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Sunday, March 18, 2012

iOS 8.4 Released, Some GPS Issues Continue

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A surprising amount of people use iPhones, iPads or other Apple devices for some form of navigation. Pilots in particular have been known to use iPads to help decode complex aeronautical navigation charts so when the iOS 8.3 update caused a problem with GPS, it was a huge problem. Apple insisted that the next update, iOS 8.4, would fix the problem and it seems like the issue has indeed been lessened. However, it looks like some problems are still occurring with GPS signals on select Apple products.

According to user complaints on Apple forums, many iOS devices are having trouble locking on to GPS and holding on to the signal. The issue mostly seems to be effecting iPhones, but a few users have reported issues with iPads as well. However, it’s not widespread or immediately apparent why some have issues while others don’t. GPS company Bad Elf gave its customers the all-clear a few days ago to upgrade, claiming that compatibility tests went just fine, but a lot of users have been reporting that GPS apps no longer function properly. read more

Garmin Updates Pilot App for Android

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Garmin has a number of different markets for its GPS technology and one that we don’t really talk about all that often is aviation. In addition to the recent announcement of Garmin’s new aviator watch, Garmin has also updated its Garmin Pilot app recently. Available to both Android and iOS, the Android version recently gained a few additional features including obstacle and terrain information, simulator support and new upgrade options.

Because I don’t actually think very many of you really utilize this specific GPS market, I’m not going to go too much into the details of the update. However, here are some of the more significant upgrades and updates for the program: read more

Get Directions from the Terminator with Waze

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I don’t like Waze. In fact, I’m not a huge fan of navigating with my smartphone at all and I wouldn’t normally even think about suggesting it to anyone. But, I mean, you read the headline, right? Who doesn’t want to get directions from Schwarzenegger in his most famous role as a robot assassin from the future? I mean, I don’t think even I could say no to that.

Here’s a peek of what it sounds like to have the Terminator as your guide: read more

Chimani App to Help Navigate National Parks

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The National Parks are one of our nation’s treasures; the last few bastions of real wilderness tucked away and protected so that anyone can go and enjoy the sunshine and the exquisite beauty of nature. This week I discovered an app that is designed to make exploring national parks a more enjoyable experience. Called Chimani, this free app is actually geared first and foremost towards GPS navigation but also looks like it has tons of useful features that will be far more helpful.

I’m sure it shocks absolutely no one that I’m going to recommend that you mostly ignore the GPS function of this app and instead use a handheld GPS unit of some sort. Not only will it save the battery on your phone, but it’s probably going to be a bit more accurate.

However, the Chimani app does far more than just navigate and will provide plenty of information about the national park including camping grounds, facilities, bike rentals, shuttle times, sunrise and sunset, high and low tide, and more. read more

8 GPS Features Smartphones Can’t Match

 

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As smartphones become better at, well, everything, a lot of people are starting to shift away from dedicated GPS units in favor of smartphones for navigation. And, while both have maps and routing and both can lead you in circles at the drop of a hat (although personally I’d trust a GPS over a smartphone any day), there are some smaller things that a lot of GPS units offer which smartphones simply can’t match.

It is worth noting that not every GPS unit will have all of these things, but most of them are pretty standard on newer units. read more

Google Maps to Allow Offline Routing, Navigation

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I know that for most of you, smartphones are never going to replace GPS. And honestly, I can’t blame you. However, at Google’s latest I/O conference today, the search and technology giant announced an upcoming improvement to its Maps program that takes away one of the biggest pitfalls of smartphone navigation: connectivity. read more

Garmin Removes Viago App With No Fanfare

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Do you remember the Garmin Viago app? Unless you were one of the several thousand people who downloaded it, I am going to guess probably not. We covered its release in June, but I admit after the article was published, I never really gave it a second thought. And as it turns out, I’m not the only one who wasn’t very impressed with the app.

Immediately after launch, the app had poor reviews on both Google Play and iTunes and now, eight months later, Garmin has officially and quietly shuttered the program. The Viago launch page currently features a message that the app is no longer available for download although all the rest of the PR marketing material is still there to read through, strangely enough. I’m not sure when, exactly, this happened (as I wasn’t using the app) but Android Police claims it was earlier this year. read more

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