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    Re: On the integration of location and data
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Nov 2, 21:08 -0800

    Yes. Augmented reality! This is the cool development in smartphone technology 
    I was talking about last spring that we could leverage very easily for 
    celestial navigation education (here's a link to a message of mine in that 
    earlier thread: http://fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx?i=108258). The technology that 
    allows the software to put a tag on a building can just as easily tag 
    celestial bodies. So imagine this scenario... you're out for a stroll shortly 
    after sunset and you see a brilliant star in the sky above that famous 
    building in Sydney. You hold up your phone (the word does not do justice to 
    this device), turn on the camera, and it puts a floating label over the 
    building that says "Sydney Opera House" (well, obviously!) and a label over 
    that "star" that says "Planet Jupiter". Tens of millions of people worldwide 
    may soon be able to identify stars that they never could have identified 
    previously. While most casual users will probably use this to pick out their 
    astrological signs, some will be looking for other information. People who 
    are interested in navigation will have a new way to approach the subject.
    The article doesn't mention that this technology depends not just on location 
    data, but also on orientation data which generally implies a built-in 
    magnetic compass. There's a way around this in major cities if you use some 
    sophisticated processing (which can occur server-side) to take the image, the 
    GPS (or wifi) location data and then figure out direction based on the 
    buildings seen and maybe even using shadows if it's daytime. That combined 
    with the simple inertial sensors in many phones would yield orientation 
    without a magnetic compass.
    And now we just need someone to write some applications that feature the 
    celestial navigation data prominently. This could inspire a really dramatic 
    increase in the number of people who are interested in celestial navigation.
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