Thursday, November 15, 2012

Where does Google have live traffic information?

    Where all can I see the real-time traffic data? This question has been asked a several hundred times by several hundred people on several hundred forums. Probably you too have had this question. Well, we now have an answer to it and a very good one.

A map displaying the availability of traffic data

    Click on the image above and you would be redirected to a map from Google which will show you all the places at which live traffic data is available. Hope you'll enjoy this and quenches your thirst to know more about the Google Real Time traffic data. If haven't already read from where Google gets it's traffic data, be sure to check out this earlier post.

    Do post any question you have about the Google Maps, and I will try and answer as many as I can. For the question which I won't be able to answer, there is always our dear friend Google =)
If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Diwali Greetings

    Wishing all the readers of Spatial Unlimited a very happy and a prosperous Diwali!

If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Google Street View Image API

    Street View is one of most used feature of the Google Maps and why not? You can actually see any part of the world as if you are visiting the place at that very moment. And now with the Google Street View Image API, you don't even need to carry a camera with you to the places you visit. You can take-in all the scenic beauty without even bothering about clicking a single picture. You can come back from your vacation and get a few images using the Google Street View Image API and show those images to your friends and relatives. Create an album of high definition images and go ahead and share it on Facebook for your friends to have a look.

    Using the Google Street View Image API is very simple and anybody can make use of it without any programming knowledge required. I will walk you through the entire process of effectively using the Google Street View Image API. So if you are set, let's go on an amazing ride across the globe with the Google Street Views.

    The Google Street View Image API lets you embed a static (non-interactive) Street View panorama image in your web-page without using any sort of Javascript. You can might as well get the image using the API and save it to your machine, create an album and share it on Facebook, Twitter or any other way you wish to share! The viewport is defined with URL parameters sent through a standard HTTP request, and is returned as a static image. This means that, what you get in the static image is all controlled through a HTTP web link and nothing more.

The Faber Bistro atop Mount Faber, Singapore

    The image above is of the Faber Bistro atop Mount Faber in Singapore. This is an excellent place to visit in Singapore and should take the Faber Loop Walk here. You will definitely enjoy the views of the island city from here. The fries at this bistro after walking along the Faber Loop are definitely worth a try.

    Well, let's get back to the Google Street View Image API and how to use this API. All you need is to generate a HTTP request to get a static image. Take a look at the image below. This is the famous Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. You can easily spot the URL in this image. This is an example of the URL that needs to be generated. I will explain each of the parameters used in this HTTP request.


    A Street View Image request is of the following form:

http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/streetview?parameters

    The first of the required parameters is size. Size specifies the output size of the image in pixels. Size is specified as width x height - for example, size=600x400 will return an image 600px wide and 400px in height. The maximum size of the image returned is 640x640. If you use the Street View Image API for Business then you can get images of up to 2048x2048.

    The next parameter that is required is location. Location can be either a text string (such as Marina Bay Sands, Singapore) or a lat/lng value (1.28821, 103.854121). The Street View Image API will snap to the panorama photographed closest to this location. Because Street View imagery is periodically refreshed, and photographs may be taken from slightly different positions each time, it's possible that your location may snap to a different panorama when imagery is updated.

    The third and the last required parameter is sensor. Sensor indicates whether or not the request came from a device using a location sensor, like a GPS to determine the location sent in this request. This value must be either true or false.

    The next four are optional parameters but very important. Proper use of these parameters will enhance the outputs of your Street View Image request.

    The first important optional parameter is heading. Heading indicates the compass heading of the camera. Accepted values are from 0 to 360 (both indicating North), with 90 indicating East, 180 indicating South and 270 indicating West. If no heading is provided, a value will be calculated that directs the camera towards the specified location, from the point at which the closest photograph was taken.

    The next important optional parameter is fov. Fov or Field of View is expresses in degrees, with a maximum allowed value of 120. The default value for fov is 90. When dealing with a fixed-size viewport, as with a Street View image of a set size, field of view in essence represents zoom, with smaller numbers indicating a higher level of zoom.

    The next optional and another very important parameter is pitch. Pitch specifies the up and down angle of the camera relative to the Street View vehical. This is often, but not always flat horizontal with default value being 0. Positive value, with a maximum up to 90 angle the camera upwards while a negative value with minimum up to -90 angle down the camera.

    These three optional parameters usually play the most important part in displaying the correct Street View image. To get the perfect image in the scope, you need to play around with these 3 optional but very important parameters. The fourth optional parameter is key. When you will have an API key for using the Google Street View Image API, you will have to use the key parameter as well.

    So, to summarize the parameters that form the Google Street View Image HTTP request call,
  • Required parameters
    • size
    • location
    • sensor
  • Optional but important parameters
    • heading
    • fov
    • pitch
    • key
    How you enjoy the Street View Image API. Do let me know how you would be putting it to use and which places you would visit through the Street View. Do share and comment and let me know of any questions regarding Google Maps that you would like to be answered! Till the next post, enjoy your vacations using the Google Street View.
If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Spatial Unlimited turns 2

    Today on this day, 2 years back, I started writing this blog Spatial Unlimited.I can't believe it's been two whole years since I started sharing my little knowledge with the community across the planet.

    Since the blog officially went live on November 9, 2010, we have received:
  • 76,800 page views and counting...
  • Several 1000 shares and likes and comments across the social networking sites.
  • Over 500 email followers and around 100 likes on the Facebook page
    Not bad at all, for an unknown guy, new to the world of Google Maps and new to blogging.

    When I look back at the last 2 years of sharing and learning, I realize that I have got so much from the community. Got the opportunity to help a few with their Google Maps problems and learned as much from them. Writing this blog has helped me keep updated with the Google Maps technology and things around it!

    Moreover, I’d like to thank each and every one of you who visits my blog, reads my content, views my codes, and takes the time to comment.  To each and every one of you readers out there - thank you very much.

    Today, I would like to share with you all, 25 blog posts, my personal favorites from this blog. Hope you enjoy them and keep visiting the blog as always!





If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Google - Geoeye Insurance Solution Set

    Google will now soon be entering the market of risk management and crisis event response. With the extent of satellite imagery and the extent of geospatial expertise available with Google, this was an obvious thing coming. People, especially from the insurance industry, have long being pondering on the fact, that why Google had not moved into the the Catastrophic Risk Management avenue before. But now, the wait is over and Google is soon stepping into the Risk management domain that may bring a stir in the market dominated by companies like RMS and AIR.

    Google is teaming with GeoEye to help insurance organizations across the globe, more effectively address risk management and crisis event response.  Google’s mapping solutions, combined with GeoEye’s Earth imagery and geospatial expertise, provide a platform for enabling strategic decision making, optimization of people and assets, and powerful location-based applications across the enterprise. Insurers know that having an accurate understanding of an asset’s location and associated risks (natural disaster potential, crime, lack of fire stations, high replacement costs, etc.) is critical to evaluating risk in the underwriting process.

    Having such kind of accurate location based understanding of the risks associated with the insured locations becomes all the more important in the aftermath of a crisis event when claims get filed. It helps to have an accurate view of the affected areas over time and geography.

    Google and GeoEye have developed the solution set to address these scenarios. Google had GeoEye, together hosted a webinar just recently, where Google’s Hillary Renderman and GeoEye’s Andre Kearns described several use cases, and were joined by Google’s Chris Sierra and GeoEye’s Alistair Miller, who gave a demo of the solution set.

    The slides of the presentation are as follows:



    Some of the key points from the webinar included:
  • About Google Enterprise that takes Google's most popular and innovative consumer web services and makes them ready for Businesses, Governments and Educational Institutions; aligning the way people work with the way they live.
  • Geographic information is mission critical - yet most of it remains silo ed or unused." Although more than 80% of organization data has a location dimension ... this information is rarely exploited."
  • Trends in Insurance:
    1. More efficient asset liability management models and analysis to help improve risk management
    2. Regulations on governance risk transparency and compliance
    3. Expected compliance on regulatory reporting
    4. Using Big Data to help estimate claims, credit, and market data
    5. Increase in ability to provide access by mobile and and voice for product and service delivery
    6. Analytics to help with customer insight and more efficient business processes.
  • Why Google Maps & Earth for Insurance:
    1. Better planning
    2. Optimise People, underwriting and Assets & Facilities claims
    3. Insight into policies
    4. Incident Management
    5. Regulatory Compliance better targeting for sales Disaster Deployment and marketing.
    Will this move from Google cause a stir in the issuance market? Will this change the face of the Risk Management Industry? Will catastrophic risk management and underwriting change for better? Would this solution set prove to be a threat to the risk management players in the industry? There are so many questions to answer, but will all of this lead to a better and a safer tomorrow?
If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!