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Microsoft Thinking About Camera Phone Aided Mapping RRS feed

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  • Microsoft is testing a new service that allows camera mobile phone owners that are lost in the Seattle area to get information on where they are and also get a map.

    All users have to do is take a snapshot of where they are and send it to a central database which will match the local landmarks and will determine the user's location.

    The new service is being displayed by the Redmond company at the annual TechFest, a research event this week. Te map-search technology required Microsoft to take millions of street-level photos of Seattle's buildings and landmarks.

    All the pictures were added to the database and indexed by distinguishing features that can be easily compared to the pictures that are sent in by users.

    Xing Xie, a Microsoft researcher, commented: “When you are using a mobile phone, then inputting text can sometimes be difficult. So we decided to make the camera the input.”

    Currently, the service is still being tested and doesn't appear to be particularly scalable. It would be difficult for Microsoft to actually release the product on a large scale because the company would need databases full of pictures of buildings from every city. If it's going to work properly, it will give a helping hand to many people in need.

    Also, it seems to be very easy to use. Only having to take a photo of something nearby to get a map showing your exact location would be very useful, especially nowadays when the majority of mobile phones out there come with a built-in camera and considering that, in the future, phones without a camera will probably disappear completely.
    Friday, March 9, 2007 1:50 PM

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