If you decided not to shell out the dough for Verizon Navigator, or some other equally useful GPS system, you might find yourself in a jam if you were to get lost ambling around a big city. At Microsoft’s annual TechFest, they displayed a new project which could save you the cost of a taxi fare or the risk of becoming even more lost. Imagine being able to snap a picture of any building in the city, and sending it off to a database, soon to receive a map and information of where you are. Microsoft can make it possible.
To make a working model of the project, Microsoft had to take millions of street level photos from Seattle, the first city to be tested thus far. Instead of making text the only source of a GPS directional system, Microsoft researchers figured it would be a lot easier to just make the camera the input. Using the millions of pictures obtained, and cross-referencing distinguishing features of the buildings, they can then compare these to the photos sent in by users. — Andrew Dobrow