Archive for the ‘Merchandi$e’ Category

Stitching Postcards (details, produkte + ideen)

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

before

afterback

afterfront

[Editor’s note: From Köln (Cologne), Germany comes a series of “stitching postcards”. These postcards include a length of thread, a needle, and instructions to “stitch a line”. Pictured above are some of my travels around the world. So far the company has a world map, Europe, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States, Scandinavia, and city maps of Berlin, Munich, Köln, and New York city. Limited non-map patterns are also available. Thanks Kristin!]

Continue to stitching postcards @ details, produkte + ideen . . .

iPhone 3.0′s Magnetometer and A-GPS

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

iphonetomtom

Looks like the iPhone 3.0 firmware plus the new 3Gs hardware will give the dedicated GPS market a run for it’s money. The new hardware includes a magnetometer, otherwise known as a digital compass. Combine that with the A-GPS, which supplements the slow satellite signal with fast WiFi and cell phone tower triangulation, and accurate and timely turn-by-turn navigation is possible. Both TomTomNavigon, , and TeleNav have jumped into the fray, joining X-Roads which was briefly available in a crippled form on the App store. Garmin might be shooting itself in the foot by staying out, but they have their own GPS + phone plans already. Besides the added precision of the new hardware, it’ll be easier for developers to incorporate maps directly into their apps. We should see a whole new class of apps available. Imagine walking along a street and pointing your phone at a building, statue, mountain, road, etc and have reams of helpful information come up about that particular feature. A great wayfinding device in the making!

NAVIGON exits N. America, may make iPhone app (MacNN)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

navigon7300t

[Editor’s note: Looks like the iPhone and cell phones in general will continue to exert pressure on the low cost GPS market. Seperately, TomTom looks to be developing their own iPhone app.]

Republished from Mac News Network.

NAVIGON today said it would quit its GPS device business in North America but may offer its software on the iPhone and other platforms in return. The company doesn’t tell GPS Business News how quickly it expects to leave but says the decision stems from too-stiff competition at the low end of the GPS business. Where its business had been comfortable as long as large rivals like Garmin and TomTom kept their navigator prices higher, the push down to as low as $99 (for a TomTom ONE) has left NAVIGON with little way to differentiate itself.

In exchange, the company plans to expand by making its software available on other GPS-capable devices, particularly smartphones. Company chief Egon Minar specifically says an iPhone version through the App Store is a possibility courtesy of OS X iPhone 3.0′s support for turn-by-turn navigation but that it depends on price competitiveness, as other rivals are likely to introduce their own dedicated iPhone GPS apps.

Besides cost, NAVIGON has primarily sold its devices on offering features at a lower overall price, such as free lifetime traffic updates, lane assist and multi-route selection.

Interview: 1st Custom Map App Developer for the iPhone (Kelso)

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

[Editor’s note: An exciting development as Chris Leger @ Earthrover Software has partnered with Tom Harrison to release several of Tom’s California-focused recreation maps the iPhone and iPod Touch, the first such for the platform. Other efforts have wrapped poor functionality around terrible maps and in a couple cases decent gov’t National Park Service maps, not original custom cartography. Chris was kind enough to give me an email interview about the product.

As hand held GPS units, mobile platforms like the Apple iPhone and Amazon Kindle all converge, delivering custom maps to these devices will become a more important business opportunity for cartography shops. I see two classes of mobile map applications: (a) raw map with GPS and (b) enhanced map with GPS. Earthrover’s maps are a good example of the former while PacMaps’s Acadia National Park map app shows how a flat map can be enchanced with a placename index to search locations on the map and possibly even routing information.

So far examples of both solutions use just one map scale. It would be nice to see developers work with cartographers to offer additional custom maps at the zoomed out scales since the raw map isn’t legible when zoomed out.

An app that satisfies one or more of these seems destined to do well: (1) pre-trip planning and routing, (2) on-trail location, waypoints, and tracking, and (3) post-trip display show and tell.]

Q: Kelso’s Corner
Who contacted who about developing this app oriented around the recreation maps? I first saw your Mt. Tam Trail Map app ($5 each) and was entranced. Additional titles include: Angeles Front Country Trail Map, Mamoth High Country Trail Map, Point Reyes Trail Map, and San Diego Backcountry Trail Map.

A: Earthrover Software
I contacted Tom [Harrison] about it, and he was willing to give it a try.  I’ve used his maps in the past for trips in California, and my main interest in writing iPhone apps is for field guides and reference information to take into the field.  Having Tom’s maps available was one of the first things to come to mind–his maps are great and are well known, so they’re the obvious choice to have on a mobile device.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
I assume you did the development of the app? How much design review went into the app and it’s functionality?

A: Earthrover Software
Right; I wrote and designed the app.  I spent some time thinking about which features would be worth the complexity of implementing them, did some research to figure out what format to use for the data (PDF versus SVG versus PNG versus …), made a prototype to focus on smooth scrolling and zooming, then kept refining it until there wasn’t anything left on my to-do list.  Since Tom’s underlying map data is of such high quality, I could focus on keeping the user interface fast and tight–there’s not much screen real estate to play with, so every button counts.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
What have your initial sales been like?

A: Earthrover Software
With a few titles out and no advertising apart from our websites, I’d guess we’re averaging about 3-5 sales a day.  This will go up as we add more titles, and hopefully there will be a broader audience for some of the upcoming maps of National Parks.  While it would be nice to have a blockbuster project and pay off the mortgage, I don’t see that in the cards for the types of apps I enjoy writing–which is important since I’m doing this in my spare time, rather than on someone else’s dime.  I’m more interested in expanding sales by taking the underlying engines I now have for maps and field guides, and applying them to more products to appeal to a broader audience.  This has worked well for field guides.  The second one, Wildflowers of the Western Plains, was released today, and five more are in the works.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
Do you anticipate future titles (you must be experiencing some success to keep coming out with titles)?

A: Earthrover Software
Yes, we have more coming.  I submitted the Yosemite Valley Trail Map to Apple today, and Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yosmite National Park, Death Valley, and Tom’s complete John Muir Trail map set are in the works.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
How long did it take to develop the app?

A: Earthrover Software
It was about a month of calendar time, I think, between me contacting Tom and getting the first app released.  That doesn’t sound like much, but I’m a pretty efficient programmer and put in  a lot of hours that month.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
What kind of testing have you done with it out in the field?

A: Earthrover Software
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I haven’t done any field testing with the apps yet.  I don’t have an iPhone (just an iPod touch), so I can’t really check out the GPS functionality except via IP localization.  Tom does field checks of his maps, so the underlying map data is known to be good, and I use Google Earth to fine-tune the map coordinates in the app.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
How do you see the iPhone 3.0 firmware making it easier to develop this type of product?

A: Earthrover Software
Easier integration with Google Maps will be interesting for many apps, and an obvious update to our apps is to allow the user to switch back and forth with a Google Maps view.  But Google Maps requires a network connection–ruling out use in the field on an iPod touch–and isn’t as fast in zooming and scrolling as our apps.

Conclusion: Kelso’s Corner
Thanks, Chris for sharing your development experience with us and good luck on future titles and projects! I’m sure the new iPhone 3.0 firmware will make it easier to sell a complete line of maps from within a single app instead of forcing users back to the iTunes store. Lots of potential :)

Turn-By-Turn Voice Navigation Comes to Jailbroken iPhones (Gizmodo)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

[Editor's note: Not for the faint of hear, but great proof of concept of what the iPhone is capable of.]

Republished from Gizmodo.
By John Herrman
Original: 5:13 AM  on Feb 11 2009

Six months after the App Store was launched, the iPhone app gray market lives on: turn-by-turn navigation has come to jailbroken iPhones in the form of xGPS. UPDATED

xGPS uses Google’s map data and driving directions, adding a real-time navigation readout and a voice engine. You can also select a map area to download ahead of time, just in case you expect to lose your data connection during the drive. As you can see in ModMyi‘s video above, the app also supports a number of external GPS units, so 1st-gen iPhone and iPod Touch users can get in on the monotone fun too.

The project has been gestating for a few months now, but many vital features, including the voice engine, weren’t implemented until this release. xGPS 1.2 is now will soon be available in Cydia. UPDATE: An older version without vocalization in current available in the repositories, but the newest version is expected to be publicly available within the week. [xGPS via ModMyiThanks, Aleksey!]

Web Trend Map 3 (Information Architects Japan)

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

[Editor’s note: View the internet as a large subway map styled after Tokyo, Japan, with nearly 300 of the most successful and influential websites online today located along topical “lines” and hubs. Insets offer a “weather forecast” and “brand experience” rating of the same. Thanks Mike!]

Republished from Information Architects Japan.
First posted there Wednesday, March 5th, 2008.
Preview the 2009 Web Trend Map 4.

It was featured by The Guardian, WIRED, Le Monde, Corriere, kottke, Boingboing, Techcrunch, Mashable, Valleywag and literally thousands of blogs. We are happy to announce that the coolest gift for geeks, the A0 poster of the 2008 Web Trend Map (841mm x 1189mm / 33.25in x 46.75in), is now up for grabs:

Want a Lick of the Ice Cream?

Of course, we’d like you to enjoy our hard work in a format that suits you best, so we offer the map in the following formats for you to download and enjoy for free:

  1. Clickable Startpage with daily updated iA surf tips
  2. Big, A3 PDF (8MB, printable)
  3. 1600 x 1024 Wallpaper
  4. 1440 x 900 Wallpaper
  5. 1024 x 768 Wallpaper

A Closer Look

The map pins down nearly 300 of the most successful and influential websites to the greater Tokyo area train map.

Different train lines correspond to different web trends such as innovation, news, social networks, and so on.

The Forecast

We’ve brought back the weather forecast from version 2 and incorporated it along the main Yamanote train line.

Brand Experience

The bottom layer includes a rating of brand experience analogous to restaurant experience. It illustrates our perception of user experience and brand management of the main stations. We studied the usability, user value, and interface (simplicity, character, and feedback), and rated each site on a scale of eating at various types of Japanese restaurants.

Order the A0 Poster

These large and beautiful posters are US$55 each (shipping included). We ship anywhere in the world. Only 1,000 have been printed but 664 have been pre-ordered, so get yours while supplies last. To claim yours today, order through our PayPal link:

Continue to Information Architects Japan to order . . .

I Am Here: One Man’s Experiment With the Location-Aware Lifestyle (Wired Mag)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Anyone concerned about geotagging and privacy should read this informative article from Wired Magazine. Author Mathew Honan became a geo-guinea pig by geotagging his entire life for a couple weeks and posting it live all his social networking site. Read about his experience’s pros and cons. It might just change your life.]

Republished from Wired Magazine.
By Mathew Honan Email 01.19.09.
Image above caption: Mathew Honan: 37.769958 °N, 122.467233 °W. Photo: Jason Madara
Related article:
Inside the GPS Revolution: 10 Applications That Make the Most of Location

I’m baffled by WhosHere. And I’m no newbie. I built my first Web page in 1994, wrote my first blog entry in 1999, and sent my first tweet in October 2006. My user number on Yahoo’s event site, Upcoming.org: 14. I love tinkering with new gadgets and diving into new applications. But WhosHere had me stumped. It’s an iPhone app that knows where you are, shows you other users nearby, and lets you chat with them. Once it was installed and running, I drew a blank. What was I going to do with this thing?

So I asked for some help. I started messaging random people within a mile of my location (37.781641 °N, 122.393835 °W), asking what they used WhosHere for.

My first response came from someone named Bridget, who, according to her profile, at least, was a 25 year-old woman with a proclivity for scarves. “To find sex, asshole,” she wrote.

“I’m sorry? You mean it’s for finding people to have sex with?” I zapped back.

“Yes, I use it for that,” she wrote. “It’s my birthday,” she added.

“Happy birthday,” I offered.

“Send me a nude pic for my birthday,” she replied.

A friendly offer, but I demurred. Anonymous geoshagging is not what I had in mind when I imagined what the GPS revolution could mean to me.

The location-aware future—good, bad, and sleazy—is here. Thanks to the iPhone 3G and, to a lesser extent, Google’s Android phone, millions of people are now walking around with a gizmo in their pocket that not only knows where they are but also plugs into the Internet to share that info, merge it with online databases, and find out what—and who—is in the immediate vicinity. That old saw about how someday you’ll walk past a Starbucks and your phone will receive a digital coupon for half off on a Frappuccino? Yeah, that can happen now.

Simply put, location changes everything. This one input—our coordinates—has the potential to change all the outputs. Where we shop, who we talk to, what we read, what we search for, where we go—they all change once we merge location and the Web.

I wanted to know more about this new frontier, so I became a geo-guinea pig. My plan: Load every cool and interesting location-aware program I could find onto my iPhone and use them as often as possible. For a few weeks, whenever I arrived at a new place, I would announce it through multiple social geoapps. When going for a run, bike ride, or drive, I would record my trajectory and publish it online. I would let digital applications help me decide where to work, play, and eat. And I would seek out new people based on nothing but their proximity to me at any given moment. I would be totally open, exposing my location to the world just to see where it took me. I even added an Eye-Fi Wi-Fi card to my PowerShot digital camera so that all my photos could be geotagged and uploaded to the Web. I would become the most location-aware person on the Internets!

The trouble started right away. While my wife and I were sipping stouts at our neighborhood pub in San Francisco (37.770401 °N, 122.445154 °W), I casually mentioned my plan. Her eyes narrowed. “You’re not going to announce to everyone that you’re leaving town without me, are you? A lot of weirdos follow you online.”

Sorry, weirdos—I love you, but she has a point. Because of my work, many people—most of them strangers—track my various Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, and blog feeds. And it’s true; I was going to be gone for a week on business. Did I really want to tell the world that I was out of town? It wasn’t just leaving my wife home alone that concerned me. Because the card in my camera automatically added location data to my photos, anyone who cared to look at my Flickr page could see my computers, my spendy bicycle, and my large flatscreen TV all pinpointed on an online photo map. Hell, with a few clicks you could get driving directions right to my place—and with a few more you could get black gloves and a lock pick delivered to your home.

To test whether I was being paranoid, I ran a little experiment. On a sunny Saturday, I spotted a woman in Golden Gate Park taking a photo with a 3G iPhone. Because iPhones embed geodata into photos that users upload to Flickr or Picasa, iPhone shots can be automatically placed on a map. At home I searched the Flickr map, and score—a shot from today. I clicked through to the user’s photostream and determined it was the woman I had seen earlier. After adjusting the settings so that only her shots appeared on the map, I saw a cluster of images in one location. Clicking on them revealed photos of an apartment interior—a bedroom, a kitchen, a filthy living room. Now I know where she lives.

Where in the World
Is My iPhone?

To pinpoint your location, your mobile phone talks to cell towers, GPS satellites, and Wi-Fi nodes. But there’s a trade-off between speed and accuracy. Here’s how Apple’s handset knows where you are. — Patrick Di Justo

Cell Towers

Accuracy: varies (about 500 meters in our test)

You might think that your iPhone triangulates its location by using multiple cell towers, but it actually needs only one. After identifying the single nearby tower that it’s pinging, the iPhone queries a database at Google that lists the location of cell towers. That information is sent back to your phone, telling the device approximately where it is.

Pros: Very fast. Works anywhere you have a cell signal, including inside.
Cons: Accurate enough to find restaurants, but not for directions.

Wi-Fi

Accuracy: 30 meters

The iPhone can also pinpoint its location using Wi-Fi. A company called Skyhook cruises cities to map the location of Wi-Fi nodes. The iPhone sniffs them out, measures their signal strength, and reports back to Skyhook’s servers. Based on its database, Skyhook computes where you must be to have that particular pattern of signal strengths.

Pros: Fast. Surprisingly accurate if you’re in an area with high network density.
Cons: Useful only in urban areas with lots of Wi-Fi networks.

GPS

Accuracy: 10 meters

GPS satellites orbit Earth, constantly broadcasting an identification signal, their location in space, and the time on their atomic clock. The iPhone uses assisted GPS, which means it can tap into an assistance server and a reference network, helping to get a more accurate GPS reading more quickly.

Pros: By far the most accurate location system available.
Cons: Although A-GPS is much faster than conventional, it’s still rather slow. And because it requires a view of the sky, it doesn’t work indoors or in built-up urban areas.

Geo-enthusiasts will assure you that these privacy concerns are overplayed: Your cell phone can be used to pinpoint your location anyway, and a skilled hacker could likely get that data from your mobile carrier. Heck, in the UK, tracking mobile phone users is as simple as entering their number on a Web site (as long as they give permission). But the truth is, there just aren’t that many people who want to prey on your location. Still, I can’t help being a little skittish when I start broadcasting my current position and travel plans. I mean, I used to stop newspaper delivery so people wouldn’t realize I was out of town. Now I’ve told everyone on Dopplr that I’m going to DC for five days.

And location info gets around. The first time I saw my home address on Facebook, I jumped—because I never posted it there. Then I realized it was because I had signed up for Whrrl. Like many other geosocial applications, Whrrl lets you cross-post to the microblogging platform Twitter. Twitter, in turn, gets piped to all sorts of other places. So when I updated my location in Whrrl, the message leaped first to Twitter and then to Facebook and FriendFeed before landing on my blog, where Google indexed it. By updating one small app on my iPhone, I had left a giant geotagged footprint across the Web.

A few days later I had another disturbing realization. It’s a Tuesday and I’m blowing off a work meeting in favor of a bike ride through Golden Gate Park (37.771558 °N, 122.454478 °W). Suddenly it hits me—since I would later post my route online with the date and time, I would be just a Google search (“Mat Honan Tuesday noon”) away from getting busted. I’m a freelancer, and these are trying economic times. I can’t afford to have the Internet ratting me out like that.

To learn how to deal with this new openness….

And the punch line:

And that’s when it hit me: I had gained better location awareness but was losing my sense of place. Sure, with the proper social filters, location awareness needn’t be invasive or creepy. But it can be isolating. Even as we gradually digitize our environment, we should remember to look around the old-fashioned way. I took a deep breath, pulled back onto the highway, and drove home—directed by the Google Maps app on my iPhone, of course. And I didn’t get lost once.

Continue reading at Wired . . .

Great Information Design Book: The Back of the Napkin (Kelso)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I got a great xmas gift from my friend Curt this year, a little book called The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam. If you like Edward Tufte, you’ll like Dan Roam. This book was rated #5 Business Book on Amazon.com last year, but really he talks about informational graphic storytelling, so don’t let that throw you.

As it advertises in the introduction, I was able to read thru the book on my DC to LA flight but I quickly discovered there are enough gems for many returns. Here are the basics:

Dan Roam has a great website with animations, movies, and other resources. He also puts on events and keeps current with a blog. The following images are from his website.

1. Visual Thinking Toolbox

2. The Codex

3. The SQVID

4. The <6><6> Rule

From Amazon.com (below). Buy it there.

From Publishers Weekly
The premise behind Roam’s book is simple: anybody with a pen and a scrap of paper can use visual thinking to work through complex business ideas. Management consultant and lecturer Roam begins with a watershed moment: asked, at the last minute, to give a talk to top government officials, he sketched a diagram on a napkin. The clarity and power of that image allowed him to communicate directly with his audience. From this starting point, Roam has developed a remarkably comprehensive system of ideas. Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with tools and rules to facilitate picture making. There are the four steps of visual thinking, the six ways of seeing and the SQVID– a clumsy acronym for a full brain visual work out designed to focus ideas. Roam occasionally overcomplicates; an extended case study takes up a full third of the book and contains an overload of images that belie the book’s central message of simplicity. Nonetheless, for forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session. Illus. (Mar 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
“The premise behind Roam’s book is simple: anybody with a pen and a scrap of paper can use visual thinking to work through complex business ideas. Management consultant and lecturer Roam begins with a “watershed moment”: asked, at the last minute, to give a talk to top government officials, he sketched a diagram on a napkin. The clarity and power of that image allowed him to communicate directly with his audience. From this starting point, Roam has developed a remarkably comprehensive system of ideas. Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with “tools and rules” to facilitate picture making. There are the four steps of visual thinking, the six ways of seeing and the “SQVID”– a clumsy acronym for a “full brain visual work out” designed to focus ideas. Roam occasionally overcomplicates; an extended case study takes up a full third of the book and contains an overload of images that belie the book’s central message of simplicity. Nonetheless, for forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session. Illus.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“As painful as it is for any writer to admit, a picture *is* sometimes worth a thousand words. That’s why I learned so much from this book. With style and wit, Dan Roam has provided a smart, practical primer on the power of visual thinking.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

“Inspiring! It teaches you a new way of thinking in a few hours — what more could you ask from a book?”
—Dan Heath, author of Made to Stick

“This book is a must read for managers and business leaders. Visual thinking frees your mind to solve problems in unique and effective ways.”
—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures

“If you observe the way people read or listen to things in the early 21st century, you realize that there aren’t many of us left with a linear attention span. Visual information is much more interesting than verbal information. So if you want to make a point, do it with images, pictures or graphics. . . . Dan Roam is the first visual consultant for businesses that I’ve worked with. His approach is faster for the customer. And the message sticks.”
—Roger Black, Media design leader, Author of Websites That Work

“Simplicity. This is Dan Roam’s message in The Back Of The Napkin. We all dread business meetings with their mountains of documents and the endless bulleted power points. Roam cuts through all that to demonstrate how the use of simple drawings — executed while the audience watches — communicate infinitely better than those complex presentations. Is a picture truly worth a thousand words? Having told us how to communicate with pictures, Roam rounds out his message by explaining that “We don’t show an insight-inspiring picture because it saves a thousand words; we show it because it elicits the thousand words that make the greatest difference.” And that is communication that works.”
—Bill Yenne, author of Guinness: The 250 Year Quest for the Perfect Pint

Apple looking to patent iPhone-friendly glove? (iPodNN)

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

[Editor's note: Living in a colder clime, I'm often frustrated that I cannot use the iPhone's touch screen while wearing gloves. If I tilt my finger just right thru the fabric and press hard I can barely get the phone to unlock and place a call. The alternative is frost bite. This patent application demonstrates one solution.]

Republished from iPodNN.

Apple may be exploring the idea of gloves more friendly to touchscreens, an application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals. A problem common to iPhone and iPod users in colder areas, such as Canada and the northern US, is that they must wear gloves when going outside. Because Apple handhelds use capacitive touchscreens however, it may be difficult or impossible for the electrical signals from a person’s fingers to pass through glove fabric.

Apple’s proposed glove design would include inner and outer layers, the former covering the palm and at least one finger. The inner layer would also emulate properties of human skin, namely its electrical resistance. To control a touchscreen, holes in the outer layer would allow one or several fingers to protrude; to keep hands as warm as possible, the holes would be lined with elastic rings and/or some sort of cap, for when fingers are safely tucked back inside.

Rand McNally Releases Atlases for Kindle, Has Odd Vision for the Future of Maps (Gizmodo)

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Rand McNally introduces their popular US state-by-state road atlas series for the Kindle. Though without a GPS and in gray scale, I have played with a Kindle before and see the allure of the platform in terms of ease of use and portability. I discussed this topic at NACIS Missoula with some fellow cartographers in the context of the new lat-long GIS capabilities of the PDF format I wonder when smart phones like the iPhone that DO have GPS will start surpasing these efforts with such a PDF hack. In fact, there are several native apps for the Phone now featuring marine maps with GPS integration so there is a market out there. Though the iPhone’s display physical dimensions are smaller than the Kindle, it has a higher resolution (pixels per inch) display that it easy to zoom. As to the utility of a road atlas that is NOT Google Maps tiles take the Benchmark (great christmas gifts!) series of western states road atlases, far and away better than Rand McNally or Delorme, which offer integrated relief shading, better road classification, points of interest, and most importantly, landscape maps with land ownership and physiography. Plus, the ability to view maps while not connected to the network is a big plus. Thanks Curt!]

Republished from Gizmodo.

Rand McNally can’t be happy with everyone dropping their bulky atlases for GPS units and nav-enabled phones, so they’re fighting back. But they seem a little confused.

The company is releasing a series of atlases for the Kindle, which will be purchased, delivered and consumed like any other ebook on the platform. The first maps, for Northern California, Southern California, and Washington, will be available for $1.99 each, and like the Rand atlases of your childhood, will probably be exhaustive.

There’s nothing expressly wrong with the concept, and the price could well be worth the utility, but the fact remains that putting static map collections on an ebook reader only accentuates how outmoded they are, and how artificially limited the powerful Kindle is. Regardless, the Kindle’s search function and the carefully indexed maps will provide a workable map solution for that small Kindle-equipped, Google Maps-forswearing slice of the population. [eCoustics]

The eCoustics post:

Rand McNally Road Atlases have been designed to work specifically on the Kindle reader. The digital atlas includes a full, searchable index of every city on the map as well as National Parks and other federal areas. The atlas also features individual overview maps of major National Parks as well as major cities and towns.

“Building on our decades of experience and a tradition of producing the most trusted print maps in the world, we are excited to take the industry lead in delivering easily readable state maps in a truly portable digital format,” said Joel Minster, senior vice president and chief cartographer at Rand McNally. “Our cartographic development team created a map page navigation technique entirely new to the Kindle, letting users easily navigate to the map above or below the current page, not just the page before or after, which is typical of e-book readers. Customers should expect nothing less from Rand McNally than to provide them with the trusted tools they need to discover, map and navigate their world.”

Users can download content directly through their Kindle device or from their computers via Amazon.com. Kindle books include free wireless delivery within a minute of placing an order. Additional Rand McNally state atlases for the Kindle are planned for 2009.

About Rand McNally
From America’s number-one-selling Road Atlas, The Thomas Guide®, FabMAP® and Goode’s World Atlas to StreetFinder® Wireless and IntelliRoute® trucking software, Rand McNally has been an industry leader in the mapping, routing, geographic reference and trip-planning tool marketplace for more than 150 years. With More Roads-Better Directions™, the company’s products are sold in more than 50,000 retail outlets, directly to business, and are distributed to 98% of schools across the U.S. Rand McNally is the premier resource for online travel planning as well as maps and directions. For more information, please visit www.RandMcNally.com, call 800-333-0136 or buy maps and travel gear online at http://store.randmcnally.com/.