Feeds

Blue Dasher seeks customers for street-level photographs

Technology looking for application?

Boost IT visibility and business value

CTIA '08 On Tuesday Blue Dasher announced it had accumulated complete street-level photography of every road in San Francisco, South Florida and Las Vegas. Today we sat down with the company in CTIA, who told us why.

The technology that Miami-based Blue Dasher uses is impressive enough: its cars, complete with little periscope sticking out of the sun roof, drive around at the speed of the surrounding traffic while five cameras take four pictures a second. The resulting images, including one pointing upwards, are stitched together into navigable spheres that show everything around the vehicle.

But does the world need more street-level pictures to accompany mapping applications? "Absolutely!" Blue Dasher founder Michael Reidbord told us. "Look around at all the companies selling navigation systems. They all want to be able to show people the intersection they're approaching, and we can provide that".

We're not convinced that being able to see a photograph of the approaching junction will make it easier to navigate: it could give the driver confidence they're in the right place, but it could equally well distract them depending on what was happening when the Blue Dasher car passed by.

"Real estate companies are desperate for this," Reidbord assured us, so they can virtually explore areas, showing potential buyers what their route to work might look like, or just the nearest shops.

That makes some sense, but it seems like using a technological sledgehammer to crack a nut. More interesting is the potential application in law enforcement:

"The dispatcher can see the area an officer is exploring, tell them to check out a building or suggest where someone might be hiding … especially at night."

The idea of a dispatcher using a virtual map to guide a local agent is very science fiction: fans of the film Max Headroom will recall how effective such an arrangement can be. Blue Dasher reckons its images are of sufficient density to be used in such a way.

The company wants to see the technology fitted into police cars too, for recording of incidents in every direction, though its accept that the open-sunroof-sticking-up-periscope approach may need to be modified.

We're still not convinced the world needs omni-directional images of every city street. But no doubt there are applications still to be discovered. Covering an entire city requires a considerable, and sustained, investment, and we've yet to see an application will generate enough revenue to pay for this.®

Bootnote

For all the news on the CTIA Wireless trade show see our CTIA roundup.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.