Búsqueda Imágenes Maps Play YouTube Noticias Gmail Drive Más »
Iniciar sesión
Usuarios de lectores de pantalla: deben hacer clic en este enlace para utilizar el modo de accesibilidad. Este modo tiene las mismas funciones esenciales pero funciona mejor con el lector.

Patentes

  1. Búsqueda avanzada de patentes
Número de publicaciónUS20050060299 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 10/665,736
Fecha de publicación17 Mar 2005
Fecha de presentación17 Sep 2003
Fecha de prioridad17 Sep 2003
También publicado comoEP1517251A2, EP1517251A3, EP2259198A2, EP2259198A3, US8116598, US20100128935
Número de publicación10665736, 665736, US 2005/0060299 A1, US 2005/060299 A1, US 20050060299 A1, US 20050060299A1, US 2005060299 A1, US 2005060299A1, US-A1-20050060299, US-A1-2005060299, US2005/0060299A1, US2005/060299A1, US20050060299 A1, US20050060299A1, US2005060299 A1, US2005060299A1
InventoresGeorge Filley, James Herbst, M. Khan, Robert Gourdine, Timothy Gibson, Jon Shutter, Frank Kozak
Cesionario originalGeorge Filley, James Herbst, Khan M. Salahuddin, Robert Gourdine, Timothy Gibson, Jon Shutter, Frank Kozak
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Location-referenced photograph repository
US 20050060299 A1
Resumen
A photograph repository system includes data storage for storing photographs in the form of digital data files and a search feature that provides for searching for photographs by location and optionally by other search criteria. In one embodiment, a photograph repository service is accessible to users over a common data network, such as the Internet. In the photograph repository service, each stored photograph is associated with a location, i.e., where the photograph was taken and/or the location of an object in the photograph. Users can search for and obtain copies of their own photographs that they had stored previously with the photograph repository service. In addition, users can search for and obtain copies of photographs that had been taken by other users and stored with the photograph repository service. The photograph repository system can also be implemented as a standalone system, a hybrid system, or a peer-to-peer system.
Imágenes(8)
Previous page
Next page
Reclamaciones(28)
1. A method of storing photographs comprising:
providing a data repository on a network accessible to a plurality of users who have digital photographs, wherein the digital photographs are comprised of data files in a suitable format;
receiving digital photographs from the users over the network;
storing the digital photographs in the data repository;
when storing each digital photograph in the data repository, associating each digital photograph with data that indicate a physical location;
providing a search function available to the users over the network that enables users to search by physical location for digital photographs stored by other users;
allowing users to select digital photographs stored by other users; and
transmitting copies of the selected digital photographs to the users who selected them over the network.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs stored in the data repository, associating additional data with the digital photograph and storing the additional data in the data repository, wherein the additional data indicates an orientation.
3. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs stored in the data repository, associating additional data with the digital photograph and storing the additional data in the data repository, wherein the additional data restrict which other users may obtain a copy of the digital photograph.
4. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs stored in the data repository, associating additional data with the digital photograph and storing the additional data in the data repository, wherein the additional data indicate an owner of the digital photograph.
5. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs stored in the data repository, associating additional data with the digital photograph and storing the additional data in the data repository, wherein the additional data indicate a date on which the digital photograph was taken.
6. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs stored in the data repository, associating additional data with the digital photograph and storing the additional data in the data repository, wherein the additional data indicate a date on which the digital photograph was deposited in the data repository.
7. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs stored in the data repository, associating additional data with the digital photograph and storing the additional data in the data repository, wherein the additional data provide a description of the digital photograph.
8. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs stored in the data repository, associating additional data with the digital photograph and storing the additional data in the data repository, wherein the additional data include a focal length used for the digital photograph.
9. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the selected digital photographs transmitted to users, charging the users a fee for the selected digital photographs.
10. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
storing links to web cams in the data repository;
when storing each link to a web cam in the data repository, associating each link to a web cam with data that indicate a physical location, wherein the physical location indicates where the web cam associated with the link is located;
providing a search function available to the users over the network that enables users to search by physical location for web cam links stored by other users;
allowing users to select links to web cams of other users; and
transmitting the respective selected web cam links to the users who selected them over the network.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein the physical location associated with the digital photograph indicates a vantage point of the digital photograph.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein the physical location associated with the digital photograph indicates the location of an object in the digital photograph.
13. The method of claim 1 wherein the data that indicate a physical location is obtained, for at least some of the digital photographs, from positioning equipment associated with the camera that took the photograph.
14. The method of claim 1 wherein the data that indicate a physical location is obtained from the user from whom the associated digital photograph was received.
15. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
when receiving digital photographs from users, requesting each user to indicate the physical location to be associated with the digital photograph.
16. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
making the data repository accessible to a map developer; and
allowing the map developer to update maps using the digital photographs stored in the data repository.
17. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the copies of selected digital photographs transmitted to users over the network, providing the users with route guidance for traveling to the respective locations shown in the digital photographs.
18. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
for some of the digital photographs received from users, allowing the users to associate a plurality of digital photographs as a related group.
19. The method of claim 1 wherein the search function allows a user to specify a physical location by distance from a reference point.
20. The method of claim 1 wherein the search function allows a user to specify a physical location by a bounding area.
21. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
establishing groups of users, wherein each group comprises a subset of all users; and
restricting exchange of digital photographs stored in the data repository by members of a group to only members of the group.
22. The method of claim 1 wherein the search function supports free text searches.
23. The method of claim 1 wherein the data repository automatically recognizes potential placenames when users enter text to be associated with digital photographs being stored.
24. A method of exchanging photographs comprising:
providing an indexing program on a network accessible to a plurality of users, wherein each of the users has digital photographs stored as data files on a respective separate one of a plurality of data storage devices connected to the network, wherein the indexing program associates each digital photograph with a physical location, and wherein the indexing program refers to each digital photograph by referencing the user's data storage device on which the digital photograph is stored;
providing a search function available to the users over the network that enables users to search by physical location for digital photographs of other users;
allowing users to select digital photographs stored by other users on said other users' data storage devices; and
providing for the transmission of copies of the selected digital photographs to those users who selected them over the network.
25. The method of claim 24 wherein the indexing program includes a client component that forms an individual index of digital photographs stored on an individual user's data storage device, and wherein the individual index is transmitted over the network and integrated with other users' individual indexes to form a master index.
26. A method of storing photographs in a standalone computing system comprising:
providing a data repository on the standalone computing system;
storing digital photographs in the data repository;
when storing each digital photograph in the data repository, associating each digital photograph with data that indicate a physical location;
providing a search function available to the user of the standalone computing system that enables the user to search by physical location for digital photographs stored in the data repository;
allowing the user to select digital photographs stored in the data repository; and
providing copies of the selected digital photographs to the user from the standalone computing system.
27. A method of storing photographs in computing systems connected to a data network, the method comprising:
providing a first data repository on first computing system connected to the data network;
storing a first plurality of digital photographs in the first data repository;
when storing each digital photograph in the first data repository, associating each digital photograph with location reference data that indicate a physical location, wherein the location reference data is in a selected format;
providing a second data repository on a second computing system accessible to a plurality of users who have digital photographs, wherein the second computing system is accessible over the data network to the first computing system;
storing a second plurality of digital photographs in the second data repository;
when storing each digital photograph in the second data repository, associating each digital photograph with location reference data that indicate a physical location, wherein the location reference data associated with the digital photographs stored in the second data repository is in the selected format;
providing a search function available to a user of the first computing system that enables the user to search by physical location for digital photographs stored in the first data repository and the second data repository;
allowing the user to select digital photographs stored in the first data repository and the second data repository; and
providing copies of the selected digital photographs to the user from the first data repository and the second data repository.
28. A method of enabling a user to take photographs of a place of interest comprising:
storing data in a computing system to indicate a user-selected subject matter category;
determining locations of the user as the user travels through a geographic region;
using a geographic database to compare locations of the user to locations of places that match the user-selected subject matter category; and
informing the user when the user is in proximity to one place that matches the user-selected subject matter category.
Descripción
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a system that enables persons to store and retrieve photographs and other images.

Digital photography has affected the ways that people take and use photographs. For example, because digital photographs exist as data files on computer-readable media, persons can easily exchange copies of digital photographs with friends and family members.

Digital cameras are expected to become more common as they become smaller and less expensive. As digital cameras become smaller and less expensive, they are being incorporated into other devices, such as PDAs (“personal digital assistants”) and portable phones. As digital cameras become more available, people are expected to take more and more digital photographs.

Although digital photography has resulted in significant changes in the ways that people take and use photographs, there continues to be room for further improvements. One consideration associated with the large number of digital photographs being taken is how to organize them. Although taking photographs is easier and less expensive, it can be difficult to find a particular photograph because there are so many.

Accordingly, it is an objective to provide ways to organize photographs.

It is another objective to provide a way for users to exchange photographs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To address these and other objectives, the present invention includes a photograph repository system. The photograph repository system includes data storage for storing photographs in the form of digital data files and a search feature that provides for searching for photographs by location and optionally by other search criteria. In one embodiment, the photograph repository system is a service accessible to users over a common data network, such as the Internet. In the photograph repository service, each stored photograph is associated with a location, i.e., where the photograph was taken and/or the location of an object in the photograph. Users can search for and obtain copies of their own photographs, i.e., that they had stored previously with the photograph repository service. In addition, users can search for and obtain copies of photographs that had been taken by other users and stored with the photograph repository service.

In alternative embodiments, the photograph repository system is implemented as a standalone system, a hybrid system, or a peer-to-peer system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram showing a first embodiment of a photograph repository system.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart showing a process performed by the photo acceptance application of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing components of the photo database of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing a process performed by the photo retrieval application of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a diagram showing a peer-to-peer embodiment of a photograph repository system.

FIG. 6 is a diagram showing a standalone embodiment of a photograph repository system.

FIG. 7 is a diagram showing a hybrid embodiment of a photograph repository system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

I. First Embodiment

A. Overview of System

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of a photograph repository (or archive) system 100. In FIG. 1, users 110 have digital photographs. The digital photographs are in the form of data files 114 stored in suitable image formats, such as *.jpg, *.bmp, or *.png. Other suitable file formats may be used. The data files 114 that comprise the digital photographs are stored on suitable data storage media 116, such as flash memory cards, computer hard drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, and so on. Any suitable data storage media may be used.

The digital photographs may be obtained from digital cameras 120 that are operated by the users 110. The digital cameras 120 may be standalone units or may be incorporated into other devices, such as portable phones or PDAs. Digital photographs may also be obtained from scanners that form image data files 114 from physical photographs (which may have been taken with either film cameras or digital cameras). The scanners may be connected to other suitable equipment, if necessary, such as personal computers.

In this embodiment, the users 110 may include individual people or corporate entities. The users 110 may include commercial or non-commercial users.

The users 110 operate devices 128 that are equipped to access a data network 134. The devices 128 include personal computers, PDAs, telephones, and so on. The devices 128 may use any means now known or developed in the future for interfacing with the network 134.

The network 134 may include any common data network, such as the Internet, or any other type of network capable of exchanging data, including public and private networks, POTS (plain old telephone service), wireless and land-based communications networks, and so on.

The users 110 operate the devices 128 to access a photograph repository service 140. The photograph repository service 140 is a combination of hardware and software components. The photograph repository service 140 allows users to store and retrieve digital photographs. For these purposes, the photograph repository service 140 includes suitable hardware and software that enables users to conduct interactive sessions in which the digital photograph data files are exchanged between the users and the photograph repository service 140. For example, the photograph repository service 140 includes one or more servers or other computing platforms and appropriate programming. The photograph repository service 140 also includes one or more data storage devices, such as hard drives, tape drives, etc.

B. Operation—Storage of Digital Photos

The photograph repository service 140 includes applications 144 that provide functions to users. The applications 144 provide for interactive on-line sessions between users and the photo repository service 140. In one embodiment, the applications 144 provide for accessing the photo repository service 140 using a web browser.

Among the applications 144 is an acceptance application 150. The acceptance application 150 enables users 110 to store their digital photographs (as data) on a data storage medium 146 in the photo repository service 140. (The data storage medium 146 may be one or more hard drives or other suitable equipment.) The acceptance application 150 also enables users to categorize their stored photographs by location. To provide for this feature, the acceptance application 150 enables users to associate each stored photograph with one or more location references. A location reference is a data item that is associated with a photograph. The location reference may indicate a location from which the photograph was taken (i.e., the “vantage point”). Alternatively, the location reference may indicate the location of a feature in the photograph (i.e., an object location). In another alternative, a photograph may be stored with a composite location reference that indicates both the location from which the photograph was taken and the location of one or more features or objects in the photograph.

FIG. 2 shows a process 152 performed by the acceptance application 150. In a first step, a session is initiated between a user and the photo repository service 140 (Step 154). Then, the photo repository service 140 receives a digital photograph (as a data file) from the user 110 (Step 156). Next, the photo repository service 140 associates one or more location references with the photograph (Step 158).

The location reference may be expressed in several different ways. For example, the location reference may be expressed as geographic coordinates (e.g., latitude, longitude, and optionally altitude). Alternatively, the location reference may be expressed as a street address (e.g., 1245 N. Main St., Springfield, Ill., USA). According to another alternative, the location reference may be expressed as a point relative to a map. Alternative ways of expressing a location reference may be supported.

The location reference to be associated with a digital photograph may be obtained in several different ways. Some cameras include positioning equipment, such as a GPS unit. These types of digital cameras are capable of determining a position (e.g., latitude and longitude coordinates) at which a photograph is taken. Data indicating the position are associated (e.g., linked, embedded) with the photograph image data file. Alternatively, the position information is overlaid on the photograph.

Another way that the photo repository service 140 may obtain a location reference to associate with a photograph is from the user. The acceptance application 150 provides a means for the user to indicate a location to associate with a photograph. According to one alternative, the acceptance application 150 may provide entry fields in a web page displayed on the user's computing platform into which the user can indicate a location. The acceptance application 150 may provide various different ways for the user to indicate a location. For example, the acceptance application 150 may allow the user to specify geographic coordinates. Alternatively, the acceptance application 150 may allow the user to specify a street address or street intersection. Alternatively, the acceptance application 150 may allow the user to specify a point of interest or a well-known location. The acceptance application 150 may also allow a user to specify an inexact or fuzzy address (e.g., a zip code or a neighborhood).

The acceptance application 150 also allows a user to provide additional information to be associated with a photograph (Step 160). This additional information may be optional. This additional information may include the identity (or alias) of the person submitting the photograph to the repository, an orientation (e.g., a compass heading and elevation) of the camera when the photograph was taken, a date on which the photograph was taken, a time-of-day at which the photograph was taken, the date the photograph is being archived, a title to be associated with the photograph, a subject matter category to be associated with the photograph, restrictions imposed on sharing the photograph with other users, and a user-provided description or narrative to be associated with the photograph. Other information may also be included. For example, aperture setting, focal length and shutter speed may be included.

Some of these types of information may be provided automatically, e.g., without requiring the user to input a value. For example, some cameras can automatically associate time-of-day data with a photograph. Similarly, cameras equipped with a compass or gyroscope can automatically associate orientation data with a digital photograph. Cameras can also automatically associate focal length, aperture setting and shutter speed data with photographs.

As stated above, restrictions may be imposed on the sharing of photographs with other users. In one embodiment, the photo repository may support password protection of photographs. According to this feature, a user storing a photograph on the photo repository may specify a password to be associated with the photograph. The photo repository would then make the photograph available to only users who specify the password.

Once the acceptance application 150 obtains the digital photograph, location reference information and any other information to be associated with the photograph from the user, the acceptance application 150 stores the digital photograph, location reference information and other associated information in a photo database 164 on the data storage medium 146 (Step 162). The acceptance application 150 stores the digital photograph, location reference information and other information so that the digital photograph is searchable. Accordingly, appropriate indexing or other data search techniques are used. In addition, appropriate indexing or other techniques may be used so that the digital photographs are searchable by any of the other stored information, such as by date, owner, and so on.

FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of some of the data components associated with stored photograph images 114 in the photo database 164.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the acceptance application 150 may transform the location reference information into one or more alternative formats as part of the process. This transformation process is performed so that photographs may be searched by location using any of several alternative location referencing systems. As part of this process, the acceptance application 150 may geo-code the location information. As an example, if a user specifies a photograph location by street address, the acceptance application 150 may determine the geographic coordinates of the street address provided by the user and associate (e.g., store) the geographic coordinates as well as the street address specified by the user in the photo database 164. In order to perform this function, the acceptance application 150 may use a geographic database 170 that associates addresses and geographic coordinates. Such databases are available from commercial sources, such as Navigation Technologies Corporation of Chicago, Ill. Similarly, if the user specifies geographic coordinates, the acceptance application 150 may determine a street address that corresponds to the coordinates and store the street address as well as the geographic coordinates in the photo database 164. Conversion to other location referencing formats may also be performed.

C. Operation—Retrieval of Photos

Referring still to FIG. 1, the photo repository service 140 also includes a retrieval application 174. The retrieval application 174 enables each user to retrieve his/her own photographs from the photo database 164. When retrieving photos, a user may use the location associated with the photo as a search criterion. Alternatively, a user may use any of the other attributes associated with a photo as a search criterion. The photo retrieval application 174 also provides a means by which users can obtain (e.g., retrieve) copies of photos taken by others from the photo database 164 using the location of the photo as a search criterion or alternatively, any of the other attributes associated with a photo as a search criterion.

The retrieval application 174 is accessed and used in the same or a similar way as the acceptance application 150. The user 110 operates the device 128 that is equipped to access the data network 134. The photo retrieval application 174 provides for an interactive on-line session between the user 110 and the photo repository 140.

FIG. 4 shows a process 178 performed by the photo retrieval application 174. In a first step, an interactive on-line session is initiated between a user and the photo repository service 140 (Step 180). Upon initiating the session with the photo repository 140, the user is prompted to search for photos by location (Step 182). The user may be presented with labeled entry fields on a display of the device 128 used to access the photo repository 140. Alternatively, the user may be prompted to indicate the location using voice input. The user may specify the location in various ways. For example, the user may specify the location by geographic coordinates. Alternatively, the user may specify the location by street address. According to other alternatives, the user may specify the location by cross streets or by the name of the location. The user may also specify an approximate location (e.g., a zip code).

In a present embodiment, the user may also provide one or more additional criteria to restrict the search for photos (Step 184). For example, the user may want only photos of 1245 Main Street, Springfield, Ill. that were taken between Jul. 1, 2002 and Aug. 1, 2002. According to another alternative, the search may be restricted spatially. For example, the search may be restricted to a specified distance from a reference point (e.g., a search radius) or to a specified bounding area (e.g., a bounding rectangle). Appropriate input fields may be presented to the user for these purposes.

Upon obtaining information from the user that specify the criteria for selecting photos, the photo retrieval application 174 conducts a search of the photo database 164 for photos that match the specified criteria (Step 186). The matching photos, if any, are provided to the user (Step 188). Full copies of the matching photos may be provided to the user. Alternatively, only thumbnail copies of the matching photos may be provided initially with full copies available upon further selection by the user. According to another alternative, a count of the number of matches is provided to the user and the user is requested to indicate whether to transmit all, or just some of the photos. According to still another alternative, if there are a large number of matches, the user may be provided with a portion of the results (e.g., ten matches), with a link to get another portion (e.g., the next 10) and so on.

III. Alternatives

A. Peer-to-Peer

FIG. 5 shows an alternative embodiment 200 of the photo repository system. In the embodiment of FIG. 5, a peer-to-peer technology is used to store and exchange photographs.

In FIG. 5, each user 206 has a computing platform 210 that has a data storage device 214. The computer platform 210 may be a personal computer or PDA. The data storage device 214 may be a hard drive, CDROM or DVD. Other types of computing platforms and data storage devices may be suitable. The end users' computer platforms 210 are connected to a data network 220, such as the Internet.

Each end user has digital photographs stored on his/her data storage device 214 of his/her respective computer platform 210. The digital photographs are obtained from digital cameras 120 or from other sources, such as scanners. The digital photographs are stored as data files 230 in appropriate image formats, such as jpeg, gif, png, etc.

In the embodiment of FIG. 5, instead of transmitting copies of their digital photographs to a central photograph repository (as in the embodiment of FIG. 1), each end user retains his/her copies of digital photographs on his/her own local data storage device 214 but makes the digital photographs available to other users over the data network 220. In order for users to find digital photographs of other users, each end user runs a peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240.

The peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 allows end users to conduct searches for digital photographs of other end users and to download selected digital photographs from the other end users' local data storage devices. In the embodiment of FIG. 5, the peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 provides for searching by location (i.e., the location where the photograph was taken or the location of an object in the photograph).

The peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 is obtained from a map service provider 244 or other source. The peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 installs a client component on an end user's computer. The peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 provides an indexing function that allows the photo files stored on an end user's computing platform to be categorized by location, e.g., with location references. The peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 uses a geographic database 256 to geocode an end user's photographs. The geographic database 256 and geocoding software 258 may be located on a server associated with the photo service provider 244. As described in connection with the first embodiment, the peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 may provide for various different ways of indicating location, such as by street address, geographic coordinates, and so on. Also as described in connection with the first embodiment, the peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 may provide for different ways by which location data may be associated with a photograph. In addition, the peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 may also provide for associating additional attributes (e.g., date, orientation, etc.) with photograph images and providing for searches based on these additional attributes.

After an end user has associated a location with each digital photograph to be shared, the client component of the peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 forms an individual index file 260. The individual index file 260 indicates the location references (and possibly other searchable attributes) associated with a user's photographs and includes references (e.g., pathnames) to the associated photograph data files. The individual index file 260 is transmitted over the data exchange network 220 to the map service provider 244. In this embodiment, the photograph data files are not transmitted to the map service provider 244 but instead remain on the user's local data storage device.

The map service provider 244 receives an individual index file 260 from each user. The map service provider 244 integrates the individual index file 260 obtained from each user into a master index file 262. The master index file 262 indexes the photographic data files from all end users by their associated locations. When an individual index file 260 from a user is integrated into the master index file 262, references to the photograph data files on the end user's computing platform are augmented with a reference to the end user's computer on the network, e.g., an IP address.

Using the master index file 262, the peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 enables users to search for photographs stored on any data storage device (e.g., hard drive) connected to the network 220. The peer-to-peer photo exchange program 240 enables searches for photographs by their associated location references (i.e., where the photographs were taken or the locations of features in the photographs). By providing a centralized master index, searches for photographs can be conducted quickly and efficiently. Keeping the photographs on the end users' local data storage devices reduces the need for providing a large amount of data storage on a server.

B. Standalone Version

Another alternative embodiment of a photo repository system 300 is shown in FIG. 6. The embodiment of FIG. 6 includes decentralized storage of photographs. According to this embodiment, each user has a computing platform 310 that runs a repository program 316 that provides for associating location data (and possibly other information) with digital photographs 318 and then search for digital photographs based on the associated location. In order to geocode the photographs, the repository program 316 uses a geographic database 320 and a geocoding program 324. In one version of this embodiment, the geographic database 320 and geocoding program 324 are stored locally (i.e., on the end user's computing platform). In an alternative version of this embodiment, the geographic database 320 and geocoding program 324 are stored remotely (e.g., with a map service provider 326) and accessed over a network 328 by the local portion of the repository program 316. In still another version of this embodiment, the geocoding program 324 is stored locally and the geographic database 320 is stored remotely and accessed by the local geocoding program 324. The repository program 316 provides that the digital photographs can be stored locally, i.e., on a data storage device, such as a hard drive 322, located with the end user's own computing platform 310.

This embodiment is similar to the other embodiments in that the users are provided with a way to organize their digital photographs. The digital photographs 318 stored on a user's local hard 322 are associated with location references. As in the previously described embodiments, users may employ various search criteria to find photographs of interest. As in the previously described embodiments, users may search for photographs by location, i.e., the location associated the photograph. In this embodiment, the repository program 316 provides that the photographs stored locally are kept private and not necessarily shared with others.

C. Hybrid Version

Another alternative embodiment 400 of the photo repository system is shown in FIG. 7. The embodiment of FIG. 7 is a hybrid version that provides for both centralized and decentralized storage of photographs. In this embodiment, each user has a computing platform 410 that runs a repository program 416 (similar to the program 316 in FIG. 6) that provides for associating location data with digital photographs and then search for digital photographs based on the associated location data. Photographs are geocoded (i.e., associated with location references) using a local or remote geographic database 420 and local or remote geocoding software 424. The repository program 416 provides that the user can store some digital photographs 418L locally on a data storage device 419 located with the end user's own computing platform 410 so that these photographs can be kept private and not necessarily shared with others. The repository program 416 also provides that the user can store some photographs 418R remotely in a photo database 428 on a data storage device 430 associated with a remotely located photo repository 440. The remotely stored photographs 418R are shared with other users, as described in connection with the first embodiment (in FIG. 1).

In this embodiment, the location referencing of locally stored photographs is compatible with the location referencing of remotely stored photographs. Searches may be performed for locally stored photographs, remotely stored photographs, or both locally and remotely stored photographs. Compatible location referencing facilitates the ability to interact with the remote photo repository 440 for sharing, purchasing, and selling photographs and other information (such as point of interest information).

D. Groups

According to this alternative, a photo repository system provides for the establishment of groups. A group refers to one or more users. A group can be established to include various users who have a common interest in sharing photographs. For example, a group may include all members of a family, all employees of a company, all employees of a company above (or below) a certain management level, all employees of a department in a company, all members of a labor union, all students or faculty of an educational institution, all residents of a neighborhood, all customers of a business, all members of a religious institution, clubs, societies, and so forth. In this embodiment, the photo repository allows stored photographs to be group-restricted. The photo repository allows photographs to be shared only within the group.

In one alternative, all members of the group can store photos in, retrieve photo from or remove photos from the photo repository. In other alternatives, only some group members are authorized to store or delete photos.

The photo repository may use various means to verify and authenticate group members.

Groups may be implemented with various different embodiments of the photo repository system. For example, groups may be implemented with a centralized photo repository (e.g., FIG. 1), a peer-to-peer photo repository (e.g., FIG. 5), or a hybrid photo repository (e.g., FIG. 7).

E. Other Alternatives

In one alternative embodiment, the photograph repository can provide a marketplace to buy and sell photographs. Photographs for sale may be photographs taken by professional photographers or that otherwise have value. According to this embodiment, a user accesses the photo repository and selects a location reference. The location reference may be a location from which the user took a photograph or may be a location in which the user has an interest. The photo repository identifies photos that match the user's search criteria and also indicates prices for the identified photos. The prices may be fixed or negotiable. If the user wishes the purchase an identified photograph, the user pays for it using any available method for making on-line purchases. The buying and selling of photographs on the photo repository may be provided in addition to the free exchange of photographs.

According to another alternative embodiment, the photo repository service may also provide navigation-related or map-related features. These navigation-related or map-related features may pertain to the locations of photographs. As an example, when a user obtains a photograph from the photo repository service, the user may be provided with routing directions (e.g., turn-by-turn driving instructions, pedestrian, inter-modal) to the location associated with the photograph. According to another alternative, when a user obtains a photograph from the photo repository service, the user may be provided with a map that shows the location associated with the photograph.

In further alternative embodiments, a photo-taking location assistance feature is provided. According to this feature, an application (executed on a standalone, server, or hybrid system) allows a user to specify subject matter categories (e.g. historical sites, natural/scenic, etc.) that he/she wants to take pictures of. As the user travels through a geographic area, the user's position is determined on a regular basis by equipment (e.g., GPS, cell phone positioning) in the standalone, server, or hybrid system. The photo-taking location assistance feature of the application notifies the user when the user is in proximity to a location where a photo can be taken of an object of one of the user's specified subject matter categories. Alternatively, the application may direct the user (e.g., with driving or pedestrian routing instructions) to the location where a photo can be taken of an object of one of the user's specified subject matter categories. Once the user takes a picture, all the other repository-related functions mentioned in connection with the various embodiments apply.

In another alternative embodiment, the photo repository may include links to web cam feeds. These web cam feed links would be categorized and searchable by location. According to this embodiment, the photo repository service includes an acceptance application for web cam links. This acceptance application for web cam links would be similar to the photo acceptance application described above. A user who is operating a web cam would provide a link to the web cam's network address. The user would also indicate the physical location (e.g., geographic coordinates, street address, etc.) of the web cam, and possibly other information, such as the orientation of the web cam, permissions, etc. The link and location information would be stored in a database file at the photo repository. (The web cam links may be stored in the same database used to store digital photographs, or alternatively the web cam links may be stored in a separate database.) Using this information, the photo repository service would be a resource for viewing live conditions anywhere in the world. As an example, a user may want to get a live view of weather conditions at a particular location. The user would search the photo repository database for a web cam feed associated with that particular location. If a web cam feed is available for the desired location, the link to that web cam is sent the user. Then, the user uses the link to receive the web cam feed to observe conditions at the location.

Another use for the photo repository is to provide evidence in judicial matters or to aid investigations. As an example, the photo repository could be used to find photographs of a particular location taken on a particular day in order to corroborate a witness's testimony. The photo repository might also be used to establish before-and-after conditions at sites of accidents, fires, etc.

Another way that the photo repository can be used is to view sites that were visited in the past to observe how they have changed. For example, a user may store a series of photos showing locations visited on a vacation. Years later, the user may obtain current photographs of those same locations in order to see how they have changed.

According to another embodiment, the photos stored in the photo repository by users can be used by a map developer to create new maps or update existing maps. Because photos stored in the repository are indexed by location, a map developer can use the photos taken by users to obtain information about the locations in the photos. As an example, if a photo taken by a user shows a bridge, the map developer can examine the photo to obtain information about the bridge, such as the number of lanes of traffic, the bridge height, the bridge length, road signs, and so on. Similarly, a user's photo of a building can be used by the map developer to obtain information about the building height, footprint, address, and so on. The information obtained in this manner may be used directly by a map developer for creating or updating a map, or alternatively, the information obtained in this manner may be used by the map developer to determine where to send field personnel for updating purposes.

The various embodiments of the photo repository may include versions particularly designed for either home or business uses.

In some of the embodiments disclosed above, photo repository software or data are stored locally on an end user's computer platform. In these embodiments, the software or data may be downloaded to the end user's computer platform. Alternatively, the software or data may be provided on media (e.g., CD-ROM) delivered to the end user.

In another embodiment, the photo repository can provide users a feature that allows a plurality of stored photographs to be associated with each other. As an example, a user may take a number (e.g., 50) of photographs while on a vacation. According to this embodiment, the photo repository allows the user to associate these photographs as a set. The user may be allowed to name the set (e.g., Hawaiian vacation, August 2003). When the user wishes to retrieve these photos for viewing, the photo repository would allow the user to retrieve the photos as a set.

It was stated above in connection with the embodiment of the photo repository that used peer-to-peer data exchange technology that photos stored on end users' computers were referenced by a link that included the end user's network address. One way to implement this is to establish a separate domain or suffix to be used for photo links, e.g., pix.

There are various ways to generate revenue from the operation of embodiments of the photo repository. In one alternative, end users pay a fee for storage of photographs in the repository. Alternatively, end users pay a fee for downloading photographs of others. In another alternative, advertising is presented to the users when they access or use the photo repository. Alternatively, advertising may be added to or overlaid on downloaded photographs. In alternatives in which users install repository software or geographic data locally, the users may pay a fee (e.g., a license fee) for the software and/or data.

As mentioned above, a user may search the photo repository for stored photographs based on search criteria other than location. In one embodiment, users may search the photo repository for photographs by color or color combination. In this embodiment, a user may want a photograph having a specific color or combination of colors for decorating purposes, for example. According to this embodiment, the photo repository supports searches of stored photographs based on the dominant color or color combinations in the photographs. Searches may combine color with other criteria (e.g., photographs of the Grand Canyon that have strong red colors).

According to another embodiment, the photo repository includes a free text search engine. This would enable searches for photos based on any word or phrase associated in any way with a photograph. Inexact and fuzzy matches would also be supported.

Another feature included in an alternative embodiment of the photo repository provides for automatic recognition of placenames when entering text. As mentioned above, some embodiments of the photo repository allow a user to provide a description, title or narrative to be associated with a photograph when the photograph is being stored. The user may provide these types of information as text. According to this feature, if a user indicates a placename when providing text for a description, title or narrative, the photo repository automatically identifies the potential placename and asks the user to confirm that the identified text is the placename of the location associated with the photograph. As an example, if a user provides the text “This is a picture of the Empire State Building at noon” for a description to be associated with a digital photograph being stored, the photo repository automatically identifies the text “Empire State Building” as the name of a place and asks the user to confirm that the object in the picture is the “Empire State Building.” If the user confirms that the object in the picture is the Empire State Building, the photo repository automatically associates the location of the Empire State Building with the photo being stored. The photo repository can automatically identify placenames in text by comparing user-entered text to a table of placenames, searching user-entered text for placename patterns (e.g., “1245 Main Street”, first letter capitalized words), or various other means.

It is intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting and that it is understood that the following claims including all equivalents are intended to define the scope of the invention.

Citada por
Patente citante Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
US7149503 *23 Dic 200312 Dic 2006Nokia CorporationSystem and method for associating postmark information with digital content
US73731094 Nov 200313 May 2008Nokia CorporationSystem and method for registering attendance of entities associated with content creation
US758067819 Jun 200325 Ago 2009Nokia CorporationSystem, apparatus, and method for effecting network connections via wireless devices using radio frequency identification
US773458916 Sep 20058 Jun 2010Qurio Holdings, Inc.System and method for optimizing data uploading in a network based media sharing system
US774757419 Sep 200529 Jun 2010Qurio Holdings, Inc.System and method for archiving digital media
US7756866 *17 Ago 200513 Jul 2010Oracle International CorporationMethod and apparatus for organizing digital images with embedded metadata
US792082726 Jun 20025 Abr 2011Nokia CorporationApparatus and method for facilitating physical browsing on wireless devices using radio frequency identification
US793031112 Mar 200819 Abr 2011Industrial Technology Research InstituteData classification system and method for building classification tree for the same
US793397229 Sep 200526 Abr 2011Qurio Holdings, Inc.Method and system for organizing categories of content in a distributed network
US801514915 Ene 20086 Sep 2011Adobe Systems IncorporatedAsset repository
US8176027 *6 Jul 20058 May 2012Navteq B.V.Spatial index for data files
US81761016 May 20078 May 2012Google Inc.Collaborative rejection of media for physical establishments
US8315456 *10 Abr 200820 Nov 2012The Nielsen CompanyMethods and apparatus for auditing signage
US846204814 Nov 200811 Jun 2013Rdpa, LlcSatellite positioning system and method for determining the demographics of individuals passing retail locations
US8473544 *5 Nov 200725 Jun 2013Sony CorporationImage display system, display apparatus, and display method
US8504574 *28 Oct 20046 Ago 2013Motorola Mobility LlcMethod and system for freshness indication of location data
US8554265 *17 Ene 20078 Oct 2013At&T Mobility Ii LlcDistribution of user-generated multimedia broadcasts to mobile wireless telecommunication network users
US864961030 Oct 201211 Feb 2014The Nielsen Company (Us), LlcMethods and apparatus for auditing signage
US20090222432 *29 Feb 20083 Sep 2009Novation Science LlcGeo Tagging and Automatic Generation of Metadata for Photos and Videos
US20100124991 *18 Nov 200820 May 2010Yahoo! Inc.Game and market mechanisms for virtual real estate
US20100153348 *16 Dic 200817 Jun 2010David PerczynskiReport Generation for a Navigation-Related Database
USRE4368911 May 201025 Sep 2012Nokia CorporationSystem and method for registering attendance of entities associated with content creation
USRE446658 Ago 201224 Dic 2013Nokia CorporationSystem and method for registering attendance of entities associated with content creation
EP2463819A1 *27 Jul 201013 Jun 2012Sony CorporationDevice and method for providing information, terminal device, information processing method, and program
Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.1/1, 707/E17.026, 707/999.003
Clasificación internacionalG06F17/30, G06T1/00
Clasificación cooperativaG06F17/30241, G06F17/30265
Clasificación europeaG06F17/30L, G06F17/30M2
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
23 Ene 2012ASAssignment
Effective date: 20111229
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NAVTEQ NORTH AMERICA, LLC;REEL/FRAME:027588/0051
Owner name: NAVTEQ B.V., NETHERLANDS
2 Mar 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: NAVIGATION TECHNOLOGIES NORTH AMERICA, LLC, ILLINO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FILLEY, GEORGE;HERBST, JAMES;KHAN, M. SALAHUDDIN;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016317/0382;SIGNING DATES FROM 20031216 TO 20031229
13 May 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: NAVTEQ NORTH AMERICA, LLC, ILLINOIS
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:NAVIGATION TECHNOLOGIES NORTH AMERICA, LLC;REEL/FRAME:015318/0664
Effective date: 20040203