NYC, Maps & New Google ‘Kiosks’

picture-510One of the “coolest” technologies from Microsoft is Surface — interactive touch screen tables or kiosks that can support maps, images, video and a range of other types of information. They’re on display in AT&T stores and in the lobbies of selected Sheraton hotels. 

Now Google has come out with something quite similar, in partnership with New York which has opened a new “Official New York City Information Center” (on 7th near W 53rd). There’s a related, new NYC tourism website (and mobile site) that uses Google maps. There’s also general integration with Google Maps for Mobile and, reportedly, a giant Google Earth display on the wall of the Info Center.  

Most interesting to me, however, are a bank of Microsoft Surface-like kiosks or “interactive map tables” installed at the Info Center:

New York Mayor Bloomberg is the bylined author of a blog post that describes the initiative  and its various aspects. (Given the language and reference to things like “Google Maps API for Flash,” I’m sure it was largely written for him.)

I continue to be fascinated by the possibility that these kiosks will more broadly appear in the downtown areas of various urban centers. And I wonder if this NYC partnership is a kind of test or potential template for similar tourism promotion (kiosk, mobile, Web) in other major US metros: LA, Chicago, SF, DC, Miami, Seattle, Dallas, and so on.

3 Responses to “NYC, Maps & New Google ‘Kiosks’”

  1. Glenn Polly Says:

    The technolgy used for the interactive tables is not Microsoft Surface, it a custom finger tracking and object recognition engine licensed from Gesturetek out of Toronto Canada. VideoSonic and Gesturetek worked togther to design and build the custom tables, which run a custom application created by Local Projects. VideoSonic provided the audio visual systems integration services for the technology at the Visitors Center, which includes a Salitek seamless videowall, and Bose audio systems. The entire space is automated via a Crestron Control System. More information can be found at

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Was making the comparison with Surface, wasn’t suggest it was surface. Thanks for the clarification and information. I love this technology.

  3. Where for Art Thou Surface? « Screenwerk Says:

    […] also has a similar initiative. (Not sure who’s got a/the […]

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