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Squack – must have tracking app for every GeoGeek!

Squack-logo_2

Sometimes you find out about an app which you have always thought of but it was never out there. That’s the case of Squack – iOS location-based app developed by Tomasz Czernecki, engineer from Toronto, Canada.

WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

The idea behind the app is very simple. The whole world has been divided into 500 million 1 km² squares.  Whenever you physically enter a square you “collect it” and gain 1 point. The more places you visit, the more points you have and the higher in the Squack community you are. Can you image anything simpler and yet fun for travellers around the world?

Squack_app

The app works seamlessly so you can track every place you’ve ever been to without taking out your phone from the pocket every 5 minutes. Moreover you can run it offline and then upload it once you’re connected to the Internet, so you can easily use it abroad.

GEOGEEK PERSPECTIVE: RASTER VS. VECTOR

From the perspective of GeoGeek tracking your movement around the world is cool but the app gives some even cooler possibilities. We’re all used to tracking our location with jogging or hiking apps. We track our journeys by car, bike and even on skis. These all apps track our location in a vector format – GPS points connected along the path. Squack is the only app I know that let’s you record your location in a raster-like format (dot matrix e.g. satellite photo).

ARE YOU SPATIALLY HOMOGENEOUS?

If you would be tracking your activity 24h a day for one month in a vector way you would get a messy image of crossing paths. Visualising and analysing it in an aggregated, raster format allows you to notice patterns of your spatial behaviour you might not be able to detect otherwise. Are you spatially homogeneous or heterogeneous? Do you typically stay in your local neighbourhood or are you a kind of person that moves all around the city? Analysing it in a raster way gives totally different perspective.

Raster-vs-Vector_Geoawesomeness

Using “the raster way” has one more advantage over the GPS location pin-pointing, it doesn’t drain the battery as much as typical tracking app.

SQUACK – SIMPLE BUT EVERY GEOGEEK NEEDS TO HAVE IT

At the end Squack is very simple but useful app. I believe that every GeoGeek should give it a try. Just run it in a background of your iPhone for couple of weeks and learn more about your spatial behaviour.

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This app will let you track location of your Comcast technician

appointment-tracking-inline

Interesting use case of location-based technologies. As part of the company’s attempt to improve customer service Comcast announced a new features to their app that will let customers track were the technician is currently located. Typical customer perception is always the same: waiting a whole day for a Comcast guy to show up. You don’t know he will come, when he will come, and you don’t have a time to wait forever. The simplest solution is always the best. If you can’t improve the service itself, give precise information to your customers. I love it!

The feature is simple but it works exactly the way this should have worked forever. When your tech guy is about 30 minutes away, you’ll get an alert on your smartphone. This means you don’t have to be waiting by the door until the tech guy shows up.

The trail has been launched in Boston by the end of last year and according to a Comcast blog post, the new feature will eventually be made available for free through the company’s current app.

source: Comcast

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