The first bit of GPS news out of CES this year has Magellan releasing the Maestro 5340 which will include GPRS for cell network connectivity. This network connectivity will be used to connect to…you guessed it…Google search and data services. At almost $1300 for the unit it will not be for small of purse, and don’t forget the charge for the GPRS connection.
Engadget is reporting a pretty cool device that projects navigation information on your windshield. The navigation is really nothing more than a red line indicating which direction you should travel. The nice thing is that it places the line into your real world context, plus it doesn’t require the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. The company that makes the product, Making Virtual Solid, says it can be implemented for around $400. No working demos quite yet, but hopefully there’s something available in the coming year. It’s a pretty cool idea if they can get it implemented!
If you took a look at the sales flyers in the newspapers for the Black Friday sales you have seen that this is apparently the year of in-car navigation devices. Every sales flyer from Best Buy to Walgreens had at least one device on sale with many of the stores offering multiple devices at great prices. A few of the manufacturers I remember seeing include Tom Tom, Mio, and Magellan and of course there were plenty that weren’t named as well. Either way this a great trend and hopefully lead to some of the navigation technologies from Asia making their way to the West.
Nokia is taking an interesting twist with their acquisition of Navteq – they want to focus on pedestrians. At a time when people are working hand over fist to get money into in-car navigation systems, Nokia apparently sees a hole in the market. Clearly Nokia has a delivery mechanism at hand for this as well. The other interesting twist is that Nokia is expecting it’s customers to help keep the maps up to date. It’s sort of the ultimate consumer level participatory GIS! It will be interesting to follow this to see if Nokia is ultimately successful.
This one definitely gets filed under the “I did not know that” category (a fairly substantial category as you might imagine). Apparently for a few years now the USGS has hosted volunteers through The National Map Corps. By volunteering you receive an area (quad sheet or less) in which you and your trusty GPS unit go out and gather information on commonly mapped features (churches, schools, communications) and send in the information to be included in the National Map. After you have completed the initial data acquisition you are also supposed to send in changes over time (demolition, name change, etc) to help keep the National Map up-to-date. A cool idea that has been echoed more recently in TomTom’s Mapshare and of course the more ambitious OSM. If you like to spend time with your GPS unit you should look into the TNMC.
In my recent stumbles around the web I came across an extensive set of forums on geocaching over at the Groundspeak Forums. On the site (which is related to geocaching.com) there are plenty of topics to choose from including geocaching groups from several countries, geocaching adventures, GPS in education and even an online GPS garage sale. So if you are looking for a GPS adventure head over to the forums to find out what is happening.
For the first time Frank’s choice of Sprint may actually be a good thing. The mobile phone provider is rolling out Live Search for their phones which is now location-based. Apparently this isn’t an exclusive deal with Sprint and Microsoft, but Sprint is the first to implement the technology which isn’t GPS-based so it should be usable on most phones. The article says it is done with cell tower triangulation, but I am wondering if it can also take advantage of GPS/aGPS to enhance location accuracy. At the same time, you don’t need an exact location since you are simply doing a search for results that are spatially relevant, not a search for where you are. Either way we will let you know if they implemented it locally on this week’s podcast after Frank tries it out.
Engadget is reporting the breaking news that NYC cabbies have officially gone on strike over GPS units in their cabs. We mentioned this item briefly in the past as the cab drivers have been threatening to strike for a couple of months now. I think this is one of the first large scale protesting of geospatial technologies I’ve heard about. This event could set a precedence for future location based disagreements and legal issues.
Yes, that is right. A British designer, Gail Knight, has invented rings with embedded GPS that vibrates to help its wearer find their way in unfamiliar places. While stylish, they come in a pair, and you have to wear one on each hand, as well as a device controller (either around your neck or clipped on). The left or right rings buzz for turns, with a separate buzz for forward or back. When you’re going the wrong way, they both buzz to let you know.
No word on whether Gail has any plans to create a consumer version, so for now I guess we will all have to stick with our less-stylish paper maps, GPS receivers, smart phones, etc.
Via BBC News
The US and EU are working out an agreement (that may be signed as early as this week) to allow both US GPS and EU Galileo satellites to send data on the same frequency, meaning that receivers would be able to get signals from both systems. In theory, this would potentially double the number of visible satellites for a receiver equipped to handle both GPS and Galileo data streams. Although the Galileo system won’t be operational until at least 2012, the agreement will likely be an impetus for manufacturers of receivers to begin to look at the production of devices that could utilize data from both systems.
Via Yahoo! News