Pittsburgh gets free-Fi: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership found a new provider for its network, one that's agreed to donate service for three years. AspStation has stepped in to replace a provider, US Wireless Online (not to be confused with apparently thriving US Internet in Minneapolis), that filed 2008-10-08 for bankruptcy protection. The new provider will offer two hours of free service a day and a lower, not-yet-determined fee for monthly unlimited usage. AspStation was providing the back-haul for the network already, and took over. They will likely slowly expand the network, which has 5,000 to 6,000 monthly session (reported as users, but really sessions), averaging 85 minutes a day, or about 120 to 150 users active at any given time. If the company could convert 100 users to a monthly fee of even $10 per month, that plus the good publicity might be worthwhile to them. Their costs are lower since they already have a back-haul operation in place.
Professor maps Wi-Fi geography: An article in tomorrow's issue of Annals of the Association of American Geographers details Paul M. Torrens work in documenting the geography of Wi-Fi in Salt Lake City. Torrens, an assistant professor at Arizona State University's School of Geographical Sciences and Director of Geosimulation Labs LLC, and apparently students drove around SLC to obtain a huge amount of data that was then mapped in interesting ways over the city. The Flash presentation is nifty, showing 3D rotations of topologies. Part of the conclusion of the paper is that the amount of information we spew out about ourselves creates "data shadows" with "an increasing level of precision and depth of associated information." Food for thought.
On a related note, Skyhook partners with photo geotagging service Locr: Locr helps its users apply location information on top of pictures. Skyhook Wireless determines location based on Wi-Fi signals (in mostly urban areas). The partnership lets Locr tie into Skyhook on Wi-Fi-enabled handsets running Windows Mobile 5 and certain Nokia Symbian phones.