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Commercial Home Mapping Services

Kabul: home interviews

In the first version of the home mapping service you sign-up online – google.com/homemap, century21.com/homemap – there’s a bunch of players out there – leave an address, phone number and time that they visit, and preferred mode of entry.

Shortly before the scheduled appointment your phone receives a text saying that the mothership is already in your street – but you knew that already because you put it on your radar. First time you saw quadcopter home mapping services in person you were impressed, the second less so – and nowadays its run-of-the-mill all be it with some lovely quirky outliers. Home mapping service today are two-a-penny – the Chinese have made the tech so cheap it’s almost throwaway and some people do it themselves, others but the pros’s do provide some nice value-added in the cloud.

You had checked the Front Door box, with Ringer. It rings, you open.

For ‘mode-of-entry’ Upstairs Window is popular with folks that are out, you’ve heard that a cat-flap version is on the way. “Just leave a bill with your name clearly marked on the kitchen table – we’ll verify you own the place” worked for a while, but these days breaking and entering has spawned a spate of copter-burglaries for folks that didn’t put a Sentinel in place. It’s an arms race that makes the hoo-ha over social networking sites and privacy seem quaintly historic. For now, I digress. With the door ajar a formation of branded quadcopters lifts off from the mothership (think: StreetView pickup with landing pads) that is slowly cruising up the street and heads into your home. Watched from the end of the street – it looks like the swarms are out in force in this hood. (The tiny battery life of earlier models, has been somewhat alleviated by using fuel cell tech – a quadcopter can recharge in less than a second when docked, and for larger buildings they pop out for a refuel – like gladiators going back into the flight).

Preparation for home-mapping is minimal: leave doors ajar, put your valuables out of sight, and (a quaint hang-over from human interaction) most home owners like to clean up for when their ‘guests’ arrive. They typically know the footprint of the building before going inside, if the interior dimensions don’t feel right they ping and ask for additional access.

There are two common features of the service – the first is 3D Model – that maps the interior dimensions of the space build a 3D model and tags the purpose of rooms – commonly used by realtors and landlords for prospective clients and tenants.

The second is the Guided Tour mode where a home owner puts their own property on the market and talks about their interior design, object they own. The Etsy crowd have also jumped on this – using homes as shopfronts, and Amazon’s ‘Buy My’ service is gaining traction as a curator of lifestyle products. Like when eBay and Taobao in their early days there’s a strong social element as people sate their curiosity about the homes of others. (Design Research will eventually adopt the technology to map brands and behaviours in the home, but are a few years out from doing a good job with this – cupboard access and stacked objects take more time to decode).

‘Home Theatre’ has taken off as an art form – with the players moving from room to room cameras in tow – murder mysteries are particular common, along with first person porn. Like the StreetView theatrics of yore – the ‘I like to be watched’ crowd still sometimes gets off on camera – but for the most part these days the algorithms can figure out the shape/scent/sounds of a person humping couple and auto-blur. (The same algorithm reversed works well for a premium HD model that live-streams on pay-per-view).

With a swarm the whole service can take as little as 10 minutes to complete.

The occasional accident still occurs – it is after all catnip for kittens, but a copter clean-up crew come in.

“No copter left behind”.

Boot note: After seeing the nano-quadcopter presentation at TED 2012 – including this, but with a lot more background, insights into their capabilities, and a video of a quadcopter entering and mapping a building in real time – technically impressive stuff. First responders. Military. Pornographers. Research. Retail. This changes many things.

The legal stuff will lag significantly.

The social stuff will vary considerably, tho the more in-your face elements will

Instructions for building your own quadcopter here.

Photo? Kabul home interviews.