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SeeLight app lets you crowdsource traffic lights data to help blind people walk around the city

SeeLight-App---GeoawesomenessSome apps are there just to entertain you. Other are developed to solve actual real-life problems and to make the world a better place. That’s the case of SeeLight – the app that is trying to help blind and visually impaired users to cross a street in a safe way.

The idea behind the app is simple: to inform blind and visually impaired people where is the crossing and how many seconds they have left to cross the street at a traffic light. It will also direct them back on the right direction if they start to walk out of the crosswalk. Sound simple and useful.

The real challenge is how to make this kind of data available for app users. There are two scenarios. If a city has a modern central system for the traffic lights management it can share a data stream with the app. As we might imagine it can be difficult to obtain… that’s why developers found an interesting alternative. They’ve created a second app for everyone to crowdsource data about street crossings.

As someone stands at a street corner, they can push a start and stop button to time the length of the walk signal, or point their smartphone at the traffic light to help create an augmented reality feature for people with limited vision. The app also asks questions like whether an intersection has raised, tactile bumps to help someone cross. It automatically adds a GPS tag for each light as the data is crowdsourced.

I’ve got couple of concerns about the data accuracy like how will the app knows that the light is already green or not. Nonetheless it’s one of apps that are definitely worth mentioning.

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Foursquare predicts based on location data that Apple will sell 13-15M iPhones this weekend

Analysis of location data can give you answers to many questions. Foursquare is trying to prove that you can use location specific data about people behavioral patterns to predict iPhone sales during the first weekend it hits stores around the world.

The company analyzed foot traffic at Apple stores leading up to the launch of the iPhone 5, 5S, and 6 and combined it with Apple’s public sales data to come up with a prediction that during the launch day foot traffic will be about 360 percent of a typical Friday, which means that iPhone sales could be between 13 million and 15 million over the weekend (last year it was 10m).

Are these estimations correct? One could argue that it’s an easy to make guess. We’ll see next week. You can get some more details on how 4sq did the calculations here.

[Update Sep 29th, 2015]
Apple reveled that the sales of iPhone 6s and 6s Plus reached the level of 13M during the first weekend. So Foursquare’a analysis was correct!

Below you can find an interesting visualization that shows a foot traffic at the One Stockton Street Apple store in San Francisco during a typical week.

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