Microsoft unveils Ghetto alert app for tourists

Posted: January 19, 2012 in travel & tourism

Travellers wandering around foreign cities could soon be given an instant warning if they stray towards dangerous areas with a new GPS feature developed by Microsoft.

The recently-approved patent uses the latest crime statistics and weather data to work out a route that would help tourists avoid trouble spots.

“As a pedestrian travels, various difficulties can be encountered, such as travelling through an unsafe neighbourhood or being in an open area that is subject to harsh temperatures,” the patent states.

Dubbed the “avoid ghetto” feature, it could be used in smartphone apps and in-car navigation units in the future.

However there are concerns the feature may hurt the reputation and economies of the “problem areas” it urges tourists to avoid, according to the Washington Post.

It has also raised eyebrows from the tech community.

“What is unclear, at least from my reading of the patent – which isn’t written by anything resembling a human hand or mind – is what kind of crime statistics the GPS might choose to use,” Chris Matyszczyk of CNET said.

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