Posts Tagged ‘gps’

Manhattan Mapped Without a Horizon (Gizmodo)

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

uptownmap

[Editor’s note: A novel map projection based more on a fish-eye lens topology of near and far from both uptown and downtown perspectives. Thanks Melissa and Curt!]

Republished from Gizmodo.
By Mark Wilson, Tue May 5 2009.

It’s rare that we get excited over maps, but this idea by graphic designers Jack Schulze and Matt Webb would be great for GPSs, combining 3D, first person and overhead views into one übermap.

The art project, called Here & There, bends the world into horizon-less, roller coaster loop topography, which allows the viewer to see their position from the first person perspective (complete with those 3D buildings that usually just get in the way) alongside the route/terrain to come.

For now, the designers’ work is available in limited edition prints only that go for $65 (per a set of two). But we can still dream that someone like Google, Apple or Garmin might come around and drop a big pile of money on the small agency before automating this visualization for real time navigation. [Here & There and Background Info via FastCompany]

Reviewing the Nokia 6210. An iPhone competitor? No.

Monday, April 20th, 2009

nokia6210navigator

Nokia’s WOM World was kind enough to loan me a Nokia 6210 Navigator (full specs) with the new Nokia Maps 3.0 beta to test in March. I was excited to use this phone because on the surface it has a similar feature set to my iPhone in a smaller profile with potentially less costly carrier subscription and not being tied to ATT. The phone has a GPS, camera, video phone capabilities, and better navigation software with 3d and walking modes via their OVI Nokia-branded maps service which came preloaded on my testing unit.

It took me a while to figure out that I could access the mapping functionality via a dedicated map “compass” button on the main button area (blue button on the bottom of top (LCD part) slider unit in photo above). The mapping functionality is not visible in the phone’s home screen of GUI buttons. After a while I figured out how to use the “Menu” key to get more than top level menus and then choose the map icon there, too. Maps are preloaded onto the phone, no need for net connection for basic functionality, a plus over the iPhone.

Compared to the iPhone, the Nokia 6210 has several great 3d map views more akin to GPS car navigaion systems (an app is available for the iPhone that brings some of this functionality over). The Nokia 6210 has better integrated search for POI around you (I have downloaded several 3rd party apps for my iPhone that do the same thing). The 6210 also does walking directions (and allows straight line walking, not just along roads).

It is strange this phone ships with the GPS turned off. When I pulled up the map application for the first time it did not ask me if it should turn on the GPS receiver. I had to go into the settings area and manual enable. While I can understand the goal of reducing the drain on the battery, this was inconvienent and confusing to turn on. During normal usage, the GPS would take a very long time to engage. The maps app would crash often (it was beta, after all). The 6210 doesn’t seem to use cell phone tower triangulation to get the fast fix (and GPS later to refine position), a serious downside compared to the iPhone’s rapid location display and then refinement. Route planning on the phone required a license code, compared to the free Google Maps routing on the iPhone. This adds potentially $100 extra per year for the same functionality.

The Nokia 6210 Navigator is a slider phone, but the slider functionality did not always engage the phone’s OS to unlock, or there would be a extremely long delay. The keypad interface instead of my iPhone’s touch screen was infuriating. I should note the phone has the old 3 abc-per numeric keypad layout, not a blackberry qwerty keypad.

Phone call quality seemed on par or slightly poorer than my iPhone. Same locations, same SIM, same carrier. Data connections were notably slower due to reliance on 2G (Edge) service. Web page rendering was terrible compared to the iPhone. Nokia has announced several new phones with 3G speeds.

I wanted to test the video conf. capability since this phone has two cameras, one pointed towards your face and the other at the back of the phone. But I didn’t know anyone else with a video conf. capable phone. It is rumored the summer 2009 iPhone hardware update will enable this.

The camera was okay, not as good as iPhone in low light. The 6210 does have a flash, though! and the battery is easily replaced. Just pop off the back of the case. The SIM card is located behind the battery and easy to swap out.

All in all I prefered my iPhone 3G over the Nokia 6210 Navigator. I see that Nokia is prepping a new touch screen version and has introduced the Ovi store to compete with the iTunes app store. But by the time that is released, we’ll have a new version of the iPhone.

Watch this YouTube video for views of the phone; Maps application shown at the very end.

App: iTopoMap for iPhone

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

[Editor’s note: Download free USGS topoquads and use the GPS and maps when you’re out hiking beyond cell reception and when Google Maps tiles don’t work (and don’t have good contour lines, creeks, or trails on them anyways). I’ve used the app and it works exactly as advertised. Thanks Martin!]

Republished in part from Martin’s posts at BackpackingLite.

Just downloaded and started using a new topo app for the iphone called iTopoMaps ($15) (web site). Looks like someone who backpacks and programs has gotten around to designing a topo map application. (There is another app called TopoPointUSA for $10 but I don’t like it as much.)

This app allows you to download and cache USGS topos on your phone freely downloadable through the phone in advance before your hike so that you can use the iPhone while in the wilderness, no need a 3G or cell phone signal. Turns the iPhone into probably the best mapping GPS with no fees to pay for maps.

I used this in Shenandoah today and it worked well. Still no route planning (track or GPX) functionality but apparently it’s coming. It does allow to create waypoints. This app may be what finally justifies my iPhone after 8 months of love/hate.

Feature list:

  • Full 1:24k USGS Quads that can be locally cached on your iPhone
  • Scrollable multi-zoom map interface (likeGoogleMaps!)
  • Full 50 states
  • Waypoints
  • Goto Waypoint – distance and bearing
  • Magnetic Declination Calculations
  • GNIS Database for looking up features and identifiying them on the map!

I think the app hits the USGS google topo map server and downloads the image pyramids there. But they are free and will likely remain free.

You acquire the topos by tapping the screen while connected to the internet. So it does require a signal initially while planning and also requires some advance planning. But I cached all of Shenandoah yesterday before leaving my house while connected to broadband without any problem ( I have about 12Gb of free space on my phone so that helps). Those quads are now stored on my phone and since I visit Shenandoah very frequemtly they will stay on my phone for my next trips. No memory cards to fiddle with, no extra fee to pay to TOPO or Delorme or Garmin. FREE USGS topo Maps.

GPS Kit and MotionX for iPhone (Kelso)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

The iPhone GPS war up’d the anti with the 4.0 release of MotionX for the iPhone (above). They claim over 2 million users now and are the top ranked naviation app on the iTunes app store now. New in this version:

  • All new user interface maintaining the same structure that you are used to
    while improving all the graphics and sounds
  • MotionX Open Road Maps
  • MotionX Open Terrain Maps

It seems to have caught up to GPS Kit 3.0 (below) for features and ease of use, though I still prefer GPS Kit’s interface which is a little more refined and iPhone-like and less like a computer arcade game (the developer specializes in those types of games).

Most notable in the GPS Kit 3.0 update is the huge battery saver features of turning off the screen but maintaining track recording while in the pocket just like the screen turns off when the phone is held to the ear during a phone call.

All the GPS apps need to get serious about cacheing maps BEFORE heading out to a trail. Cell phone service, let alone 3g, is spotty out in the mountains. Also allowing user specified tile source, not just Google or OpenMap. Maybe via the ability to setup “trips” (ala Tracks and Waypoints) based on the current visible map extent and then having the app pre-download map tiles down to the lowest zoom-level within a user configureable, say, 50 meg cache limit.

All apps are less than $10 from the iTunes store. MotionX is having a sale at $2.99 right now.

  • If you want Google maps (including terrain) and care more about advanced features and a more sane interface, get GPS Kit.
  • If you want Open Street Map base maps and pretty good advanced features but weird interface, get MotionX.
  • If you are just a casual exerciser get an app like Trails (read New York Times review), RunKeeper, or rubiTrack that function mostly as a data capture and then interfaces with a desktop or web application to catalog your routes and graph progress.

rubiTrack 1.5 Adds New Charts, Heart Rate Import (MacNN)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This Mac-only application provides GPS track library and display functions for the recreation or fitness folks not entranced by the Nike+ solution. Includes iPhone companion app (pro | lite) or use with standard GPS device export files. Desktop app features include calendar view of activity, charting of pace, speed, elevation, and map overlays with automatic labels for distance and time intervals.]

Republished from Mac News Network.
March 9th, 2009.

Toolsfactory has released an update to its GPS-enabled activity-tracking application for the Mac, rubiTrack 1.5. The program is designed to help log and organize outdoor activities, while enabling users to store information that can be displayed in detailed maps. The update offers several new features such as power charts, time-driven diagrams and direct sync with WinTec WBT201. Users can now import TCX files, heart rate information, cadence and power data from compatible devices.

The latest version also provides enhanced import capabilities for indoor activities lacking GPS data. The company also addressed a number of bugs with the update.

RubiTrack is compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 or later and can be purchased directly from the company for $40.

Apple to Preview iPhone 3.0 at Special Event Tuesday (MacNN)

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

[Editor's note: Apple has scheduled an event Tuesday, March 17th to presumably unveil the new iPhone and/or iPhone OS 3.0 update features. Rumors include better GPS support to allow turn-by-turn navigation, MMS support, tethering, true background processes, and more. The last iPhone hardware update was in June 2008 and was preceeded by a similar event.]

Read more at MacNN (1 | 2)

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!]

iPhone + National Park = Request for Proposals (Kelso)

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Attention iPhone software developers! The National Park Service is soliciting proposals to create a National Mall mobile wayfinding protoype, otherwise known as an iPhone app!

It is a rather ambitious, forward-looking  project that will depend on the contractor to propose technological and design solutions. The product would serve as a template for creating similar products of other urban park sites.

The request originates out of the Harpers Ferry, WV office of the Park Service. Check out the full solicitation with contact information.

Excerpts from the Solicitation and Scope of Work documents:

Independently, and not as an agent of the government, the contractor shall provide all labor, equipment, materials and services necessary to conceptualize, design, produce, test, and install a fully functional mobile wayfinding prototype of the National Mall in accordance with the attached Scope of Work consisting of 15 pages.

The NPS recognizes that creating a mobile map prototype is a new, complex, and highly specialized undertaking that requires expertise in numerous disciplines, including cartography, database development, interface design, interactive programming, 3-D modeling, wireless networking, mobile phone application development, etc. The mobile map prototype envisioned for the National Mall is perhaps the first of its kind.

The National Mall is the heart of the Nation’s Capital and of the entire United States of America. Here, the nation celebrates, honors, and demonstrates its commitment to democracy.

The Mall stretches 2.2 miles from the grounds of the United States (U.S.) Capitol west to the Potomac River, and from the Tidal Basin north to Constitution Avenue. It is home to the great symbols of our country—national icons such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. It also includes memorials to the veterans of Vietnam, the Korean War, and World War II, as well as lesser-known memorials to American heroes, such as the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, George Mason, and John Paul Jones. The National Mall also boasts beautiful open spaces such as the Tidal Basin, where the blossoming of thousands of cherry trees heralds spring.

Over 25 million people visit the Mall each year with 60% arriving by public transport and traversing the park on foot.

Site navigation by pedestrians in urban national parks in general is a long-standing problem. For example, at the National Mall, visitors emerging from a Washington Metro subway station into bright sunlight first must orient themselves before setting off to their destination. Finding lesser-known sites scattered throughout the Mall, such as the John Ericsson Memorial, is a challenge despite the availability of paper maps, wayside exhibits, signs, and other traditional media. The growing popularity of smart mobile devices – devices with GPS, Internet connectivity, touch-screen interfaces, and powerful graphics capabilities – promises a solution to this problem.

Applications are due by 02/12/2009. Looks like the Park Service would like to roll out a final app (free in the iTunes story? they don’t say) by next year in January (2010). Fixed Price contact to the software developer. Get coding!

iPhoto 2009 and Picasa for Mac (Apple and Google)

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Both Apple and Google have released new photo management software this week coinciding with MacWorld in San Francisco. Google unveiled a Mac version of their popular Picasa software but their beta lacks maps and geotagging support found in the current Windows version. Apple, meanwhile, released the 2009 version of iPhoto with extensive support for managing geotagged images from cameras like the iPhone. Geotags are imported and can be edited for photos and seen on a map. Photos can be searched by location (lat longs are turned into human readable placenames such as “Paris, France”). And nifty looking map itineraries can be created in photo books.]

Republished from Apple.

Places

iPhoto helps you explore your travel photos with a new feature called Places. This feature uses data from GPS-enabled cameras or the camera on iPhone to categorize photos by location and convert GPS location tags to common, user-friendly names. So without any effort, pictures you took of the Eiffel Tower are labeled with easily searchable names like “France,” “Paris,” and “Eiffel Tower.”

If you don’t have a GPS-enabled camera or iPhone, you can still make the most of Places. Add locations to your photos by typing the name of a place, entering an address, or dropping a pin on a map. Then, when you want to find photos you shot in New York City or the Grand Canyon, just type the place name in the search field. If you feel like exploring, use the Places column browser to navigate your photos by clicking a country, state, city, or point of interest.

Travel Maps

If you’re an iPhoto fan, you already know how fun and easy it is to create professionally printed photo books to show off your vacation pictures. iPhoto ’09 makes your travel books even more special with custom maps that illustrate your journey. iPhoto uses the location data from your photos to generate a beautifully rendered map showing the countries and cities you visited. Or you can type in the names of places you’ve visited to create a travel map in any photo book theme. Every map is fully customizable. Show a point-to-point path of your travels, change the order of the cities, and mark points of interest. Learn more about iPhoto print products

Two new iPhone apps: USA Today and AccuWeather (MacNN)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

[Editor's note: Two new free mass media apps for the iPhone this week from USA Today and Accuweather.]

Republished from MacNN (1 | 2).

USA Today

USA Today is joining other publications in producing its owndedicated iPhone app, the national newspaper has announced. The app attempts to replicate the look of the paper, and provides access to stories, photos, weather forecasts and reader polls. Stories are divided into News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech and Travel categories; articles can be shared with other people via e-mail, Twitter or text messaging.

Sports figures can also be viewed through a separate tab, and as with AccuWeather’s app, people can access GPS-based weather forecasts when using an iPhone. The Pictures tab presents a gallery of images from each section of the paper, and again allows people to share content with others, though only via e-mail. The USA Today app is a free download from the App Store, but supported by advertising.

AccuWeather premieres GPS-enabled iPhone app

Weather forecaster AccuWeather has released its first, self-named application for the iPhone. As with most weather apps the software concentrates on providing a five-day forecast, with highs and lows as well as cloud conditions. The AccuWeather app is tied into the iPhone’s GPS receiver however, and uses this to automatically determine which forecasts to show.

Current conditions can be viewed in the form of text or radar and satellite views, and users also have access to health information such as air quality, UV levels and flu prevalence. Graphs present the probability of bad weather for the next eight hours, and a video library provides summaries of both weather news and forecasts. The app lastly permits setting Weather Alarms, which warn users whenever levels of fog, rain, snow, ice, wind or lightning reach a certain threshold. AccuWeather is a free download from the App Store.