Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS Wish List

The items presented here may not rear their head in 2007, though they aren’t so far fetched as to be out of the question. In addition to features listed in yesterday’s 2007 GPS predictions post, my wish list includes:

Personal locator beacon

A personal locator beacon could become a very popular feature for handheld (or even auto) GPS
receivers, with many a worried spouse ready to shell out big bucks for it.

Voice commands

Voice recognition has made major advances in the past couple of years, but the auto environment is inherently noisy, with extraneous sounds coming from the
exterior and interior (music, audio books and conversation). Pioneer and others are trying this out, but don’t look for mass adoption yet.

Ambient light awareness

I love my nuvi 660, but it has two automatic light levels — day and night — that switch at sunrise and sunset. But when I’m driving in the redwoods, or it’s an overcast day, it’s just too bright. I dunno; maybe light sensors are too bulky, power hungry or costly to be integrated into GPS receivers.

Nuvi customization

Some people have complained about the nuvi’s dumbed down interface. Why not give us a couple of modes, “easy” and “advanced?”

3–way Bluetooth

The internal microphones on GPS units equipped with Bluetooth
are problematic, leading to terrible voice quality. I’d love to be able to dial via my GPS, but have calls routed to my Bluetooth headset. 3–way Bluetooth may not be possible but I wonder if a “drop call to headset” button could be configured.

Personal information manager

The likely approach here is to include Outlook, and the nuvi
670 and 680
may offer this in some manner via SPOT. The problem is that for true integration of Outlook, GPS manufacturers will have to embrace a Windows operating system. The market hasn’t been kind to PDA’s, but perhaps we’ll see these systems rear their head in another form factor.

Building a better cyclometer

I’d love to see the Edge’s
cycling features in an eTrex-sized mapping GPS that incorporates the SiRFstar III chipset.

Transparent maps

Why can’t we overlay contour lines on highway maps? I don’t see any major technical obstacles to this. I suppose memory and slower loading are minor hurdles, but I expect we haven’t seen this because the outdoor market is secondary for GPS manufacturers, who are making the bulk of their money on the auto market.

Shapefiles

For those of us who have gone off the GPS / mapping deep end, there’s no reason Garmin (and others) can’t make it easier for us to use shapefiles directly, rather than having to convert them to tracks.

Point your GPS to learn more

Hmm, this technology does appear to be moving forward, but I would be surprised to see
it in 2007.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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