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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Apple Buys Navigation Company, Signs with TomTom Anyway

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Apple is one of those huge corporations that, whenever it does anything, it’s all over the news. Recently, the technology behemoth purchased a small navigation startup by the name of Coherent Navigation, and the internet exploded with theories as to why. With the dismal state of Apple Maps, I can’t say that I found the move particularly surprising or even all that noteworthy. I hadn’t even heard of Coherent Navigation until Apple purchased them.

After doing a bit of research (mostly out of curiosity because it kept popping up in my news feed) this little GPS company apparently was pretty small, based on the coast and mostly handled navigation and location research projects funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. Pretty cool, but again, nothing super noteworthy. The company’s primary claim to fame was its work on High-Integrity GPS or “iGPS” which is meant to help improve GPS reliability. Which, if you’ve ever looked at Apple Maps, then you know Apple certainly is interested in. read more

GPS eReader Book Alters Story to Your Location

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Reading is a wonderful pastime that can transport any book lover to any number of exciting, distant or exotic locations. But, what if you had a story that was tailored to your backyard? The characters could meet at a local restaurant or have the exciting chase down main street. Well, a Brazilian travel company has done just that with a new eBook called Trip Book. It’s taking GPS to a whole new level, and I, for one, think it looks pretty cool. read more

TomTom Introduces New MyDrive

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While GPS devices are incredibly useful for finding your way around while behind the wheel, programming them can sometimes be a chore. There’s nothing worse than having to finger-peck out a long address, hunched awkwardly over the wheel as you jab a finger at the touchscreen. But, we all do it—it’s one of those necessary evils of using a GPS device, it seems. Well, TomTom begs to differ.

This week, the Dutch navigation and telematics company has introduced a new website and app duo that will allow users to prepare routes, search locations and view realtime traffic information from a computer or smartphone. Then, when you’re ready to go, you can simply send the information to your TomTom, get in the car and drive. It’s absolutely genius, and the best part is that it’s free. read more

Use GPS to Discover Local Art

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GPS has been used for a lot of really cool things over the years, but this idea has to be, by far, one of my favorites. Imagine this: you’re walking along through the park, when you see a beautiful memorial statue sitting under some shady trees. In your pocket, your phone buzzes and you pull it out to discover a poem written about that very statue by one of the many local poets in the area.

While you read the poem, you are surrounded by the exact same scenery and imagery that inspired the rhyme on your device. It’s almost like the poet is standing right next to you. Now imagine that you can do the same with messages, music, photography—-the sky is the limit. You can connect almost anything to a GPS coordinate to create your own puzzles, messages and secrets right in the open. It’s genius, and you can do it right now. read more

Pinit App Combines GPS With Social Media

 

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There is something about photos of vacations that just stirs the mind and always brings a smile to my face with each captured memory. While there are plenty of ways to share these moments with friends and family, most traditional social media is so cluttered with junk—be it videos of cats, quizzes, games or other distractions—that such important moments tend to get lost. However, UK teen Tyler Ball is looking to change the way that people share their travels and photos with his new app Pinit.

Created to act almost like a digital travel diary, Pinit allows users to geotag photos and place a ‘pin’ on a location connected to a photo or status, and a memory. Over time, users can create their own world maps with pins showing all of the places they have visited. Friends and families can follow each other and comment an even ‘like’ photos and statuses. read more

Smart Tracker Blows Through Crowdfunding Goal

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I am always a little hesitant to write about anything that gets funded through Indiegogo, as the site is slightly less reputable than Kickstarter. And while all tech startups are a little risky, ones on Indiegogo seem to be even more so. However, all of that aside, today I discovered this cool little GPS tracker that does, well, everything. The flex funding campaign gives me a bit of pause, but with more than three weeks left in the campaign, it has already surpassed its goal and is barreling towards the stretch goals.

The Smart Tracker, honestly, almost sounds too good to be true. With an expected delivery date of August of this year, the device costs around $180 on Indiegogo (there are still some Early Birds left for $130), and I wouldn’t be surprised for it to cost quite a bit more once the campaign ends. However, in the world of GPS trackers, a sub-$200 device really is pretty cheap. read more

Game Golf Launches Free GPS Tracking App

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In the world of golfing, GPS can play an integral role to better understanding the game and improving with every swing. While there is no shortage of expensive wearables for golfers to choose from, sometimes it can be hard for casual players to justify the additional expense. Well, GPS GOLF announced a new free GPS GOLF Tracking App today that will give players a glimpse of how GPS can help better improve their game.

“If you don’t truly understand your game it’s hard to improve. The free GAME GOLF Tracking App allows golfers to see their shot performance in real-time, something which many amateur golfers will never have had access to before,”John McGuire, CEO of GAME GOLF said in a statement. “Further, it affords everyone access to the GAME GOLF platform to gather stats, collect data and share their game with friends, family, coaches and instructors.” read more

See History through GPS and Augmented Reality

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Imagine walking down a boulevard on your vacation or even in your home town. You see a building with a sign saying it was built in the 1800s, so you pull out your smartphone, launch an app and point the screen at the building. Instead of the building infront of you, you see a photograph of the street and the building facade, showing what it looked like 75 years ago along with historical information on the building. Well, with the app Pivot, that’s exactly what you’ll be able to do.

Using GPS and augmented reality, Pivot is designed to act almost like a time capsule, allowing users to peer into the past and learn significant and interesting facts about historical locations. Using geotagged images and GPS technology, the app will allow users to pull up images of sites and allow users to peek into the past. This isn’t the first app to do this, but it’s still a cool idea and a neat way to use GPS technology. read more

TomTom GO Mobile Launched for Android

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While no one can deny that dedicated GPS devices are more reliable when it comes to directions and navigation, smartphones are just so convenient many consumers have a hard time justifying the additional expense on a separate device. Well, in order to stay on top of consumer trends, TomTom announced earlier this week that it was debuting a new mobile app for consumers to replace the old TomTom Navigation App.

This new app is called TomTom GO Mobile and like the old TomTom Navigation app, includes almost exactly the same features as you would find on a dedicated TomTom device including traffic, points of interest, offline maps, 3D imaging, quick searches and more. The app is free to download on Google Play but an iTunes version has not been released. The app is available in a range of countries. read more

GPS App Helps Those in Need

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Smartphones aren’t just for Instagram and bird-related games. A smartphone app creator in Philadelphia wants to encourage you to use your device for micro-philanthropy to help the needy. And, all it requires is the push of a button.

This week, the app Donafy–a play on the words ‘donate’ and ‘notify’–debuts on iTunes for the Philly area. Created by a tax attorney in the city who wanted to give people an easier way to help the needy and those on the street, Donafy is meant to make doing your part to help as simple as pressing a button. read more