New Delhi: Internet giant Google on Thursday launched a new app — Delhi Public Transport App — which aims to make it easier for the residents of the national capital to get around on public transport.
The new experimental app will be built into Google Maps and will help users get transit directions easily even when the connection is slow and data is difficult to access, the internet giant said.
“Delhi Public Transport app makes the direction and time-table information for Delhi Metro and buses available offline, to help users get information about directions between bus stops and metro routes even when they don’t have any net connection,” Google said in a statement.
“Once the app is downloaded, it uses no data for directions’ queries or timetables, even if the phone is online. A small amount of data is used for news alerts (if online, roughly 1 KB each, about once a day) and user-optional feedback (up to 100 KB per feedback report),” it added.
The app will use the same transit data for DMRC metro, DTC buses, DIMTS (orange) buses and Gurgaon Rapid Metro as that found on Google Maps and available offline for the users.
According to Google, around 2.6 million people travel by Delhi Metro daily.
San Francisco, September 15, 2017 : Google is testing video reviews with its “Local Guides” programme that would allow users (who are part of the programme) to shoot 10-second videos right from Maps or upload 30-second video clips from their camera.
To upload video reviews to Maps, the user has to look for and select a place in Maps, scroll down and select “add a photo,” tap the “camera” icon and then hold the shutter to record or upload a short video, TechCrunch reported late on Thursday.
This feature is available on Android devices only for now.
The company introduced this feature to the “Local Guides” about two weeks ago.
Google is now notifying users about it via email and will likely release it for public in the near future,
Previously, users could attach only photographs to locations on Google Maps and there was no option to add videos. (IANS)
LONDON, August 5, 2017: Researchers in England are hoping to help root out modern-day slavery in northern India by using detailed satellite imagery to locate brick kilns — sites that are notorious for using millions of slaves, including children.
A team of geospatial experts at the University of Nottingham use Google Maps and dozens of volunteers to identify potential sites of exploitation and report them to authorities.
“The key thing at the moment is to get those statistics right and to get the locations of the brick kilns sorted,” said Doreen Boyd, a co-researcher on the “Slavery from Space” project.
“There are certainly activists on the ground that will help us in terms of getting the statistics and the locations of these brick kilns to [government] officials.”
Anti-slavery activists said the project could be useful in identifying remote kilns or mines that would otherwise escape public or official scrutiny.
“But there are other, more pressing challenges like tackling problematic practices, including withheld wages, lack of transparent accounting … no enforcement of existing labor laws,” said Jakub Sobik, spokesman at Anti-Slavery, a London-based nongovernmental organization.
Millions of people in India are believed to be living in slavery. Despite a 1976 ban on bonded labor, the practice remains widespread at brick kilns, rice mills and brothels, among others.
The majority of victims belong to low-income families or marginalized castes like the Dalits or “untouchables.”
Nearly 70 percent of brick kiln workers in South Asia are estimated to be working in bonded and forced labor, according to a 2016 report by the International Labor Organization. About a fifth of those are underage.
The project relies on crowdsourcing, a process where volunteers sift through thousands of satellite images to identify possible locations of kilns. Each image is shown to multiple volunteers, who mark kilns independently.
The team is currently focused on an area of 2,600 square kilometers in the desert state of Rajasthan — teeming with brick-making sites — and plans to scale up the project in the coming years.
Researchers are now in talks with satellite companies to get access to more detailed images, rather than having to rely on publicly available Google Maps.
The project is one of several anti-slavery initiatives run by the university, which include research on slave labor-free supply chains and human trafficking. (VOA)
August 04, 2017: Finding underground methane gas leaks is now as easy as finding a McDonalds, thanks to a combination of Google Street View cars, mobile methane detectors, some major computing power and a lot of ingenuity.
When a city’s underground gas lines leak, they waste fuel and release invisible plumes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. To find and measure leaks, Colorado State University biologist Joe von Fischer decided to create “methane maps,” to make it easier for utilities to identify the biggest leaks, and repair them.
“That’s where you get the greatest bang for the buck,” he pointed out, “the greatest pollution reductions per repair.”
Knowing that Google Maps start with Google Street View cars recording everything they drive by, along with their GPS locations, von Fischer’s team thought they would just add methane detectors to a Street View car. It turned out, it was not that simple.
The world’s best methane detectors are accurate in an area the size of a teacup, but methane leaks can be wider than a street. Also, no one had ever measured the size of a methane leak from a moving car.
“If you’ve ever seen a plume of smoke, it’s sort of a lumpy, irregular object,” von Fischer said. “Methane plumes as they come out of the ground are the same, they’re lumpy squirrelly objects.”
The team had to develop a way to capture data about those plumes, one that would be accurate in the real world. They set up a test site in an abandoned airfield near campus and brought in what looked like a large scuba tank filled with methane and some air hoses. Then they released carefully measured methane through the hose as von Fischer drove a specially equipped SUV past it, again and again.
They compared readings from the methane detectors in the SUV to readings from the tank.
“We spend a lot of time driving through the plumes to sort of calibrate the way that those cars see methane plumes that form as methane’s being emitted from the ground,” von Fischer explained.
With that understanding, the methane detectors hit the road.
But the results created pages of data, “more than 30 million points,” said CSU computer scientist Johnson Kathkikiaran. He knew that all those data points alone would never help people find the biggest leaks on any map. So he and his advisor, Sanmi Peracara, turned the data into pictures using tools from Google.
Their visual summaries made it easy for utility experts to analyze the methane maps, but von Fischer wanted anyone to be able to identify the worst leaks. His teammates at the Environmental Defense Fund met that challenge by incorporating the data into their online maps. Yellow dots indicate a small methane leak. Orange is a medium-sized one. Red means a big leak – as much pollution as one car driving 14,000 kilometers in a single day.
Von Fischer says that if a city focuses on these biggest leaks, repairing just 8 percent of them can reduce methane pollution by a third.
“That becomes a win-win type scenario,” he said, “because we’re not asking polluters to fix everything, but we’re looking for a reduction in overall emissions, and I think we can achieve that in a more cost effective way.”
After analyzing a methane map for the state of New Jersey, for example, the utility PSE&G has prioritized fixing its leakiest pipes there first, to speed the reduction of their overall pollution.
“To me that was a real victory, to be able to help the utility find which parts were leakiest, and to make a cost effective reduction in their overall emissions,” von Fischer said.
Von Fischer envisions, even more, innovation ahead for mapping many kinds of pollution… to clean the air and save energy. (VOA)