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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Truckers hitting bridges; Senator wants to regulate GPS

Bridge truck strike

New York Senator Charles Schumer says too many trucks and buses are hitting bridges and that the government should do something about it. He may want to talk to Apple; they seem to be finding out that the mapping business is pretty complicated. Seriously, there are always going to be map errors, but perhaps it should be illegal for truckers and bus drivers to use consumer GPS, as opposed to a device that at least attempts to consider height and other restrictions. read more

Auto GPS FAQs

Here’s a list of posts covering a wide range of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about auto GPS receivers: read more

The state of live traffic reporting in the US

Traffic jamA GpsPasSion forum member has posted an excellent piece on the state of live traffic reporting in the US, with historical background, a look at the various ways traffic is reported, and even a ranking of number of probes for the key players. Google tops the list BTW, thanks to their Android coverage. There are a couple of pieces missing (NAVTEQ sources, iPhone probe data sent back to Apple – and no, I don’t have the answers to those), but overall this is the best summary of its sort I’ve seen. There are a few shoes left to drop – Apple’s predicted mapping solution, the fact that Garmin will soon have a lot of probe data as their mobile apps take off, and (as the article notes) RIMs massive network of probes.

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Motorola MOTONAV TN765t review

MOTONAV TN765t

Hands on with the Motorola MOTONAV TN765t

The Motorola Motonav TN765t has a whopping 5.1” display, voice recognition, Bluetooth, lifetime traffic, text-to-speech, lane guidance, and pre-loaded maps of the US and Canada. I’ll get into the details of many aspects of this feature-laden unit shortly, but first let’s look at how the TN765t differs from other models in the current MOTONAV product line…

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Insignia NS-CNV10 review

Insignia NS-CNV10 review

The Insignia NS-CNV10 is a connected GPS navigator available exclusively from BestBuy. It includes a one year subscription for connectivity which gives you access to Google Local search, live traffic, and gas prices. The CNV10 is a 3.5” model with text-to-speech, so you’ll hear “in one mile, make a left turn on Main Street,” rather than just “in one mile, make a left turn.”

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Insignia GPS first impressions

Insignia_nscnv20_gps

UPDATE: Read my full Insignia NS-CNV10 review.

I've been spending the past few days getting to know the Best Buy Insignia NS-CNV10 GPS. This 3.5" model, like its bigger brother, sports text-to-speech, a cellular connection, Google Local search and no connection fees for the first year. The 4.3" model is pictured above, but except for the phone button (Bluetooth is found only on the NS-CNV20) it gives you a good idea of what it looks like.

The Insignia appears to utilize deCarta's Connected Navigation (CNAV) service. So far, the device has been fairly intuitive and has done a good job of navigation, recalculating quickly whenever necessary. And I love having Google Local search at my fingertips. I also like being offered multiple route options, though it sometimes takes a couple of steps to get to them.

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Dash Express becomes the first GPS to learn your shortcuts

Dash_myroute

Dash Express users will be getting a major software update today, delivered wirelessly of course. There are lots of changes, so we’ll delve right in and start with the most important.

MyRoutes automatically learns your preferred routes

How long have we pined for a GPS smart enough to learn our favorite shortcuts? Well wait no longer boys and girls — the Dash Express gets bragging rights as the first GPS to do this. The MyRoute shortcut is shown in pink in the image above. Some details…

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New Internet content for Dash Express

Dash_express_weather_3

Dash Navigation is announcing today that they are opening their API to third party developers. Bringing Internet-based content to your car, the first five “DashApps” are:

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Dash Express review

Dash_express_review

UPDATES:

I’ve had the Dash Express for over a month now and have been enjoying testing it out. The Dash is a revolutionary new type of GPS navigation device that brings Internet search to your car along with crowdsourced live traffic. The cellular connection built in to every Dash unit sends anonymous location data to Dash servers. This data is then translated to traffic flow speeds that are updated on all Dash units every 15 minutes. If there are enough Dash users on the road in your area, you will receive traffic data superior to that offered by any other GPS device available in North America.

In this review, we’ll look at the Dash service plan, their hardware, interface, how well the crowdsourced traffic feature works, the unit’s Internet search capabilities, and how the Dash Express compares to other GPS navigators in terms of features. I’ll conclude with a list of pros and cons, as well as  a recommendation on who should consider purchasing a Dash Express.

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Dash changes the GPS competitive landscape

Dash_express_front_2

The Dash Express, the hot new GPS featuring two-way connectivity, has caused a paradigm shift in the GPS industry. We have yet to see how broadly the Dash will be accepted, though they seem to have had a strong launch, with high initial shipments according to the sales rankings at Amazon (updated hourly).

There are a couple of key components to two-way connectivity:

  • Internet search – At least two other GPS companies are moving to integrate this into devices in the U.S., as discussed below
  • Crowd-sourced traffic – For now, Dash is the only manufacturer trying to bring us this feature, providing traffic updates via anonymized cell phone data relayed from other Dash users (though there are companies focusing on this technology that other GPS manufacturers could partner with)

While not a benefit of two-way connectivity, Dash’s built-in wifi will also give them the ability to push large map and firmware updates to the units.

Let’s look at the status of other GPS manufacturers as they move (or don’t move) to implement two-way connectivity:

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