Real Time Geodemographics
This page contains information on, and links to, websites about Real Time Geodemographics. This is a new subject which can be defined as the study of people (or things) according to their spatial location through time.
An excellent example of the application of real time geodemographics is the setting of motor insurance premiums on a ‘pay as you drive’ basis in which the premium depends on where you drive and at what time of day. There are many others, as the links on this page will show.
Our objective is to provide GKB users with a convenient summary of the main technological and social developments which are shaping this exciting new subject area. We have therefore structured the page under the following headings:
Cutting across all three areas is the use of new visualisation techniques for analysing and presenting dynamic spatial data and a number of the links include details of some of the latest developments.
This major report, prepared by the Surveillance Studies Network for the Information Commissioner, looks at surveillance in 2006 and projects forward ten years to 2016. It describes a surveillance society as one where technology is extensively and routinely used to track and record our activities and movements. This can often be in ways which are invisible or not obvious to ordinary individuals as they are watched and monitored, and the report shows how pervasive surveillance looks set to accelerate in the years to come.
Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the study of surveillance in all its forms, and the free distribution of scholarly information. It produces the journal, Surveillance & Society, and acts as a clearing house for social science and policy research about surveillance.
This site provides a wealth of background information on all forms of surveillance including CCTV, web cams, millimetre wave radar, facial recognition and other technologies. The latest news in this area is also provided, along with information on how to lobby MPs in order to improve regulation.
Cityware is a multidisciplinary research project, integrating the disciplines of architecture and urban design, human-computer interaction and distributed systems. The goal of Cityware is to develop theory, principles, tools and techniques for the design, implementation and evaluation of city-scale pervasive systems as integral facets of the urban landscape. Advances in pervasive computing infrastructures have the potential to dramatically broaden the role of computing in the everyday lives of people with a greater proliferation of personal wireless devices and with wireless devices starting to be embedded in the urban landscape.
This paper by Tim Kindberg and several co-authors describes the 'Cooltown Project'. This project, initiated by HP Labs, seeks to develop an infrastructure to support web presence for people, places and things. By providing a bridge between the real world and a web-based virtual world it will enable services to become more personalised, spontaneous and responsive to the wide variety of contexts in which people live their lives.
DBpedia is a community effort to extract structured information from Wikipedia and to make this information available on the Web. DBpedia allows you to ask sophisticated queries against Wikipedia, and to link other data sets on the Web to Wikipedia data.
New Zealand's Market Truths and France's Reperes get to grips with the online virtual world. Both firms have recruited panels of SL residents over the past few months to take part in surveys.
Real Time Rome is the MIT SENSEable City Lab's contribution to the 2006 Venice Biaennale. The project integrates data from cell phones, buses and taxis in Rome to better understand urban dynamics in real time. Information is presented in map form and using other advanced visualisation techniques.
Second Life is a three-dimensional online, digital world, imagined, created and owned by its residents. Members/residents are represented in this world by 'avatars' (representations of themselves) which can communicate and interact with other avatars. Several big 'real-world' companies such as IBM, Sun, Nissan and Reuters have a presence in Second Life and use this for product and service promotion, employee communication, teaching and other purposes.
This article from the Boston Globe describes how tracking and surveillance technologies are being used by hospitals in the Boston area to monitor the locations of patients, doctors and medical equipment in real time within the hospital in order to better manage patient care.
The term “Internet of Things” has come to describe a number of technologies and research disciplines that enable the Internet to reach out into the real world of physical objects. Technologies like RFID, short-range wireless communications, real-time localisation and sensor networks are now becoming increasingly common, bringing the Internet of Things into commercial use. This conference, held in Zurich in March 2008, was the first to bring leading researchers and practitioners from both academia and industry together to facilitate sharing of applications, research results, and knowledge.
AIM is a global trade association comprising providers of components, networks, systems, and services that manage the collection and integration of data with information management systems. Its members are manufacturers or service providers of technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID), bar code, card technologies (magnetic stripe, smart card, contactless card, optical card), biometrics, and electronic article surveillance (EAS).
Through its CobraTrak product, Cobra has developed a unique and innovative stolen vehicle tracking service delivered via GPS/GSM technology, which offers theft alerts, vehicle tracking and police liaison throughout Europe.
ITIS has invested in the development of a unique system for the collection and analysis of traffic information; it combines information from traffic offices around the UK with ITIS historic and real-time Floating Vehicle Data (FVD®) to provide Journey time forecasts and real-time updates. A pdf copy of the report can be requested by emailing the ABI at
This article from New Scientist Magazine describes the ClearFlow traffic modelling system developed by Microsoft Research at Redmond, California. Using data from GPS-enable vehicles the model integrates this with other road infrastructure and spatial data to generate flow predictions for all categories of road, including un-monitored minor roads. A pilot system in which the predictions are presented in electronic map form is operating in Seattle.
In this edition of BBC Radio 4's 'In Business' programme, Peter Day finds out about the mobile phone, GPS and other wireless technologies which are helping all sorts of useful objects 'know' where they are - and tell everybody else about it. He hears from the people building companies out of this dramatic new sensing ability. A number of useful links are provided for the companies featuring in the programme. Test
This site describes the Trafficmaster and Teletrac services, both of which are focused on the goals of integrated, intelligent driving services that reduce costs, improve efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. Trafficmaster has developed a suite of services in the UK, which includes Fleet Director and the award-winning Smartnav, an intelligent route finding service that uses satellite navigation and live traffic information to find best routes and guide drivers around congestion. Teletrac offers fleet tracking, management and navigation under the Fleet Director brand across the US, serving 4,000 fleets and a total of 72,000 commercial vehicles.
Infinian Corporation provides mobile commerce solutions based on the capture and analysis of data from mobile handsets and other devices. The Infinian product portfolio includes: Mobile Coupons, Live Entertainment Mobile Ticketing, Mobile Cash & Vouchers and Mobile Promotion Sweepstakes & Instant Win Games. Each product is powered by the Infinian Customer Behavioral Management tool (ICBM 2.0) that has been designed to track the behaviour of each customer to create a dynamic profile and database. When used with Infinian’s predictive modeling solution marketers can send the right offer at the right time to each customer to enhance the success of its marketing campaigns.
The DriveTime product from More Th>n (part of Royal & SunAlliance) is aimed at drivers aged 18-25 who will be driving between the hours of 6am and 11pm. In return for a 40% discount on the company's standard premiums, drivers are asked not to use their cars between these times. This is checked by a GPS device which is delivered and fitted free of charge, and sends messages to More Th>n whenever the engine is started or stopped.
This paper, prepared by Rapp Trans (UK) Ltd on behalf of the Association of British Insurers, sets out a vision of driving in the future which takes into account new developments such as Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), vehicle to vehicle communication and GPS-related navigation technologies. The impacts in areas such as road pricing and insurance are assessed. A pdf copy of the report can be requested by emailing the ABI at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Norwich Union is offering pay as you drive motor insurance. Customers have a GPS device fitted in their car and details of where and when they are driving are transmitted to NU. This information, along with other underwriting details such as age, is used to set premiums which are billed monthly.
The Independent reports that less than two years after its launch, Norwich Union has withdrawn one of its flagship car insurance policies. The big-brother element of Pay As You Drive, particularly the ability to see how fast someone drives, was thought to have put a lot of potential policyholders off.
RFID is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves. The tags can be read using remote sensors to identify where the tagged object is and at what time. This Wikipedia entry gives a history of RFID, its potential uses, as well as a discussion of the controversy engendered by privacy concerns.
This article from Science Daily describes the TrafficAid system developed by IntelliOne of Atlanta. The system takes anonymous cell-phone location information and turns it into an illuminated traffic map that identifies congestion in real time. It takes advantage of the steady stream of positioning cues--untraced signals all cell phones produce, whether in use or not, as they seek towers with the strongest signals. It is the first traffic-solution technology that monitors patterns on rural roads and city streets as easily as on highways.
The RFID Journal includes RFID news, case studies, industry focus on Retail, Health Care & Pharmaceuticals, Chemical Manufacturing, Transport &Logistics, Defense & Aerospace, Packaging & Labeling, Apparel & Footwear, a list of FAQs and a useful glossary.
This article from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania describes research at Wharton into the patterns followed by shoppers in grocery stores using RFID-tagged shopping carts. The results, they conclude, challenge many long-standing perceptions of shopper travel behaviour within a supermarket, including ideas related to aisle traffic, special promotional displays, and perimeter shopping patterns.
Experian FootFall is the leading provider of customer counting technology and statistics to both the retail and retail property sectors. Its advanced digital cameras and electronic equipment help provide organisations with fast, accurate information on pedestrian movement in shopping centres and individual retail outlets. Integrating counts of shopper footfall with sales information helps retailers evaluate operational efficiency and marketing effectiveness.
Smartdust is a hypothetical network of tiny wireless microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors, robots, or devices, installed with wireless communications, that can detect (for example) light, temperature, or vibration. The devices, or 'motes', are intended to be the size of a grain of sand, or even a dust particle. When clustered together, they would automatically create highly flexible, low-power networks with applications ranging from climate control systems to entertainment devices that interact with information appliances. A typical application scenario is scattering a hundred of these sensors around a building or around a hospital to monitor temperature or humidity, track patient movements, or inform of disasters, such as earthquakes. In the military, they can perform as a remote sensor chip to track enemy movements, detect poisonous gas or radioactivity. The ease and low cost of such applications have raised privacy concerns however.
This site, developed by futurist Walter Derzko, includes discussion of the 'Global Intelligence Halo' for integrating satellite surveillance and ground sensor data. Also on the site are postings about new types of surveillance technology, 'smart maps' and other developments.
This article by Steve Connor in the Independent newspaper describes the new national surveillance network for tracking car journeys. Under development by the Home Office, the new system will track vehicle journeys by integrating CCTV (enabled with Automated Number Plate Recognition) data from across the UK, including cameras on roads and motorways, filling station forecourts and other sources; and will match this with vehicle road fund licence records.