A New Approach to Finding Locations

A start up called What3Words has mapped and renamed every location on Earth. Using an algorithm to scan GPS co-ordinates, they created 57 trillion 3 meter by 3 meter squares that each have unique three word address. For example, ‘Tools.sand.stone’ refers to a spot in Central Park in New York and ‘Sportscar.citronella.photocopiers’ is a square of the Antarctic Ocean.

They created this map in order to increase accuracy in navigation for businesses and individuals in a simple yet global way. 75% of countries don’t have their own organized addressing system, according to the UN, so the possibilities that this system opens up are far-reaching.

Consumers can download the free app in 25 languages to get directions. But the real value comes when What3Words partners with brands and government agencies. Pizza Hut and Dominoes are using these addresses in places like Mongolia and the Caribbean to deliver pizzas to remote locations. And several models of Mercedes are using What3Words for their built-in navigation systems.

Why It’s Hot

The applications for more precise, universal locations are a win-win for businesses and consumers. UPS estimates saving each of its drivers one mile per day would result in a $50 million in overall savings. For consumers, the benefits range from increased accuracy for driving directions to life-saving emergency vehicles arriving on the scene more quickly.

Source: https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/10/08/startup-simplify-location/

Forget the Shortest Route Across a City; New Algorithm Finds the Most Beautiful

If you prefer beautiful routes over short ones, GPS mapping algorithms are of little use. But Yahoo researchers have come up with an approach that could change that.

The way we navigate in cities has been revolutionized in the last few years by the advent of GPS mapping programs. That’s usually the best bet when driving, but walking is a different matter. Often, pedestrians want the quietest route or the most beautiful but if they turn to a mapping application, they’ll get little help.

That could change now thanks to the work of Daniele Quercia at Yahoo Labs in Barcelona, Spain, and a couple of pals. These guys have worked out how to measure the “beauty” of specific locations within cities and then designed an algorithm that automatically chooses a route between two locations in a way that maximizes the beauty along it.

Quercia and co begin by creating a database of images of various parts of the center of London taken from Google Street View and Geograph, both of which have reasonably consistent standards of images. They then crowdsourced opinions about the beauty of each location. Then they then plot each of these locations and their beauty score on a map which they use to provide directions.

Quercia and co say that on average these routes turn out to be just 12 percent longer than the shortest routes, which makes them reasonable alternatives for a pedestrian.

To work out whether the routes chosen by the algorithm are really more beautiful, Quercia and co recruited 30 people who live in London and are familiar with the area, to assess the recommended paths. And indeed, they agreed that the routes chosen by the algorithm were more beautiful than the shortest routes.

But that’s just the start. Crowdsourcing opinion for every possible location in a city is clearly a time-consuming and potentially expensive business. So Quercia and co have automated this process using photos from Flickr and the data and tags attached to them.

Next goal is to build a mobile app and test it in the wild across different cities in Europe and the U.S. Keep an eye out for it.

Why it’s Hot – applications for tourism and retail marketing.