Tag: Travel TechnologyView All Tags
Japan Travel / Travel Technology / Google / Google Earth / Google Maps / Disaster Travel / → All Tags
You guys know that we have this weird love-hate relationship with Google Earth and Google Maps, which have basically become de facto travel technology because of all the insane places that Google has photographed. For a small taste of our ambivalence, see here and here for discussions regarding the phrase "now you can travel without ever leaving the comfort of your home." Has a douchier thing ever been said, anywhere? Travel shouldand in a very precise sense, just isabout leaving your home.
That said, there are a couple of places we don't see ourselves traveling to. If Google wants to photograph those and dump them into Earth or Maps, we'll happily indulge ourselves for a few hours (read: days). Cue this news that Google Street View has just added shots of Namie, a city that used to house 21,000 residents but is right in the center of the Japanese nuclear zone created by the earthquake plus tsunami two years ago that destroyed the Fukushima plant.
Google Maps / Travel Technology / Winter Travel / Active Travel / Android / iOS / Skiing / Ski Travel / → All Tags
In case you missed it we’re in the middle of the winter, and pretty much everyone has been hit with the snow—especially those in the northeast. It’s definitely time to take a break from the shoveling and plowing, and make your way onto the slopes. Skiing down the mountain is way better than playing with the snow in your driveway, and now Google is even here to help you find your way.
Adding to their mapping empire, Google just recently revealed that they’ve got the scoop on a whole bunch of ski resorts. Their latest addition boosts their offerings by another 38, as they add to their collection of ski resorts and mountains across the United States and Canada. Different lines indicate lifts, trails, difficulty, and even the path to the best hot toddy by the fire. Okay—maybe not that last part, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that was buried in there somewhere.
We've long been worried about how the futuristic technology being built into Google Maps and Google Earth was pushing people to unironically say douchey things like 'now you can travel without leaving your house!' The problem isn't just that people are saying those things, though that's a problem too. It's that when you look at the direction technology is heading, those people might not be totally wrong.
Just to be clear, as travel junkies who like travel junkiism, we're not totally comfortable with the situation. But of course, we don't get a vote.
Foursquare has published a map that the company says shows the last 500,000,000 check-ins on the social media service. According to travel tech blog TNooz, the data comes from just the last three months of Foursquare usage. That means Foursquare users are checking in more than 150 million times per month. Neat.
Foursquare's actually been pretty good about sharing some of the data collected by the game (does it still count as a game; it used to be a game, right?) Last summer the company unveiled a list of the most visited global landmarks according to Foursquare users. The data was a little skewed - it's not really the world's most visited landmarks, as much as the landmarks most visited by the small part of humanity that uses Foursquare - but again, it's kind of a neat to peek into tons and tons and tons of data.
NASA has always been very eager to showcase "practical" space travel spin-offs. Voters have generally been reluctant to fund the space agency merely because it takes humanity into the stars and builds telescopes that peek into the origins of the universeeven the Apollo program had problems getting support at the timeso NASA tells people that space technology will also help scientists build better toasters or whatever. It's actually kind of depressing.
That said, and luckily, people who can land bus-sized rovers on other planets with tick-tock precision are obviously going to create some really cool stuff. And since it's already there, why not spin it off?
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we’ll be taking supersonic flights again anytime soon, but Airbus does have some new ideas about how its airplanes will be taking to the skies. This new travel technology is a long way off—if it ever takes off—but at least they’re starting to think a little bit outside of the box.
Airbus just released a few different ideas regarding where air travel could be heading in the future, and one of the most interesting ones kind of steals techniques used by aircraft carriers sailing around the globe. They’re calling this new idea “Eco-Climb,” and basically it’s a plan to launch airplanes into the air through propelled acceleration. Not only would this be quite the experience for those on board, but it would mean steeper climbs after takeoff and a minimization of noise while allowing planes to reach their cruising altitudes even quicker.
Essentially, it's a high tech airplane catapult.
Social Media / Travel Tech / Travel Technology / TripAdvisor / Social Travel / Bad Ideas / → All Tags
Not only have some travel companies ignored our advice and rushed to develop Facbeook applications even though their business models have nothing to do with social media, but now there are entire sub-industries devoted that nonsense. We have no idea how that happened, or why people are building startups on the assumption that you're going to share your travel details with the friends of your friends, but apparently the era of "social travel" has arrived. For at least the next few months.
"There is a trust forged in that tribal mentality that traditional travel companies or guides can't tap into," says one startup entrepreneur in New York City, who suggests that people will go where their online friends tell them to. That's an interesting point inasmuch as, first, we don't exactly know what it means ("tribal mentality"?) and, second, it's almost certainly untrue.
If you’re the kind of tech-minded traveler who rushed to replace your guidebooks with podcast tours, and erased your podcasts to make room for iPhone travel apps, then it’s time to start getting excited about the newest in travel technology: augmented reality.
Start-up company Layar is preparing to introduce the world’s first augmented reality browsera sort of virtual guidebook that projects data onto the world in front of you. The technology is currently getting a test run in Amsterdam, where people can download a free Layar application to their smartphones. Then, holding the phone up in front of you, you’re shown information about restaurants and ATMs in your sightline, projected right onto the screen.
On the spectrum of luggage-related paranoia, on one side you have those little plastic locks that people who vacation in Atlantic City put on their suitcases. A fascinating case study in human gullibility but not exactly secure.
The BioCase features exclusive biometric (fingerprint) technology that unlocks when memorized fingerprints access the case. The cases are nearly indestructible with their hard side design, adding even more security and protection during your travels... Each case will “memorize” up to eight fingerprints with a memory that remains charged for 90 days. Each case can be fully charged using a power adapter or USB plug.
Could Terrafugia's Flying Car be the ultimate way to avoid those silly airline fees, nasty seatmates and the overall frustrations of flying commercial? Possibly. Officially called the Transistion, the plane-car hybrid made its first flight out of the Plattsburgh Airport in upstate New York on March 5 and you can watch the video here. So how does it work and when we can we get one? According to CNET:
As a car, the two-seat Transition is designed to be easy on garages and oncoming traffic--its wings fold up quite snugly. In folded mode, the approximately 19-foot-long vehicle is 80 inches wide, and 6 feet, 9 inches high. As an airplane, it stands a few inches shorter and has a wingspan of 27 feet, 6 inches.
The vehicle runs off unleaded fuel from your run-of-the-mill gas station for both terrestrial and aerial travel, cruising at highway speeds on land and better than 115 miles per hour in the air.
The vehicle is not quite ready to be sold to the public but the first delivery is expected in 2011. And you have to be Richard Branson-rich to afford one. The car reportedly will cost $200,000. Hopefully in 2011 we still won't be in a recession.
Airline Customer Service / Airlines / American Airlines / Technology / Travel Technology / → All Tags
Frequent fliers on American Airlines will soon enjoy streamlined automated customer service by phone, thanks to a fancy new customer-recognition program.
As the AP points out, the Remember Me system recognizes the phone numbers of AAdvantage members, greeting them by name and automatically providing same-day gate and flight information with nary a keystroke. A spokesman said that the move is aimed at improving the customer-service experience, though it will also save the company money by reducing the need for actual human beings in the call center.
Like most people, we've been frustrated by the frequent ineptitude of computerized phone systems, but since that's the direction the industry is inevitably headed, we applaud improvements such as these. The more that customer recognition programs can truly anticipate why we're calling and deliver the information we need quickly, the more we'll accept them. Now, if the airlines could program computers to make flights depart on time, we'd be getting somewhere.
If you're in Las Vegas this week and are wondering why there are so many pocket protectors around, it's because the annual Computer Electronics Show (CES) is taking place.
On Wednesday, geeks will descend on Las Vegas--some by car, most by plane and almost all of them filling up the city's lonely hotel rooms--for the world's largest consumer technology trade show. Here, companies will unveil their latest products, inventions and toys which will eventually be sold to the masses in 2009.
On the travel gear side, iGo--you know the company that sells like, a million different adapters and chargers for your laptops, cellphones and iPods--will show off their newest products for use on-the-go. The coolest one seems to be the iGo Laptop Charger which uses iGo Green Technology that reduces energy by thwarting "vampire power." (Yes, mention the word vampire and we're interested.)
Vampire power is the energy suckage that reduces your battery life even when a device is turned off or in stand-by mode. As anyone who travels frequently with a laptop knows, conserving battery power is all too important. Oh, the things we will do for an outlet. It's embarrassing actually.