Monthly Archives: January 2006

Google Integrates Live Fleet Data with Searchable GIS Mapping

A hot topic in BI is the integration of GIS data and business intelligence facts / metrics realtime, in a “zero latency” environment. The opportunities for supply chain management optimization, shipping management, customer service, and sales support are powerful.

It’s a bit mind boggling – in cities across the U.S., google shows you the live locations of any cabs or shuttles near your address, refreshed each five minutes. You then click on the icon representing the closest cab, and a the number to call pops up for you. Google’s FAQ for Ride Finder follows, but here’s an image for the GIS interface. Click on the image, and you’ll see a different set of “pushpins” representing the cabs as they travel around.

Google Ride Finder Help Text
Are you looking for a ride to an airport, theater, party, store, work or any place else? Do you feel like finding the right company is a bit of a shot in the dark? Worried about getting picked up in a timely fashion or whether the company has vehicles in the area?

With Google Ride Finder, you can search for taxis, limousines and shuttles and make better decisions by seeing the exact location of vehicles in your area. Just enter a zip code, the name of a city or even a specific address. You will get a map showing the companies and where their vehicles are located.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does Google Ride Finder work?
Google Ride Finder takes a new approach to helping users find a ride: showing you where the vehicles are. We work closely with a variety of companies to get this information, then we present it in the form of a map of your area, complete with little balloons (color-coded by company) to represent each vehicle’s up-to-date location. Based on this info, you then just call the provider you’ve chosen to reserve a ride.

2. How up to date is the information?
We work to get the most up to date information we can. Most of our information is less than 5 minutes old.

3. Am I seeing only available vehicles?
Ride Finder handles a variety of vehicle types: taxis, limousines and shuttles. We work to show you which vehicles are available for hire. Note, however, that in some cases, “available vehicles” might already have passengers (in the case of shared-ride services).

4. I see a vehicle close by, will that vehicle be dispatched to me?
The dispatching of vehicles is a complicated process which varies greatly from city to city and company to company. The company you contact may choose to send an alternate vehicle. When you speak with a specific dispatcher, he or she should be able to give you the most accurate information on your estimated pick up time.

5. Does Google Ride work everywhere?
For now, Ride Finder is a beta product which is only available in a few metro areas in the United States. As we develop and improve this service, we plan on expanding it to locations throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world.

6. Does Google Ride monitor the location of individual users?
No, Google Ride Finder doesn’t identify passengers in any of the vehicles we display through our service.

7. How do I get my business’s cabs, shuttles, limousines or other vehicles to show up on Ride Finder?
To inquire about adding your business to Google Ride Finder just complete this short form.
For information about adding your web site to Google, please review Google Information for Webmasters.


Time Warner says data on 600,000 workers lost

The lethal epidemic of massive corporate security breaches continues with this latest disaster from Time Warner. Read this carefully: Bart Lazar, a Chicago Lawyer quoted in the story reports: "I’ve dealt with many of these companies, and if you ask them what happens with their data … they can’t chart it," he said. "Or the companies know what to do and they just haven’t committed the resources to do it. Companies have to deploy their resources." Time Warner says data on 600,000 workers lost Information on the current and past employees was on computer backup tapes News Story by Lucas Mearian MAY 02, 2005 (COMPUTERWORLD) – Time Warner Inc. reported today that a shipment of backup tapes with personal information of about 600,000 current and former employees went missing more than a month ago during a routine shipment to an offsite storage site. The tapes, part of a routine shipment being taken to the site by off-site data storage company Iron Mountain Inc. didn’t include data about Time Warner customers, the company said in a statement. The company told employees today that the data tapes went missing March 22. “We are providing current and former employees with resources to monitor their credit reports while our investigation continues. We are working closely and aggressively with law enforcement and the outside data storage firm to get to the bottom of this matter,” said Larry Cockell, Time Warner’s chief security officer. The U.S. Secret Service is working with both Time Warner and Boston-based Iron Mountain to investigate the missing tapes. The $42 billion media company said in a statement that there is no evidence that the data has have been illegally accessed or misused. The company said it has contacted major credit agencies — Equifax, Experian and Trans Union — about the data loss. After determining that publicizing the data loss wouldn’t interfere with the investigation, Time Warner posted a statement about it on its Web site, as well as a letter to its employees about the incident and an FAQ. In the letter to employees, Time Warner said the missing tapes contained data such as names and Social Security numbers of current and former U.S.-based employees, their dependents and beneficiaries. Cockell said in the statement to employees that the company has made arrangements with Equifax to offer U.S. employees a free subscription to Equifax’s Credit Watch Gold credit monitoring service to help protect identity and credit information for 12 months. Time Warner’s disclosure follows on the heels of other high-profile security breaches in the U.S. In March, a laptop containing data on 100,000 graduate students, alumni and applicants from the University of California, Berkeley, was stolen from a campus office. Bart Lazar, a privacy and intellectual property lawyer and partner in the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw Llp. in Chicago, said that as data loss incidents pile up, thereÕs greater potential that firms found responsible will have to change their data security standards. Most of the pressure, he said, may come not from Congress but from insurance companies that will require more stringent safeguards before signing with a client. Part of the problem, Lazar said, is that companies don’t have proper chain-of-custody requirements or encyption technology in place. I’ve dealt with many of these companies, and if you ask them what happens with their data … they can’t chart it," he said. "Or the companies know what to do and they just haven’t committed the resources to do it. Companies have to deploy their resources. I don’t know what SANS [Institute] says the spending on security is, but it’s not huge." Lazar said it data loss incidents will also likely give rise to more companies turning to internal data protection schemes instead of using third-party service providers or external data processors. These big incidents [are] what leads to consciousness raising and may lead to reasonable security standards, he said.