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Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers 171

MojoKid writes "Those satellites in space don't just take spy pictures. On this Black Friday 2010, they actually took pictures of you, and your rush to Black Friday shopping deals. The research is being done to see what consumer demand this year means for retail stocks. The trend, so far, has been favorable. The companies involved in this are Remote Sensing Metrics and Digital Globe. Remote Sensing Metrics is a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes the satellite imagery. In turn, it purchases those images from Colorado-based company Digital Globe, which operates its own satellites."
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Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers

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  • Re:no surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:09PM (#34359936) Journal
    I am moderately surprised that the fairly low-resolution data you would get from a visual surveillance satellite(ie. you can tell how full the parking lot is on Black Friday. How many people are there to buy el-cheapo crap to satisfy their Christmas obligations without going further into debt, and how many are there to pick up toys just because they can? Can you tell the difference between my 'Insignia' brand bottom-of-the-barrel-but-good-enough-to-watch-football-with-my-browskies LCD TV and a top of the line cinemaphile disposable-income-eater of similar size just by the box, from space?), even with sophisticated machine vision algorithms or more analysts than the National Reconnaissance Office, would be competitive with consumer metrics available from other sources.

    I'm guessing that most Black Friday purchases are not made with cash and the ones that are are probably comparatively small and could be estimated just by putting a few flunkies near a statistically relevant sample of checkout lines. This would mean that any of the major credit/debit card guys should have a much better, and much more machine readable, trace on consumer spending. Retailers, of course, many of whom are publically traded and nearing the end of their fiscal year, obviously know what they sold; and I'm guessing that the guys in the shipping sector know reasonably well how much stuff had to be shlepped from the pacific rim to refill Wally World after the event.

    Pictures from space have been a given for years now; they just seem like a sloppy source of data compared to all the others that already exist...
  • Re:One more reason (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Roland Piquepaille ( 780675 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:19PM (#34360000)

    Your Christmas sounds pretty shitty, well except for the love part... That sounds kinky.

    That's because you equate Christmas and consuming.

    Let me tell you how my family and I stopped buying stuff for Christmas: we used to rush downtown to buy each other presents, before the 24th, just like you. Then we figured we could buy more shit for our money if we exchanged promises at xmas eve, and actually bought said shit after mid-january, when the unsold articles would be discounted. We did that for several years, and ended up realizing we has just as much fun without the shit on xmas eve, and we could perhaps do without buying the shit at all. And that's what we've been doing ever since.

    It works, you should give it a try. If you, your wife or your kids end up unhappy, you can always promise to buy the shit later when it's cheaper.

  • I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by formfeed ( 703859 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:31PM (#34360110)
    If you want to know how well you are doing, wouldn't you get better data from your cash register than from your parking lot?

    - Unless of course you want to know how well your competitor is doing.

  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <valuation&gmail,com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:00PM (#34360302)

    "I've been let walk after burning rubber for half a city block and reaching close to 80mp in a 25mph zone right in front of sheriff's deputy I didn't see. He asked me what happened and I explained it to him: I was showing for a couple of very good looking young women and that it was a first for me to do that in town as my hotrodding and racing was done out of town. My honesty got me a warning instead of a ticket and some time in jail."

    So you're whining that you can't drive wrecklessly down a street and possibly kill people. You're the reason why we can't have nice things.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @08:46PM (#34361358) Journal
    I'll piggyback on that. Best memories for me of Christmas are the cooking, eating, and drinking. Honestly, I don't recall a single gift that I've gotten over the last decade or two. I do recall getting drunk with my sisters while making up girlie drinks in the blender. I do recall my dad taking over christmas dinner to make Yorkshire pudding every year - the smell of them, the taste.... I recall my grandparents driving over each year, older than the last. I recall taking in a couple of Danish exchange students who had nowhere to go for Christmas. Treating them to a night of drinking, a day of cinnamon sticky buns, omelets, hot coffee and christmas music. Generic presents, then a feast of roast beef, lamb, and sides. After dessert, cleaning off the table and playing assorted games. (None made by Milton Bradley or Hasboro)

    Sure, my family does Christmas. But 95% of it is the people, food, and drinks. It doesn't matter if you're family or not - the exchange students were good examples of that. We get together, and have an awesome time. Everyone pitches in to help cook, haul wood through the snow for the fire, shovel walks, and keep the party going. Gifts? Meh. We give some, we get some. But they really are just a token attempt to celebrate the "American" way. We could easily do without them, and nobody would really notice. It'd be that much more time and money spent on food and drink, and enjoying our time together.
  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by korean.ian ( 1264578 ) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @10:35PM (#34361868)

    Umm, I'm a parent, and my 5 year old has already said she doesn't want too many presents this year, and especially not toys. She wants art supplies (like playdo and drawing paper and paint). She's said numerous times "I have too many toys.", which is surprising, cause she doesn't have that many really. She doesn't express jealousy at toys other kids have, so it's not her just trying to please mom and dad (who are not really in a position financially to but tons of toys anyways). We did the mega-consumerist Christmas last year and to be honest, about halfway through, most of the kids (extended family) were starting to get bored.

    And to be honest, your purchasing lots of cheap plastic crap for your kids, regardless of where it's made, does nothing to help the environment or society.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vegiVamp ( 518171 ) on Monday November 29, 2010 @05:27AM (#34372494) Homepage

    I do agree with the general trend of your sentiments, but when you're linking the meaning of christmas and easter to christian events, then you're buying in to religion, if you'll excuse the harsh paraphrasing.

    It's your full right to believe in that, but I personally don't; for me it's about celebrating the seasonal changes and the cycle of life - as it was way before various religions mapped their own meanings on those inconceivably ancient times of celebration. What is now christmas celebrates the return of light (Jesus is born, bringing salvation from the dark times); and what is now easter celebrates the return of life to the world - and yes, Jesus is reborn. Like all times of celebration, it is good to spend them with loved ones.

    It doesn't bother me that you prefer your own fairytale to mine, though - your message is just as benevolent. Just don't try to ram it down my throat as being the one true meaning.

This restaurant was advertising breakfast any time. So I ordered french toast in the renaissance. - Steven Wright, comedian