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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Find Your Way With Smart Shoes

The Lechal shoes (shown above) give directions using haptic feedback

The Lechal shoes (shown above) give directions using haptic feedback

While Smartshoes are not a new idea–we have actually written an article about tech-savvy shoes before–they are generally aimed at the very young, the very old or the disabled. But now, a start up company in India is intent to change of all that with the Lechal.

Meaning “Take Me Along” in Hindi, the Lechal shoes are quite eye-catching. But that isn’t all they do. Those bright red shoes can also give you directions using a combination of Google Maps and haptic feedback. The makers of the shoe, Krisipan Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma, say that the ‘smartshoes’ change the process finding your way around from a complicated affair involving staring at a tiny screen or trying to read instructions to an instinctive, fun process. read more

New App Uses GPS to Save Lives

The first few minutes in an emergency are crucial and sometimes ambulances and emergency personnel just can’t get there in time. But, if you live in a city, the chances are you are never more than 500 feet from someone who could help and maybe even save your life during an emergency.

That’s the concept behind a new GPS-enabled smartphone app, GoodSAM (or Good Smartphone Activated Medics). It’s currently available for both iOS and Android. There are actually two different apps for this program: one for responders and one for everyone else. read more

Hiking App Helps Locate Most Beautiful Spots

Stand Here

Stand Here photo

As you reach the top of the hill, you see the sun turn the leaves of the trees to tiny emeralds. The filtered light illuminates the cool waterfall ahead with the magnificent warm-colored stones worn smooth from the water and for a moment, your breath catches as you gaze at this perfect spot. There is nothing quite like the natural beauty of the wilderness, and such sights are the reason and reward for many hikers who explore the wild areas of the world. While sometimes the best views are found by accident, others are not.

Introducing the Stand Here app, a hiking companion app designed to help hikers find and protect the most fantastic spots in the world. Available only on iTunes, the app is free and includes a number of functions to help hikers find their ways to the most wondrous spots in the U.S. and track their way safely back. Created by acclaimed photographer Rodney Lough Jr., the app has been about six years in the making  and was released on August 8, 2014.

“The goal is to identify beautiful places, help educate people on why they are special and get people to stop and stand there. To have that moment of awe that takes your breath away,” Lough said. “Then we can understand why we need to protect these places.”

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GPS Tracking App Helps Veterans

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In the wake of social GPS apps like Tinder and Grindr, two veterans have created an app designed to help veterans locate and contact other veterans they served with or veterans simply in the same area. Dubbed Position Report or POS REP for short, the app is designed to prevent returning veterans from feeling alone and without resources. The app is available for iPhone with Android support coming soon. There are no plans for a desktop version. In addition, the app is restricted to veterans–not veteran supporters or civilians. read more

Hertz Launches NeverLost Companion App

hnc_companion02Hertz and Navigation Solutions have announced the launch of an app to complement their NeverLost GPS Navigation System. The new app, NeverLost Companion, is a travel app designed to seamlessly integrate with their GPS systems and provide travel information and POIs and events or more than 40 cities in the U.S.

The app is run through your Android or iOS smartphone. When you open the app, you can pick a city and then browse through popular locations, local events, sports venues, parks, neighborhood details, tour information and more. You can share your trip with Facebook/Twitter integration and save your favorite locations and cities to get back to them quickly when you travel. Once you have discovered new places, you can then sync the app to your Hertz NeverLost GPS Navigation System and get instant directions there. read more

Foursquare Tracks Your GPS Location Constantly

foursquareGPS apps use location data in a wide variety of ways—from helping you connect with friends to remembering where you parked your car. As these sorts of apps have become more and more common, the general public has started to be a little more wary of who is able to keep track of their exact GPS coordinates. Foursquare, the popular app that allows users to find new places in their cities by leaving and reading reviews. This, of course, means that foursquare has to keep track of where you are so it can leave a note on the map for other users. Now, with a new update, Foursquare not only keeps track of where you are while in the app—it tracks your location even when the app is closed.

For example, if you frequent a sushi place in your hometown, Foursquare will store that information and when you travel, it will send push notifications letting you know about good sushi places in new towns when you travel. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? I mean, who doesn’t love finding new places? Until you start thinking about it. I mean, we take our phones with us everywhere. That’s a whole lot of potential information that Foursquare has decided to cash in on.  read more

Use GPS To Unlock Secret Messages

TracesIn the digital age, it seems like people have become more and more detached from each other as social media and messaging becomes more and more common. A new app, called Traces, is trying to change that with an immersive messaging system that uses GPS location and augmented reality to force users to get out of the computer chair and go and find messages from friends. Half treasure hunt, half phone messenger, Traces is a really unique and awesome use of GPS technology that I just had to share.

“Facebook and WhatsApp broadcast frequent, out-of-context information that’s of very little value to you, leaving you a completely passive receiver,” said Beau Lotto, CEO of Ripple Inc, based in San Francisco, which created Traces. “Instead of reading tweets in a random location you can choose the location to add context to your delivery,” Lotto said. read more

Affordable App Keeps Hikers Safe On the Trail

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When you are hiking or camping in remote locations the first and most important rule is to let someone know where you will be and when you’ll be back. It’s a good idea to have some sort of distress beacon to send out your GPS coordinates in case the unthinkable happens, but if you are on a budget, those GPS distress signals can take a mighty chunk out of your wallet. So, why not just use your cell phone as a beacon?

The web-based application HikerAlert is designed to do just that. Before you leave for your trip, you can give it some of your information along with your intended travel route and return time. If you don’t check in with HikerAlert after your scheduled return time and date, it will automatically send an email and text message to your listed emergency contacts with all the information they would need to relay to emergency response personnel including GPS location, route and equipment information, etc. read more

New App Takes Some Creepiness Out of Location Sharing

closely_app_iphoneThe idea of being tracked in real time and sharing that information constantly with people is more than a little stalkerish and very creepy. A new Android app called Closely is looking to remove the creepy factor from location sharing and tracking. Created by the German company Familonet, Closely is an app designed for small groups to easily keep in contact with each other and share specific location information using a combination of GPS, Wifi, cell tower triangulation and algorithms to determine location.

Unlike most other apps of this nature, Closely integrates with Facebook to allow you to find your friends easily. Once downloaded, you can send invites to contacts to similarly download the app and create a ‘group.’ The app will only shares information with people in your group and only locations you have set as acceptable via geofencing. So it isn’t going to be tracking you every second and will simply send automatic messages to your group when you enter or leave predetermined areas like school, work or a favorite meeting place. The app also allows for chat and pictures to be shared within the group.

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Sygic Debuts Navigation App With Dash Cam

sygic blackbox

Why pay for an expensive dash camera that will take up yet more space on your dash when you can just use your phone to record accidents and incidents? I certainly can’t think of a reason, and now Sygic GPS Navigation users can do just that with Sygic’s new BlackBox app.

This new add on application uses your phone’s camera as a dash cam and works simultaneously with Sygic GPS Navigation for iOS. The interface for BlackBox is pretty straightforward: You turn on the feature and then mount your phone to a dashboard mount and start driving. The app will record the view from your vehicle in a continuous loop with embedded GPS coordinates, speed, time and date. read more