More location iStuff

So Sue has the iPhone 3G and I was FINALLY able to upgrade the iPod Touch to the 2.0 firmware. I am quite happy with the number of times that the devices have asked to use the location settings. The camera and maps are the two Apple apps that use the location info and I have downloaded most of the location aware apps…at least the free ones…so far. Many people have been hating on the lack of telenav-like turn by turn directions, but with the Google routes through the Map app and your current position blinking on screen it is great for areas you now well enough, though a dash mounting will be good if you don’t have a person in the passenger seat to convey the directions. While I am editing a quick video run through of the iPhone location capabilities for VSTV Episode 35 we haven’t had a chance to do a side-by-side with Frank’s Windows Mobile based phone like I had hoped. Click through the break to see a few screen grabs from some of the iPhone location apps.
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GPS talk on MacBreak Weekly

MacBreakSince this is becoming so common I will probably not highlight individual podcasts talking about GPS/LBS after this but MacBreak Weekly Episode 87 had a great discussion on the utility, usability and future on in-car navigation. The discussion wandered around a users perspective of GPS, LBS, and geotagging. Yes I am a fanboy, but that you should definitely take a listen.

GPS on the iPhone…really?

The rumor mill has kicked in for the 2nd Gen (3G) iPhone that seems to be just on the horizon. The rumors include the addition of a GPS receiver in the new phone. This is a bit curious since there is such a great location based technology in the existing firmware with the wifi location with Skyhook and cellular location from Google. While there are situations in which you may want higher res location than is currently available I am not sure the power drain that a GPS chip would add is worth it. That seemed to be one of the big detriments of the N95, the battery issues associated with the GPS (though I haven’t had the chance the test it myself). Why not just make it possible to connect to a Bluetooth GPS unit? There is already a bluetooth antenna on the phone. We will have to wait a month or so to find out what reality will be, but it is a curious turn.

The second-gen iPhone: 3G, GPS, only slightly thicker – Engadget

Can Cell Phones Predict Traffic?

That’s the question Nokia set out to find the answer to yesterday. They equipped 100 students with GPS and software equipped Nokia phones and had them drive a 10 mile stretch of road all day. The data was sent back to a central server to analysis traffic patterns. Nokia hopes to be able to create a system to allow their users to use their phones to help travel through traffic patterns more effectively. Hopefully Nokia publishes anything that’s non-proprietary because I would be interested in seeing their results.

Nav N Go’s 3D GPS mapping software in action

MobileMag links to a short YouTube video of Nav N Go’s 3D GPS software in action, which is being made available to manufacturers for use in devices that will be sold in the US. The software has its owns graphics engine, shows terrain, road elevation, and buildings, and can show over 10 miles in one view. Nav N Go software has been available on devices in Europe, including personal navigation devices like the Mio C620 and will be included on Sony PSP handheld gaming devices sold in Europe beginning in March.

According to Nav N Go’s press release for CES,Ingram Micro will be launching a version of their new V7 Portable Navigation Devices that will include Nav N Go iGO 8 and HP will have the software on its iPAQ Travel Companion. No word yet on whether Nav N Go software will make the move to in-car navigation devices, although I have to say that could get pretty distracting watching the lovely virtual 3D landscape while you’re supposed to be driving through the actual 3D landscape.

Wednesday CES Round-up

The toys that are rolling out are diminishing in number, but there is still one more day to go. Here are the bits that were covered today.

GPS

  • Delphi’s dual-view GPS – Driver sees GPS passenger sees…something else
  • Avis is upgrading their navigation systems
  • iRiver’s M20 GPS/PMP – iRiver’s last foray into LBS was their w10 which used Loki for location, the M20 will sport GPS
  • Visualization

  • NEC announces another giant monitor that is basically the same as Alienware’s
  • Solar Headaches to Come

    National Geographic is reporting that we can expect a season of intense solar flares for the next few weeks and months. This is all part of a normal 11 year cycle in solar flare activity, but it can lead to some distinct headaches in our tech heavy world. As the article notes, this is the first cycle where GPS is widespread – and GPS is one of the systems most easily affected by solar flares. It will be interesting to see how much impact these flares have on our day to day lives, particularly in the geospatial community. So, for the next few weeks/months, if you’re doing GPS field work, you might want to bring a book!