GPS Virtural Tagging Your World (Matrix Hell Cometh)

November 06, 2009 - Tagging reality

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Augmented reality gets off to a wobbly start

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New Scientist
23 September 2009 by Jim Giles

STUCK between diving in to one of two adjacent restaurants? Maybe your phone already knows which is better - just point its camera at the eateries and see on-screen reviews overlaid in real time. That's the promise of augmented reality (AR), giving you on-the-spot information about the world around you.

But while some who back the technology think its time has now come, after more than a decade in development, others warn that undercooked applications or "apps" are set to disappoint users, potentially damaging the market.

The momentum building behind AR has been fuelled by the growing sophistication of cellphones. With the right software, devices like the iPhone can now overlay reviews of local services or navigation information onto scenes from the phone's camera.

A good example of what is possible today are the AR features in an app released by Yelp, a website that collects shop and restaurant reviews for cities in North America, Ireland and the UK. The company's app, for the iPhone 3GS released last month, uses the phone's camera to display images of nearby businesses, and then lists links to relevent reviews.

Yelp's app relies on the GPS receiver and compass that are built into the handset. Together, these sensors can identify the phone's location and orientation, allowing such apps to call up corresponding information. Other AR apps include virtual Post-it notes that you can leave in specific places, and a navigation system that marks out a route to your destination. Meanwhile, companies are working on games in which characters will appear to move around real environments.

Amid all the hype, however, there is a big problem: the sensors that the apps depend on are not always up to the job. When New Scientist tested an iPhone in downtown San Francisco, the error reported by the GPS sensor was as great as 70 metres, and the compass leapt through 180 degrees as the phone moved past a metal sculpture. Indeed, the Yelp app often displayed links to businesses directly behind the one the camera was pointing at.

"These sensors are astonishingly bad at what people are trying to do with them," says Blair MacIntyre, who studies AR at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Yelp says the app's AR features are a "very early iteration" that the company will improve as it gets feedback.

MacIntyre does insist AR has a bright future, but says accurately pinpointing a location remains a stumbling block. He doubts whether high-accuracy GPS systems will ever be small or efficient enough to incorporate into mobile phones.

To achieve the sub-metre positioning accuracy that really good AR demands, mobile devices will have to analyse scenes, not just record images. "We absolutely need to include computer vision on the phones," says Dieter Schmalstieg at Graz University of Technology in Austria. "It's the only way."

One way to achieve this is to combine laser scans of a city with conventional images to create a three-dimensional computer map. Each building in the map would be represented by a block of the right size and shape, with the camera image of the real building mapped onto it. The phone could use GPS and compass data to get a rough location and orientation reading, then compare the camera image with the model to get a more precise location fix.

Jeffrey Powers of Occipital, a technology start-up based in Boulder, Colorado, says that his company has iPhone software that just does that. The app uses a 3D model of San Francisco created by mapping company Earth Mine, based in Berkeley, California. A demo posted to YouTube earlier this year (see right) shows the app identifying its position using an image of a building and then displaying the shortest route to a nearby Starbucks. Powers claims the system gives locations accurate to within 1 metre.

Others too are building 3D city maps, including Google and Microsoft, but it is doubtful that such maps will achieve truly global coverage. The models will also inevitably lag behind reality, as buildings are knocked down or new ones appear. So such shortcomings have inspired other researchers to consider a "crowd-sourced" solution to speed up data collection.

In this approach, software would pull photographs of a location from the internet and stitch the pictures together to create a 3D image of that place. Such images could also have GPS information attached, and even though the coordinates might be slightly inaccurate, combining many photographs of the same place would fine-tune the location information embedded in the resulting composite image.

Phones using these apps would work out their location by comparing the camera image with the 3D composite, which would be stored on a central database. The new image could also be added to the composite, ensuring that the system keeps up to date. "Just by using these apps you will help build the models," says Tobias Höllerer of the University of California, Santa Barbara, who calls the process "social augmented reality".

Elements of the technology needed to create such a system already exist. Microsoft's Photosynth software can create composite 3D images from a bunch of 2D images, while huge public image libraries such as Flickr could provide the raw data. However, such complex mapping schemes inevitably raise data-storage and privacy concerns, says Höllerer. He intends to explore these issues further at a workshop he is running next month at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality in Orlando, Florida.

In the meantime, Höllerer fears that users will try the current generation of apps and decide the technology is a dud. Virtual reality was hyped up in the early 1990s, he notes, but the field suffered when applications did not live up to users' expectations. "If people try AR and see that the apps are not working they will disregard it," he says. "It happened to virtual reality and it hurt the field."

The Acropolis: This shows related views of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece that are visually "clustered" together, which allows the recognition engine to perform efficient image-matching for unique landmarks.
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Google Analyzes Your Vacation Snaps to Figure Out Where You Were

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Image recognition technology spots landmarks
makes photo galleries smarter

Popular Science
By Jeremy Hsu


Where were we when this was taken? Do you remember, dear?

Tired of trying to identify landmarks in your endless folders of travel photos? Google's image recognition engine could help. Just upload the mystery image to an online album, point the engine at it, and zap -- turns out it was the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece.

There's no product just yet, but Google's recognition engine has proven capable of identifying more than 50,000 unique landmarks from around the world, and all "without any human intervention," said Jay Yagnik, head of Google's Computer Vision Research. His team is scheduled to present its work today at a computer vision conference in Miami, Florida.

The recognition engine automatically pinpointed unique landmarks by sifting through 42 million images from photo-sharing websites Picasa and Panoramio, as well as online travel guides. Visual algorithms compared and filtered landmark images taken from different angles and under many lighting conditions.

GPS tags in many of the images also allowed the engine to identify landmarks through geographical clusters of photos. For instance, a bunch of uploaded images from many different sources regarding a certain iron tower in Paris, France would become flagged as a prime landmark candidate.

Google's team continues to try and improve on the engine's 80-percent accuracy. Visual images which pose no problem for humans can still easily baffle computers -- in one case, the engine has been known to accidentally identify an image of the American flag as the New York Stock Exchange and its flag-draped walls.

The researchers hope that a future engine could automatically organize all the landmark images cluttering personal photo albums. Their vision goes beyond sparing netizens the tedious task of manually writing captions or tagging photos. It's about taming the chaos of collective online sharing, and unlocking hidden information.

Yagnik's team has embraced the large, noisy data sets represented by online photo collections as a way to improve the engine's precision.

"Most of the world's information today lives in pixels," he said.

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Inside the Military’s Secret Terror-Tagging Tech
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By David Hambling June 3, 2009


The story that the CIA uses tiny homing beacons to guide their drone strikes in Pakistan may sound like an urban myth. But this sort of technology does exist, and might well be used for exactly this purpose. It might even have been the “secret weapon” that Bob Woodward said helped the American military pacify Iraq.

The military has spent hundreds of millions of dollars researching, developing, and purchasing a slew of “Tagging tracking and locating” (TTL) gear — gizmos designed to keep covertly tabs from far away. Most of these technologies are highly classified. But there’s enough information in the open literature to get a sense of what the government is pursuing: laser-based reflectors, super-strength RFID tags, and homing beacons so tiny, they can be woven into fabric or into paper.

Some of the gadgets are already commercially available; if you’re carrying around a phone or some other mobile gadget, you can be tracked - either through the GPS chip embedded in the gizmo, or by triangulating the cell signal. Defense contractor EWA Government Systems, Inc. makes a radio frequency-based “Bigfoot Remote Tagging System” that’s the size of a couple of AA batteries. But the government has been working to make these terrorist tracking tags even smaller.

Sandia National Laboratories have carried out development on “Radar Responsive” tags, which are like a long-range version of the ubiquitous stick-on RFID tags used to mark items in shops. The Radar Responsive tag stays asleep until it is woken up by a radar pulse. The tags in Wal-mart have a range of a couple of meters, Sandia’s tags can light up and locate themselves from twelve miles away.

This document from 2004 describes the tags as being credit-card sized and with a “geolocation accuracy” of three feet. The radio waves penetrate buildings. Suggested application include “search and rescue, precision targeting, special operations.” The selection of aircraft used to illustrate the system includes a Predator drone.

The reports from Pakistan suggest that the CIA knew which village to strike, they just needed to locate the exact building (descriptions like “third house on the left” can be dangerously ambiguous, especially when viewing from the air). A Radar Responsive tag would be very handy for guiding a strike from a drone a few miles away.

Nor is this the only technology out there. A 2002 Defense Science Board report on counter-terrorism mentioned, among other things, the possibility of using invisible chemical dye to mark terrorists, so they could be spotted using a suitable viewer.

Read The Rest HERE

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Spy Chips Guiding CIA Drone Strikes, Locals Say

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By Noah Shachtman June 1, 2009


It sounds like a tinfoil hat nightmare, come to life: tiny electronic homing beacons, guiding CIA killer drones to their targets. But local residents and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal wildlands say that’s exactly what’s happening. Tribesman in Waziristan are being paid to “plant the electronic devices” near militant safehouses, they tell the Guardian. “Hours or days later, a drone, guided by the signal from the chip, destroys the building with a salvo of missiles.”

Ever since 9/11, locals in Central Asia and the Middle East have spread tall tales about American super-technology: soldiers with x-ray glasses, satellites that can see into homes, tanks with magnetic, grenade-repelling armor. But small radio frequency or GPS emitters have been commercially available for years. A veteran spy tells Danger Room that the use of these Taliban-tracking devices entirely plausible.

“Transmitters make a lot of sense to me. It is simply not possible to train a Pashtun from Waziristan to go to a targeted site, case it, and come back to Peshawar or Islamabad with anything like an accurate report. The best you can hope for is they’re putting the transmitter on the right house,” says former CIA case officer Robert Baer.

Herndon, Virginia-based defense contractor EWA Government Systems, Inc. is one of several firms that boasts of making tiny devices to help manhunters locate their prey. The company’s “Bigfoot Remote Tagging System” is a “very small, battery-operated device used to emit an RF [radio frequency] transmission [so] that the target can be located and/or tracked.”

The tag has sophisticated power management features to allow use over a long period of time (months)… Each tag can be installed on a witting or unwitting person, material, vehicle, ship, etc. Power is supplied by installed battery or host power source. The tag can be augmented with GPS to allow data logging for later exfiltration or geo-fencing functions (on/off when inside defined geographic boundaries). Bigfoot provides the warfighter with real-time tracking intelligence on potential adversaries conducting threat activities.

Read The Rest HERE

April 21, 2009 - US Census Bureau and GPS Targeting - JANE LESKO reports on the US Census Bureau going door-to-door, nationwide, to place YOUR front door "coordinates" into a Global Positioning System (GPS) for marking/mapping purposes; without your consent - and if you are not home - without your knowledge. Now, why does anyone need GPS Coordinates on every front door in America? Who is really doing this? What good reason can they possibly have for such an expensive project? Listen to this interview and find out.

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The Techniques of Fascism #1: A Missile at Your Door

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June 2, 2009
Doug McIntosh


This will be the first in a series of essays about the practical aspects of creating a fascist state. I have long written about the New World Order and its intentions of reestablishing the Middle Ages with its Feudal system. That plan is now well along in its implementation in my view. There are still some aspects to be finished, but the fascist state is pretty much in place. It is not completely in place now; however, that is not due to a lack of trying. While there are many different aspects of this rapidly forming global fascist state, one of the key ones is what I call "the knowing state." By this I mean the global state wants to know everything about you. Again, there are many parts to this general statement. Today I will write about one in particular.

One of the most distinctive technologies highlighted in the "Star Trek" franchise was the ability of the Federation/Star Fleet to find all of their people any time they wanted. The way Star Fleet did this was to have this little pin on their chests. This particular technique would apply more to microchip technology than to the GPS system in my view. Still, it is clear the NWO watched Star Trek and took notes. Over the last few decades the GPS, or Global Positioning System, has been upgraded far beyond its original intention. In case you forgot, GPS was sold as a way to rescue people who were lost etc. etc. etc. In reality, GPS was always a military system. Always has been and always will be. GPS is a satellite based locator technology, cruising at 12, 625 miles up, some 20,200 kilometers, in an earth orbit which hits the same point 4 times a day. This orbit is used by the military to target their missiles using ground relay stations as part of the tracking system. It is this total system which makes GPS useful in locating objects on Earth.

GPS has been in the news a lot recently. First, I have seen several articles which say that GPS is in crisis and needs to be upgraded, replaced or whatever. I find that interesting. Further, we are now told that the US Census Department wants to make GPS locator marks on every household location in the USA. Why is that? Such a GPS locator mark doesn't fall anywhere in the logical mission of the Census Department. Granted, the Census Department, like all government blobs, engages in mission creep. Mission creep is the government version of algae growing in a lake dosed with large amounts of fertilizer run off. Unless you go in there and suck it up with a shop vac, the algae will overwhelm the lake. Likewise, government mission creep is like that.

I ask myself exactly why would a civilian census department, originally intended merely to count the numbers of people in the country has done this. Exactly why does the Census Department need to know the precise GPS location of every household in the USA? Of course, the answer is they don't. The next question is who does and why do they need that GPS locator? Like I said before, GPS is a military technology that has certain non lethal applications. GPS can either be used to locate a missing hiker on Mount Hood, or it can be used to target a Predator drone missile. The choice is all in the use of the technology. Given the history of the US Federal government, at Waco with the Branch Davidians, at Ruby Ridge among others, you will excuse me that I am not buying the Census story.

The reason is simple. There is absolutely no reasonable, rational or logical reason for the Census Department to have, or need the precise GPS location of every household in the USA. However, there is a need for the Department of Defense to need this kind of info. Things happen in clusters in my view. It is all in the context in my view. If all you look at is the GPS locators, you will miss the big picture. First, we have that pathetic example of humanity called Janet Janet of the Fatherland Security Department with her delusional ranting in these so called reports of hers. We have state level reports, as in Missouri, stating the "terror threat" of certain classes of American citizens. So, the way I see it the GPS locator program makes sense only if you view it from a military standpoint. Otherwise, putting a GPS locator mark on every household in the USA is merely government mission creep gone amuck. However, I do not for one instant think that is the case. It is much more than that. It is much more sinister than that. And it is part of a larger fascist program that is ongoing.

To put it in the plainest terms possible, the only reason you would use a GPS locator system designed to target military weapons, is indeed you intend to use it for military targeting purposes. Otherwise, why would you do it? You wouldn't. At this point, I do not particularly care if people think I am a fruitcake, conspiracy nut. We are way beyond that point in the USA of 2009. I am telling you quite openly, in the little remaining time we have left, the main purpose of the 2010 Federal Census is to get these GPS coordinates into the Pentagon Data Base. And the reason to get them into the NWO controlled US military database is they will used to target "dissidents" with the kind of warfare being perfected in Pakistan's tribal areas as I write this essay. The US military is now engaged in live fire training, under the guise of fighting terrorists, of the specific technology, methodology and techniques which will soon be used here in the USA against "domestic terrorists." You may believe or not believe as you see fit. You have that freedom for a short time longer.

I will tell you plainly, the NWO controlled American military wants these GPS markers so they can launch Predator Drone missile attacks, the aptly named HELLFIRE missile I might add, against a long list of undesirables here in CONUS, continental United States. This is my opinion. I think the facts, the history and the current situation all support my conclusion. They, whoever you think "they" are, intend to kill you for your political, religious and cultural views. And they intend to do it in the most intense "shock and awe" manner they can. You can be sure the population control will be much easier if TV shows, for instance, a Predator Drone strike on the Waco compound. The other thing, since the NWO enforcement groups are cowards when faced with actual military resistance, is remote control, GPS based long range missile strikes will reduce their own casualties. These NWO people want to kill you, but they sure don't want to die while they are doing it.

This concludes the first essay in the series. One thing I will say for the NWO is they are very precise in their methodology. I do not believe they are very intelligent, but they are cunning and do certain things very well. One of them is to put a missile on a GPS identified target. So, when a HELLFIRE missile shows up at your front door, don't say I didn't warn you.

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GPS system 'close to breakdown'
Network of satellites could begin to fail as early as 2010

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Bobbie Johnson, San Francisco
Tuesday 19 May 2009


It has become one of the staples of modern, hi-tech life: using satellite navigation tools built into your car or mobile phone to find your way from A to B. But experts have warned that the system may be close to breakdown.

US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System (GPS) could begin to deteriorate as early as next year, resulting in regular blackouts and failures – or even dishing out inaccurate directions to millions of people worldwide.

The warning centres on the network of GPS satellites that constantly orbit the planet and beam signals back to the ground that help pinpoint your position on the Earth's surface.

The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the GPS network since the early 1990s. According to a study by the US government accountability office (GAO), mismanagement and a lack of investment means that some of the crucial GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as next year.

"It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption," said the report, presented to Congress. "If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected."

The report says that Air Force officials have failed to execute the necessary steps to keep the system running smoothly.

Although it is currently spending nearly $2bn (£1.3bn) to bring the 20-year-old system up to date, the GAO – which is the equivalent of Britain's National Audit Office – says that delays and overspending are putting the entire system in jeopardy.

"In recent years, the Air Force has struggled to successfully build GPS satellites within cost and schedule goals," said the report. "It encountered significant technical problems … [and] struggled with a different contractor."

The first replacement GPS satellite was due to launch at the beginning of 2007, but has been delayed several times and is now scheduled to go into orbit in November this year – almost three years late.

The impact on ordinary users could be significant, with millions of satnav users potential victims of bad directions or failed services. There would also be similar side effects on the military, which uses GPS for mapping, reconnaissance and for tracking hostile targets.

Some suggest that it could also have an impact on the proliferation of so-called location applications on mobile handsets – just as applications on the iPhone and other GPS-enabled smartphones are starting to get more popular.

Tom Coates, the head of Yahoo's Fire Eagle system – which lets users share their location data from their mobile – said he was sceptical that US officials would let the system fall into total disrepair because it was important to so many people and companies.

"I'd be surprised if anyone in the US government was actually OK with letting it fail – it's too useful," he told the Guardian.

"It sounds like something that could be very serious in a whole range of areas if it were to actually happen. It probably wouldn't damage many locative services applications now, but potentially it would retard their development and mainstreaming if it were to come to pass."

The failings of GPS could also play into the hands of other countries – including opening the door to Galileo, the European-funded attempt to rival America's satellite navigation system, which is scheduled to start rolling out later next year.

Russia, India and China have developed their own satellite navigation technologies that are currently being expanded.

2010 Census Goes High Tech With Data-Only HTC ‘Census’ GPS Smartphone - The U.S. Census Bureau will be snatching up half a million units for the upcoming 2010 Census


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US Census Concerns

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Coast To Coast AM
Wednesday 05-06-09
Host: George Noory
Guest: Katherine Albrecht

In the last hour, consumer privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht shared an update on the current US census plan which incorporates tagging homes with GPS readings. Data collection is being done by some 140,000 workers for the 2010 census, and she expressed concern that some of the information they are gathering could be misused by the government.

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Census to take GPS coordinates for every residence in nation

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Bob Unruh
World Net Daily
Wed, 06 May 2009



According to an online Yahoo program, the Global Position System coordinates for the White House, probably one of the best-known publicly owned buildings in the world, are 38.898590 Latitude and -77.035971 Longitude. And since you know that, it's no big deal for the White House to know the coordinates for your front door, is it?

Some people think it is, and are upset over an army of some 140,000 workers hired in part with a $700 million taxpayer-funded contract to collect GPS readings for every front door in the nation.

The data collection, presented as preparation for the 2010 Census, is pinpointing with computer accuracy the locations and has raised considerable concern from privacy advocates who have questioned why the information is needed. The privacy advocates also are more than a little worried over what could be done with that information.

Enhancing the concerns is the Obama administration's recent decision to put White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in an oversight role over the census, which will be used to determine a reapportionment of congressional seats and could be used to solidify a single political party's control over the nation, its budget, military and future.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke recently told the Washington Post: "The census director reports to me, and, of course, I serve at the pleasure of the president." He added the White House told him "it has no interest in politicizing [the census]."

But at American Daily Review, blogger Douglas Gibbs had more than a few doubts.

"GPS coordinates of your front door will make it easier for the government to monitor you," he said. "The U.S. Census Bureau is simply an excuse - a harmless looking means of obtaining the front door coordinates. The creation of GPS coordinates for front doors has nothing to do with the census, in all honesty, no matter how much the United States government tries to convince you that it does."

Read The Rest HERE

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Wisconsin court upholds GPS tracking by police

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By RYAN J. FOLEY | Associated Press Writer
2:42 PM CDT, May 7, 2009


MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody's movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

However, the District 4 Court of Appeals said it was "more than a little troubled" by that conclusion and asked Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate GPS use to protect against abuse by police and private individuals.

As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights -- even if the drivers aren't suspects.

Officers do not need to get warrants beforehand because GPS tracking does not involve a search or a seizure, Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel based in Madison.

That means "police are seemingly free to secretly track anyone's public movements with a GPS device," he wrote.

One privacy advocate said the decision opened the door for greater government surveillance of citizens. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials called the decision a victory for public safety because tracking devices are an increasingly important tool in investigating criminal behavior.

GPS tracked and demolished the WRONG house

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