Score one for old maps. An Australian author named Peter Trickett has discovered a map that pretty well proves Australia was discovered around 1520, which is way before James Cook stumbled upon the place. This was the most interesting quote, I thought: “It was even so accurate that I found I could draw in the modern airport runways, to scale in the right place, without any problem at all,”
While taking a break at the Dev Summit, I was catching up on tech news and noticed that yesterday AT&T launched their new GPS-based workforce management service, TeleNav Track, which is provided by TeleNav, but sold through AT&T. The service allows companies to track employee vehicle locations, mileage, send tasks and alerts to employees in the field and gives turn-by-turn GPS directions. So, now The Man can always know where you are, even if they can only guess what you’re doing there.
An Itilian company is working on a field test of a navigation system for the blind that is based on a Symbian based cell phone, a bluetooth GPS, and a text to speech software. Seems pretty interesting. The BBC has more details.
What with all the tech shows going on, new LBS and mobile hardware and software is just coming out out of the woodwork. One device that isn’t out yet promises to take away some of the hassle (and danger) of staring at your GPS in-car nav system by projecting the navigation information, as well as speedometer info, as a Heads Up Display (HUD) on the car’s windshield. Manufactured by GlobalTop, a Taiwanese GPS company, it is scheduled to debut at CeBIT, the world’s largest computer expo held each spring in Germany.
A recent Gold Prize winner at the International Design Competition is the Dandella, a lovely and simple GPS tracking device shaped like a flower stem. Once it is set up with locations, you just activate the Dandella and it lights up and points in the direction you need to go, or points to another Dandella if you’ve synced them up. The name Dandella apparently means “dandelion floating on the breeze” and the docking station is shaped like a flower vase to continue the floral theme.
All I know is….I want one. But, unfortunately, they are still only a design concept at this point, and no word on when or if they will make it to the consumer market.
Believe it or not, Google Earth isn’t just for finding your house. The BBC is reporting that Iraqis in Baghdad are using Google Earth mashups to plan escape routes to avoid sectarian violence in Iraq. The site has loads of information about how to avoid getting captured in the violence, not just the map. However it is interesting to see these new tools used in life saving ways.
Field and Stream has this rather whimsical little quiz about survival in the wild. You are the world’s unluckiest hunter, lost and alone in the woods with little supplies or equipment. Can you survive? There are some tough wilderness questions in there, so give it your best…
Unfortunately, I was confronted with my two worst things – orienteering, which I can’t do, and snakes, which I can’t stand. Apparently I am pretty good at building fires though! I got an 8 out of 18, so the wild isn’t my best local for survival. That’s why I carry the moniker “Virtual Explorer”. Give me a mouse and keyboard and I’m good to go!
It appears that in general there is a new device type that is running on Windows CE that is built for media. Sandisk’s SansaÃ‚Â® View features a 4 inch screen and a replacable LiPoly battery for those long flights.
The more interesting device though might be the iRiver W10 which has a 3.5″ screen, but also includes positioning based on Loki technology. While this means it is really only usable in urban areas, if it has bluetooth, you can augment the positioning when you are on the road. Engadget has pictures of the W10. Hopefully the iPhone will give the Loki developers a reason to get the Mac version of the toolbar up and running before Where 2.0.
I am sure that I am finding this late, but it is always good for sites to get a second ripple through the blogs. I just stumbled across groovr (I am beginning to miss ‘e’s) which is a social networking site that is SMS based. Once you register you send a text message to groovr which, depending on what you send, allows to tell your friends where you are, create new places in the groovr database, make comments on where you are. This is not an location based project, instead it relies on groovr’s database of locations (you can search those on the website) and there are definitely more in the US than elsewhere, this is only limited by the number of people using the service. This is a great idea if you are trying to find someone on a Saturday night or, when I am more likely to use it, to catch up with friends at a conference when everyone has different schedules. Do keep in mind that your cell service provider charges for text messages