Innovation That Matters

Nightlife mapping tool uses GPS to reveal hotspots

Work & Lifestyle

Deciding when and where to go out on a Friday night just got easier for San Francisco consumers with a new, mobile map application that automatically shows where the hotspots are. Sense Networks’ CitySense, which just entered alpha, gives users a real-time view of how busy the city is as well as where the busiest places currently are. There’s no need to sign up—users simply download the free application onto their Blackberry (iPhone support is coming soon) and view a “heat” map of activity throughout the area, linking to Yelp or Google to zero in for more information about the hotspots. A billion points of GPS and wifi positioning data from the last few years complement the real-time feeds underpinning the technology, which operates on Sense Networks’ Macrosense platform. (Macrosense, which is designed for analyzing massive amounts of aggregate, anonymous location data in real-time, is already being used in the business world for selecting store locations and understanding retail demand, for example.) Focusing on nightlife, the next version of CitySense will be able to tell users not just where the activity is, but where people like them are concentrated. By tracking and comparing users’ history and preferences, it will be able to show them where they’re most likely to find people with similar tastes at any given moment. As a result, each person’s nightlife map will look a little different, and will display a unique top hotspot list. (The personalized feature is optional, however, and any such data can be deleted at any time, the company promises.) Privacy issues aside, it seems safe to say that this is just the beginning of the mashups made possible by GPS-enabled cellphones. How long before this comes to other cities—and gets ad support? Spotted by: Ozgur Alaz



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