Star Trek and Anagog — I twist myself into a Pretzel with this one


Star Trek and Anagog — I twist myself into a Pretzel with this one

In Star Trek IV, the Voyage Home, the Enterprise crew goes back in time to save the earth (and a pair of whales). Upon attempting to return to their proper century, Spoke is required to guess at the data needed. The dialogue reads like this:

Kirk: Mr. Spock, have you accounted for the variable mass of  whales and water in your time re-entry program?

Spock: Mr. Scott cannot give me exact figures, Admiral, so… I will make a guess.

Kirk: A guess? You, Spock? That’s extraordinary.

Spock: [to Dr. McCoy] I don’t think he understands.

McCoy: No, Spock. He means that he feels safer about your guesses than most other people’s facts.

Spock: Then you’re saying…


Spock: It is a compliment?

McCoy: It is.

Spock: Ah. Then, I will try to make the best guess I can.

McCoy: Please do.

McCoy knows that Spoke will take a lifetime of knowledge, data, and skill and most likely come up with the right answer. Fair enough, but what the hell does this have to do with parking.

Anagog, and Israeli company, has developed a software program that uses a “best guess” to determine where parking spaces are open and where they will soon be open. They do this by using terabytes of data they have collected about parking habits across the globe. They combine that with other data that can affect parking (weather, time of day, day of week, holidays, local customs and events, etc) and can come up with a pretty close “best guess” to tell parkers where there are open spaces near their destination. They then give the parker ‘last mile’ turn by turn directions to get to the parking space. You can visit their web site here.

Anagog also supplies this service to other parking apps to enhance their capabilities. I know it all sounds a bit “Star Trekkie” but why not?  We are creatures of habit. We tend to do things the same way, time after time.  The more data you collect, the more accurate your predictions as to how someone, or group of people, will react or in this case, park. This manner of collecting information is called ‘crowd sourcing’ and seems to be gaining favor in the high tech community.

No in street sensors, no wifi data collection, no interfacing with city computers, but you still get good, reliable parking data. And the more its used, the more information collected, the better the end result.

I invite the folks at Anagog to drop me a line and clear up some of the ‘facts’ I made up above about their company. Sometimes I just get carried away.


PS — Another reference to our industry in Star Trek IV. Kirk and Crew landed their highjacked Klingon Bird of Prey in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and as they left to find whales, transparent aluminum, and some radioactivity for fuel, his last words to the three groups  was “Don’t forget where we parked.”

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John Van Horn

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