Microsoft to guide you around dodgy neighbourhoods

Croydon after the riotsMicrosoft is reportedly adding new functions to its maps by getting a patent for "pedestrian route protection", which will help people navigate around unsafe neighbourhoods. No, we don't identify Microsoft with mapping very much - so yes, you do end up wondering what this is going into.

You can only speculate about what Google must think about this - until now the master of the street map, finding a rival gaining what could become a very desirable technology indeed.
The Daily Mail is speculating in this story that the technology could go into the search engine, Bing, which has had navigation technology since 2010. This would then presumably feed into mobile phones running Windows Phone 8 when they are released later this year.

Personal spec

Apparently the idea is to keep you informed about things that will affect you particularly. Open areas in which the temperature is likely to rise and fall to extremes, high levels of crime, heavy traffic would all be taken into account.

And like most GPS systems it will allow pedestrians to tailor their turn-by-turn route, taking diversions, going via a Post Office, library or whatever else they want or need to do.

For the record, the picture on the left is of Croydon's Reeves Corner post-summer-riot - and it's a perfectly safe neighbourhood now, the image is intended as generic - it must be safe, I live nearby. It's unlikely that the Microsoft technology would actually be able to help in the case of one-off incidents like a week of riots in previously-safe areas as it works using statistics - so "no major issues here for the last 70 years or more" followed by intense unrest may produce a skewed and atypical result.
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