built an application that helps you look at your own data. It's available along with the source code and deeper technical information. [...] An immediate step you can take is to encrypt your backups through iTunes (click on your device within iTunes and then check "Encrypt iPhone Backup" under the "Options" area)." This topic was also discussed over Slashdot today.

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Friday Geonews: Crowdsourced and Irresponsible Radiation Maps, US Mall in Bing Maps, Autodesk Products, GeoPDF to GeoTIFF, and more

Here's the Friday geonews in batch mode. From the open source / open data front:

  • Here's a quick look at the WFS GDAL Driver
  • MapQuest added Japan to their open data initiative, still linked to OpenStreetMap
  • It's been a year since we mentioned it, and now there's a new version of the OpenStreetMap plugin for Wordpress available
From the Microsoft front:
  • Microsoft now offers 148 US mall interactive maps in Bing Maps, including the 9 largest
  • The Bing team shares a tip on how to search by driving time with AJAX v7, REST, and Spatial Data Services
In the miscellaneous category:
  • SS shares an entry the unveiling, by Autodesk, of their products, including AutoCAD Map 3D and plenty other products
  • Slashdot runs a story on a surveillance robot that covertly maps its environment in 3D
  • The FGT blog mentions a cheap GeoPDF to GeoTIFF converter in the context of use for Garmin Custom Map Imagery
  • GeoCurrents offers two entries, named Caribbean Geopolitical Rivalry? and When Is an Island Not An Island? Caribbean Maritime Disputes
  • Here's a link to a review of the Magellan RoadMate 9055 SatNav GPS
  • APB mentions MapInfo Manager, a solution for geodata searches from Pitney Bowes
  • We mentioned it in, and here's a preview of Depiction 1.3, which "aims to provide all the tools and necessary features for summarizing events such as disaster and emergency relief efforts, location events and situations where maps and information collections need to be integrated rapidly and easily"
In the maps category:
  • Slashdot discusses Crowdsourced Radiation Maps In Asia and US
  • Here's an informative Poster of the Great Tohoku Earthquake (northeast Honshu, Japan) of March 11, - Magnitude 9.0 from the USGS
  • The Map Room analyses the New York Times radiation map and why it's an irresponsible map
  • It seems Apple is still seeking to 'radically improve' maps for iOS
  • TMR links to global migration maps
  • SS mentions a new interactive Sea Ice Atlas
  • Here's news of EPA launch of a Clean Water Violation Map
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Friday Geonews: Australia Flood Maps, ArcGIS Success Stories, iOS Find my Friends, Sarah Palin’s Map, and more

Here's the Friday geonews in batch mode. On the open source / open data front:

  • Here's the fourth entry in the Free Shapefiles of Countries of the World (4) series
  • Via OpenGeoData, I learned about OSMTrack 3.0, an iOS app designed for contributing to OpenStreetMap (more here on version 3)
  • Here's an entry on the future of Marble, the KDE virtual globe
  • Here's an entry on improving GeoTools / GeoServer raster reprojection performance
On the ESRI front:
  • Here's a list of ArcGIS Server Success Stories Published In
In the miscellaneous category:
  • Several geoblogs mentioned the ABC Australia flood maps, along with ESRI's Autralia flood maps
  • Apple is adding a 'Find My Friends' feature to iOS 4.3
  • An entry on the MapQuest and Ford Partnership on MyFord Mobile App for Electrified Vehicle Drivers
  • Here's Andrew Turner's 3 main geospatial trends: consumer mobile and privacy, commercial data -> open data, and visualization -> analysis
In the maps category:
  • Sarah Palin's Political Action Committee map which uses crosshairs to target 20 Democratic Party members to defeat, a map discussed in the controversy regarding the shooting in Tucson, Arizona
  • A map of Aerosols in Earth's Atmosphere
  • NRCan released hundreds of new or updated CanTopo free topographical maps for Canada
  • A map of the Internet in 1972
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ViewRanger launches Global Open Maps edition for iPhone and iPad

Apple Open version delivers global mapping and full Outdoors Navigation Cambridge UK, 1 December – Award-winning ViewRanger GPS, the outdoor navigation app, has introduced a Global Open Maps edition for iPhone and iPad, available for download from the iTunes App Store from today. This launch on Apple iOS means that the affordable and popular ViewRanger Open Maps edition is now globally available on all three of the most widely owned smartphone OS (Android , Symbian and Apple). It comes with access to a range of global Open Mapping layers from street, terrain to aerial photo and is now available for just US$0.99/AU$1.19/NZ$1.29/GB£0.59/€0.79 for an introductory period (usual price US$3.99/AU$4.99/NZD5.29/GB£2.39/€2.99). The Open Maps version lets iPhone and iPad owners, who are into outdoor pursuits like walking, mountain biking, cycling and running enjoy the benefits of ViewRanger virtually anywhere in the world. The Open Maps edition, supports the full feature set, to turn your Apple device into a powerful outdoors GPS navigator allowing you to get more from your favourite Outdoor activities. With ViewRanger; you’ll always know your real-time location on the on-screen moving map, you can record your track to export and share. You can even use it to analyse performance statistics, like distance, speed, height gain/loss. The Open Maps edition provides access to a range of map views, including OpenCycleMap** (topo), OpenStreetMap*** and Bing Road Map and Aerial Imagery. Importantly, not only do the maps work virtually anywhere in the world, but also they can be stored on the phone before travel, for off-line use, so they will work even without a mobile signal. Real-time location sharing is one of the app’s key features: the “BuddyBeaconTM” service allows users to share their location with other app or web users and view the location of their friends on-screen - even if they are using a different smartphone platform, which is ideal for progress tracking. The Open Maps edition is fully upgradeable to run full topographic premium maps available across Europe, in New Zealand and USA, which can be bought easily using iTunes in-App purchasing. Alternatively, a “premium maps” edition is available in some markets1 Craig Wareham, CEO of Augmentra, the company that develops and markets ViewRanger said: “Introducing an Apple iOS version of the Open Maps edition makes ViewRanger even more accessible to anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of personal GPS navigation and location sharing to pursue their sports, leisure or tourism interests anywhere in the world.

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