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May 09, 2011
Pocket Life Platform Comes to the U.S. with CO2 Footprint Tracking
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Pocket Life Platform Comes to the U.S. with CO2 Footprint Tracking

By Susan Smith


Pocketweb, a company based in New Zealand, with subsidiary offices in Sidney and Berlin, announced that they are launching their Pocket Life platform in the U.S.

Pocketweb and Volvo have teamed up to deliver an updated version of their CO2 Reduction Solution Suite, “Commute Greener!” Based on the Pocket Life platform, Michael Heinzel, Managing Director of Pocketweb, said that Commute Greener! provides an interactive CO2 reduction solution suite for enterprises and large metropolitan areas.

“Commute Greener!” includes CO2 footprint-tracking tools that monitor and analyze users’ greenhouse gas emissions while encouraging them to set reduction targets based on weekly driving habits. Users can also utilize “Commute Greener!” integrated social networking tools to compare their performance with other users, challenge those in their network to reduce gas emissions, and provide alternate routes that encourage CO2 reduction.

The company consists of a small number of developers whose passion is location, according to Heinzel.



Initially the company developed with Vodafone a social networking app called Pocket Life with a strong focus around location. “We believe in location of users that is available at all times, that will change a lot of how people behave, meet, and act,” explained Heinzel. “We developed this social networking app with a twist around location, since location of the user or person is very sensitive, it is also very strongly focused on security.”

This Pocket Life app has been available for a couple of years now and Pocketweb has developed it into a platform they can use for other apps as well. “Our backend server is optimized to deal with location data, and make it available and collect it in a timely manner. It’s around what can you do with location,” said Heinzel.

Heinzel said everyone is trying to find the killer app for location, but the big step hasn’t really been taken yet.

Pocketweb has a couple of apps on the market and a couple more launching soon. One of those apps is the “Commute Greener!” app, which is an app where user can store and record their commuting to work behavior and try to reduce the CO2 footprint they have. They can also use GIS technology to really measure how much CO2 they make or save by using Commute Greener! The partnership with Volvo is aimed at bringing the application to corporate and large government organizations to give their employees an incentive to save CO2 and make healthier life choices.

The company is working on other apps that mainly focus on the location data of people. “One of the apps will have a bit less security, one will have a lot of security, so not even our service could read the location of people,” said Heinzel. “If you look at Latitude or what Facebook is doing with location, we believe a lot more security is required to make this usable for people. Some are very careful with their location data.”

Social Network Focus on Location

The idea behind Pocket Life was to have a social network that focused on location of people and focuses on the sharing of location between friends. “We believe it is the inner circle,” Heinzel pointed out. “On Facebook you can have thousands of friends, yet no one has thousands, so we call it the inner circle 'real friends' of maybe 5-10 people. You don’t want to share location with Facebook but you do want to share it with your few friends.”

Pocket Life allows you to define who your friends and family are. You can post photos to share with friends, family or inner circle. You might want to share different information with your colleagues, but your business address you might want to share with your colleagues and also status updates. For those differences Pocketweb has created different security layers, and everything deals with location.

Now Pocketweb owns all the rights to Pocket Life, as Vodafone pulled out of the deal before it came to market. Much of what Pocket Life offered is available on the market now such as the ability to geotag photos, but when Pocket Life was just getting off the ground, it was not readily available technology. You can post your own location, you can show your own location on maps, share favorites with locations, track your locations, record and show them, and share them.

On Mobile Devices

The application is available on the iPhone, Blackberry, and soon Android phones. It can collect other status feeds from other social networks as well as connect to LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, and others. You can see all those status updates in one status feed called the TimeLine. You can share photos, favorite places, and the local search is based on where you are.

Mexico City is using Commit Greener! to group their employees. You can build your organization within Commit Greener! as your real organizational structure. “First of all, you collect what we call the baseline which is your CO2 footprint before people get engaged, which is your commuting behavior as it was,” said Heinzel, “Then people start saving by taking the train or walking or taking the bus or riding a bike. You can see how much CO2 was saved on a personal level, department level and then at the organizational level.”

The city of Gottenberg and a large organization in Sweden have recently signed up all their employees for this service. Some corporations try to better engage their employees by giving them money incentives for saving CO2 – that’s what Commute Greener! is targeted at. Companies can create marketing campaigns around various types of location applications that they develop. They could use the data that is posted from Commute Greener! for marketing comparisons. It can show how much money and CO2 was saved.


The API is currently closed, but Pocketweb is discussing with Volvo the possibility of opening the APIs around this functionality so developers can create their own applications, use the CO2 calculations mechanisms or the journey recording mechanisms. Heinzel said that we might see the Open API sometime in this next year. Pocketweb is also working with a University team in Sweden and have developed an API to the Commit Greener! app in order to develop a ride sharing app.


“In the Pocket Life platform, we built in the security from the beginning – it’s not like Facebook which was completely open in the beginning – the mindset was everybody wants to share everything,” said Heinzel. “It’s very tough to put in the security layer after you’ve started already.”

In Pocket Life, “You have different things you want to share, and pick what you want to share with whom,” said Heinzel. “We only publish photos that you want to share with your friends. Most people don’t know that if you take a photo with your iPhone everybody can get your location from that photo. The new devices embed the lat long of the photo within the photo. If you download it on Facebook everyone will know where photo has been taken."

In contrast, in Pocket Life, you need to know some personal information about someone like an email address or phone number in order to find out if a person is already a member of Pocket Life. You can then send an invitation and can only start sharing with that person if they accept the invitation you send. This is done to protect people’s privacy.

Top of the News

Working in close collaboration with the US Department of the Interior (DOI), Esri is pleased to announce the release of
Landsat image services. These provide access to almost four decades' worth of Global Land Survey (GLS) Landsat data developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and DOI's US Geological Survey. Esri provides access to the full multispectral, multitemporal Landsat data for free on ArcGIS Online as dynamic image services.

has released
ArcGIS for INSPIRE, a product developed to meet the data, services, and metadata requirements of the European Union-mandated Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE). Organizations can use ArcGIS for INSPIRE to achieve the technical requirements necessary to meet this directive and create shareable geospatial information and services to make better decisions across Europe.


SatNav Technologies
recently partnered with Waze Inc. of Israel for a product that offers FREE Navigation, LIVE traffic updates all through the day, and social networking features which offer rewards for daily driving.The company  announced that the Smartphone app for Live Traffic is now officially available for users and that the user base was growing rapidly in the short time that it has been under beta-testing. SatGuide-Waze now has over 15,000 users who have logged in over 175,000 times, offering co-commuters live information for traffic info all over the country.


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) membership has voted to adopt the OGC Observations and Measurements (O&M) -- XML Encoding Standard as an official OGC standard.

This standard specifies an XML implementation for the OGC and ISO Observations and Measurements (O&M) conceptual model (OGC Observations and Measurements v2.0, which is also published as ISO/DIS 19156), including a schema for Sampling Features. This encoding is an essential dependency for the OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS) Interface Standard. More specifically, this standard defines XML schemas for observations and for features involved in sampling when making observations. These provide document models for the exchange of information describing observation acts and their results, both within and between different
scientific and technical communities.

The current Chair of the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) announced  that the Coalition has selected as the 2012 Coalition Chair Dr. Carolyn J. Merry, American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Delegate to COGO. Ms. Geney Terry, 2011 Chair of COGO indicated that Dr. Merry’s selection was made by unanimous consent of the Coalition.


Garmin Reports First Quarter 2011 Results with Strong Revenue Performance in all Segments

DigitalGlobe Reports First Quarter Results


Longtime GIS educator David DiBiase joins Esri as the director of education within the company's Industry Solutions division. He succeeds current director, Dr. Michael Gould, who is returning to Europe to manage Esri's education programs in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Bob Burkhardt, former U.S. Army Geospatial Center (AGC) Director and the Army's first Geospatial Information Officer (GIO), has been named an industry advisor to TerraGo Technologies, Inc.

New Products

Spatial Statistical Data Analysis for GIS Users is now available from Esri Press.

The book presents a practical introduction and guide to spatial statistics for researchers, statisticians, academics, and college students who want to expand their knowledge and skills in geographic information system (GIS) technology to new areas of analysis. More than 1,000 full-color illustrations are included, along with lessons and sample data to help organize courses and lectures.

Topcon Precision Agriculture announces the new SGR-1 receiver with TruPass advanced positioning technology for more accurate, stable pass-to-pass accuracies in dynamic agriculture applications.

This new, low-cost receiver utilizes 32 channels to track signals from GPS, GLONASS, SBAS (satellite-based augmentation system) EGNOS and WAAS (wide area augmentation system), as well as L-band OmniSTAR. The position update rate is 10Hz upgradeable to 20Hz.

Skyhook, and MapQuest, a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc. announced the embedding of Skyhook’s Core Engine into the MapQuest Android app to deliver an enhanced navigation experience on phones.

VisionMap LTD, a provider of digital mapping systems, announced  that A3 ground processing system version 2.0 is now released. The new ground processing system, together with A3 camera improvements now feature better radiometry, higher resolution DSM processing, as well as accurate AT and seamless Orthophoto generation processed in a fully automatic workflow.

Optech Incorporated announces its new medium-format ortho-camera, the CS-8900.

Around the Web

GISCafe Today Blog

Keyboards First. Then Grenades. May 1, 2011, The New York Times

Public asked to help map storm damage April 30, 2011, Times Free Press

New mapping system available on city website April 29, 2011, Advisor and Source Newspapers

Inquiries Grow Over Apple’s Data Collection Practices April 21, 2011, The New York Times (registration required)

Kendall County Seeks Public's Ideas for Redistricting April 29, 2011, Montgomery Patch


Date: May 9 - 11, 2011
Place: Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa

3800 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502 USA

The Nevada Geographic Information Society is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote professionalism, cooperation, mutual assistance and sharing of knowledge and experience. It is committed to providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and technology as they relate to the advancement of spatial data (GIS) and technology within the State of Nevada.
Date: May 9 - 13, 2011
Place: Washington, D.C., DC USA

Held annually in the Washington, D.C. area, GEOINT Community Week brings together stakeholders within the geospatial intelligence tradecraft for a week of networking, classified briefings, exhibits and learning workshops.

The week begins at the USGIF Invitational golf tournament, with proceeds going to the USGIF Scholarship Program. AGIC begins on Tuesday, delivering four days of classified sessions and presentations. On Thursday, attend presentations on emerging technologies, and walk through an exhibit hall filled with USGIF members’ current innovations. Bringing the day to a close is the GEOINT Community Week reception. Concluding the week is another installment of the

GEOINT Community Week provides valuable and unique opportunities for the GEOINT Community to experience and showcase the latest geospatial intelligence technologies and capabilities.
Date: May 10 - 13, 2011
Place: Heritage Conference Center

4803 Stonecroft Blvd, Chantilly, VA USA
This year’s agenda will include a keynote from MG Merdith W.B. “Bo” Temple, Deputy Commanding General, Deputy Chief of Engineers and VIP presentations from MG Michael T. Flynn, Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, U.S. Army and Dr. Joseph F. Fontanella, Director of the U.S. Army Geospatial Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Army Geospatial Information Officer. View all presentations and download the full agenda here.

Date: May 10, 2011
Place: Universidad Católica Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Aeroterra GIS, Oil & Gas presents an exhibition of products, services and solutions that target to the unique needs of the energy industry. Attendees will gain valuable information on the potential of GIS as a tool that provides instant access to information, greater efficiency and better decision-making capacity.
Date: May 12, 2011
Place: Dumbo Loft under the Manhattan Bridge

Brooklyn, NY USA

Geoworld Summit Spring 2011 highlights convergence of mobile and digital out-of-home. Retailigence and JiWire confirmed to keynote and sponsor the leading northeastern geoweb industry event.

New York - Thursday, April 28th, 2011 - The second Geoworld Summit will bring together 150 geoweb pioneers from all over the US. The event will be held on Thursday, May 12th, at Dumbo Loft under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, New York.

Time: 3.00 pm to 10.00 pm
Date: May 15 - 18, 2011
Place: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

P.O. Box 114304, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Geospatial Intelligence Middle East returns in 2011 for its fourth successful year. In recognition of the strategic importance of the UAE and its position as the world’s fourth largest importer of weapons, for the first time ever the event will take place in the country's capital, Abu Dhabi.

This conference addresses how the applications of geospatial intelligence and geospatial technology can enhance a nation’s protection against internal and external threats to it’s population, economy and critical infrastructure. This protection may be against natural disasters, accidental disasters and intentional attacks.
Date: May 16 - 17, 2011
Place: London Hilton Metropole

London, United Kingdom

The Esri UK Annual Conference 2011, entitled New approaches for our changing world, will explore how your organisation can gain strategic advantage from taking a geographic approach to inform its business-critical decisions, leading to new insights, greater collaboration and efficiency improvements.

Date: May 16 - 20, 2011
Place: Moonrise Hotel

St Louis, MO USA

The URISA Leadership Academy was established to meet this need.  At the Academy, participants learn key GIS leadership and management factors and techniques, successful team development, organizational capacity building, program investment and justification, GIS politics, change management, situation assessment, and problem solving.  The environment further provides for productive collaboration and networking.
Date: May 19 - 20, 2011
Place: Chicago


Avenza Systems Inc., producers of MAPublisher cartographic software for Adobe Illustrator and Geographic Imager spatial tools for Adobe Photoshop, is pleased to announce the 2011 schedule for its comprehensive 2-day MAPublisher training course. This 2-day class offers in-depth MAPublisher training that will enable MAPublisher users to maximize their use of MAPublisher and fully exploit its features and power.
Date: May 23 - 26, 2011
Place: Baska, Krk Island

Croatia (Hrvatska)

The unique environment of Baska, its natural resources and rich history, combined with friendly hospitality

will again create an inspiring atmosphere for ideas discussions and knowledge exchange,

well known to those who attended the last year's conference.
Date: May 23 - 25, 2011
Place: Washington, DC USA

The explosion of computing driven location based applications in the past few years has revolutionized the way we live and work. Computing technologies, such as cloud computing, business intelligence, spatial database server, and high-performance computing, play key roles in geospatial technologies and applications.
Date: May 24 - 25, 2011
Place: Hershey Holiday Inn

Grantville, PA USA

As Pennsylvania pulls out of the deep recession of 2010 and resumes the economic growth that it has come to enjoy and expect, there is an opportunity, even an obligation and responsibility, to guide that growth down environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable pathways.
Date: May 24 - 25, 2011
Place: NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Location Business Summit, Europe’s largest LBS conference, created to help you boost revenue and secure longevity in this rapidly changing market. The conference will be held on 24th- 25th May 2011 at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam

With a cast of over 30 speakers include Google, Yahoo!, Nokia, Gowalla, Microsoft Mobile Advertising, KPN, Vodafone, Debenhams, Icon Mobile, Orange,

OpenStreetMap, Ogilvy, Yell, Qype, and many more.

Date: May 30 - June 2, 2011
Place: Czech Technical University in Prague

Czech Republic

The network of remote sensing institutes and laboratories in its 31st offering is keeping up with the principal activities that they stand for – stimulating and promoting education and training related to remote sensing and Earth observation, initiating and co-ordinating application-oriented research, forming a bridge between technology and applications of interest to the wide user community, assisting the sponsoring agencies in the development of new sensors and systems and in any technical matters of relevance, providing a network of experts for the agencies in Europe, carrying out
joint research projects on the use of remote sensing for research, monitoring and education and last but not the least - promoting co-operation between remote sensing experts and the environmental managers and decision-makers.

Date: May 30 - June 1, 2011
Place: SHAW Conference Centre

Edmonton Alberta, CA Canada

The Premier GIS and Geomatics Conference in Western Canada!

Alberta’s most distinguished GIS associations: URISA Alberta, GITA Alberta, AGG and GeoEdmonton collaborate to present a strong GIS and Geomatics conference program and exhibition that is current, relevant and innovative. It will be the definitive hot spot for GIS and Geomatics for Alberta and Western Canada in 2011!
Date: May 31 - June 2, 2011
Place: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)

Cape Town , South Africa
The theme of the AfricaGEO 2011 is “Developing Geomatics for Africa”, with an emphasis on the development of Geomatics (as an industry / technology) in the African context. This brings up technological development, as well as social development of the industry to suit the needs of, and that is appropriate to Africa.

Date: June 3 - 5, 2011
Place: Iasi, Romania

The conference is an international forum for the presentation of technological advances and research results in the fields of Mathematics and Geosciences. This milieu is expected to bring together leading researchers, engineers and scientists in the geospatial domain from around the world.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.