Governments Look to Permit Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality Features on Public Property

Plus, Data.world social network raises nearly $9 million and facial recognition software helps with animal conservation efforts.

by / April/May 2017

Permitting Pokemon:

After the popularity of Pokemon Go brought big crowds (and overflowing trash cans) to a Milwaukee County park, officials signed a permitting process Feb. 10 for game makers that include virtual monsters and other augmented reality features on public property. The ordinance requires game developers to obtain a park permit, which will range from $100 to $1,000 depending on factors like how many people are expected to participate. The Wisconsin government is the first to regulate the emerging industry in this manner; however, other lawmakers are also looking at how to legislate in the space. For example, a bill pending in the Illinois Legislature would require companies to remove locations from a game once they are requested to do so.  Source: The Associated Press

Nokia for a New Age:

As phones get smarter and replace other devices, some users are longing for the simpler handsets of the past. The Nokia 3310, arguably one of the most iconic dumbphones, has been brought back by Finnish manufacturer HMD Global Oy, which made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in February. While the phone isn’t yet available in the U.S. — Barcelona and Europe are getting first access — its price tag will be around $60. Following its original release in 2000, more than 100 million 3310s were sold. While it’s too early to call it a comeback, recent headlines about the announcement included the phrases “the greatest phone of all time” and “the most reliable phone ever made.”   Source: TreeHugger

“Facial recognition technology has the potential to help safeguard our society. Adapting it to help save endangered species is one of its most inspiring uses.”
— Anil Jain, professor, Michigan State University

Michigan State University researchers have repurposed facial recognition software used to find criminals to help animal conservation efforts. Habitat loss is threatening extinction of lemurs, which are found only in Madagascar and have unique facial characteristics. The team created LemurFaceID, which correctly identified more than 100 individual lemurs with a nearly 99 percent accuracy rate, proving that it could provide a noninvasive way of tracking the mammals and providing data over long periods of time for insight into population growth and decline. The software may also be used to identify other animals that have variable facial hair and skin patterns, like bears and red pandas.  Source: Michigan State University

$8.7 million:

The amount that Austin, Texas-based startup Data.world, which is billed as a “social network for data people,” raised in a funding round. The site’s framework is built on the Semantic Web, the same technology used by tech giants like Facebook and Google, and users can sign up for free and import data from any source. However, storing data privately requires a monthly fee. Users sift through the information, creating visualizations and sharing it on their Data.world profiles.  Source: Venturebeat

See more features from the April/May 2017 issue.

Elaine Pittman Managing Editor

Elaine Pittman has nearly a decade of experience in writing and editing, having started her career with The Coloradoan daily newspaper in Fort Collins, Colo. Elaine joined Government Technology in 2008, and she can be reached via email and @elainerpittman on Twitter.