Sunday, March 18, 2012

New GPS Map Emphasizes Walking Directions, Mobility

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Whether you’re walking, hiking, cycling, or driving, GPS directions are incredibly useful for finding your way around. However, as anyone who has ever used a GPS knows, it is far from 100% accurate, although directions are getting better and better each year. One thing that hasn’t seemed to see a lot of improvement, however, is pedestrian directions.

Sure, there are plenty of GPS devices which claim to offer pedestrian-specific directions, and even Google Maps has this functionality… but it’s far from perfect and many times things like curb cuts, sidewalk interruptions, and ramps are often not taken into account. However, a Seattle-based company is looking to change that with the new program AccessMaps. read more

GPS Safety App Offers Alternative to Tracker

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There are tons of GPS trackers on the market designed to help keep loved ones safe whenever they are out on their travels. Most of these involve actually clipping something to a bag or carrying something in a pocket. But, if you’re anything like me, those things are easy to lose or forget about the moment that you take it out to charge it. However, a new company has aimed to solve this problem.

Virtual Halo is an app designed for iPhone and Apple Watch users, and it takes advantage of the device’s GPS functions to help users feel just a little bit safer. Unlike some other apps, this particular app does not broadcast your location continuously but rather sends a snapshot to selected contacts, which adds a little more privacy than a traditional tracker. read more

TomTom Sports App to Debut on Apple, Android Devices

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For athletes, there are dozens of apps that provide a wide range of statistics and ways to measure your performance in whatever sport you choose. But, sometimes, all of that data can be hard to process and each app has something that it does well. If you’re into more than one sport, this can result in athletes trying to monitor and compare multiple apps across platforms for all the different activities that they engage in. Now, TomTom has introduced a solution.

The new TomTom Sports App, co-created with several athletes and fitness app users, is designed to help athletes not only track their workouts and data, but do it all in one place. The app can handle 12 different activities and offers various social sharing functions, smart trends, and easy-to-understand performance stats. read more

New GPS App Shows Geological Points of Interest Along Route

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Geology is one of those sciences that either you love it, or you don’t. Most people who aren’t geology nerds haven’t really studied it much past a high school science class or, at best, a 101 gen ed course in college. I know that I certainly haven’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that geology is a rather fascinating subject. I like it so much in fact, that I always try and include a geology section on the weekly news roundup here at GPS Tracklog.

So, for anyone who is like me and has the habit of peering out the window on a flight or road trip and wondering, the app Flyover Country is going to become your new best friend. This app, created by the University of Minnesota Department of Earth Sciences and funded by the National Science Foundation, allows users to download a track and then use GPS to learn about interesting geological and fossil sites on a hike, road trip, or even flight. read more

Google Maps May Be Adding Speed Limits

 

The above image was posted on Reddit in September

The above image was posted on Reddit in September

Since the advent of the smartphone, the GPS market has been fighting an uphill battle to prove to consumers that smartphones really can’t do everything. While standalone GPS devices are a bit more expensive, there are still some things that they do better than the almighty smartphone including signal reliability and better directions. But, it looks like that list might be getting shorter by the day.

Last month, several Google Maps users reported seeing speed limit indicators in the bottom corner of the Google Maps app. Waze, which Google purchased fairly recently, already had this capability so it’s not a huge surprise, but it is definitely worthy of note. read more

Pokémon Go Increases General Public’s Spoofing Knowledge

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Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where players go to actual locations (museums, stores, churches) using GPS to capture Pokemon and visit PokéStops. Originally designed to get you out of the house while you hunt, encouraging both socializing and exercising, days into the release of Pokemon Go players had already discovered a way to cheat.

It’s really just the basic spoofing concept—making an electronic think that it is somewhere other than its real physical location. We are no strangers to the idea of spoofing, and by tricking their phones GPS to think it was somewhere they weren’t, the game got a lot easier. Most spoofers don’t even have to leave the house—eventually your phone thinks it’s walking when it’s not. read more

Could Pokemon Become The Next Big GPS Game?

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Could 2016 be the year Pokemon dominates the geolocation game space? If Nintendo have their way, it very well could be.

Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have teamed up with Niantic Inc to announce that they intend to release the first Pokemon Geolocation game next year.  Called Pokemon Go, the game will be available free of charge for Android and iPhone mobile devices, although Nintendo does warn that there will be the dreaded in-app transactions.

The Pokemon franchise began life as a videogame for the Ninetendo Game Boy back in 1996 and has since spawned a number of sequels, comic books and movies.  However the Pokemon Go augmented reality app would be a new departure for the franchise. read more

Offline GPS App Provides Walking Directions

 

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There are a lot of different choices for GPS apps if you’re looking for navigation on the highway. From Google Maps to Waze or even some of the more expensive applications like Sygic Navigation. However, while these apps all have their own pros and cons, most of them don’t offer a lot in the way of street navigation and all of them use your phone’s data.

I know I have talked about the fantastic little app MAPS.ME before as it’s my current favorite mapping program for those moments when I’m out and about with friends or family and don’t have my GPS on me. The app is free to download and provides some pretty good maps powered by OpenStreetMap and my phone’s admittedly not the greatest GPS. However, it looks like MAPS.ME recently got a huge upgrade in the form of walking directions. read more

Make Art with Your Phone’s GPS

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Smartphone GPS really isn’t all that great at anything. In a pinch, it can get you from Point A to Point B but I wouldn’t recommend relying on it for anything major. You never know when your phone is suddenly going to lose signal, battery or both. However, there is one cool thing that you can do with your phone’s GPS, and that’s GPS art. read more

Sygic Expands App Capabilities With Update

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Despite the fact that dedicated GPS units tend to outperform smartphones as far as actual GPS signals go, a majority of people utilize some form of smartphone GPS application instead of a dedicated unit. I can’t deny it’s more convenient, at the very least, as most people won’t leave the house with a smartphone in hand. But, if you’re using your smartphone for directions, then you have the conundrum of which GPS app to use and you haven’t got any shortage of choices.

One of the companies that we don’t talk about all that much is Sygic. Unlike the more common free alternatives, Sygic is both more expensive and arguably more accurate. Powered by TomTom maps, Sygic offers an experience that is more akin to a dedicated GPS unit than a smartphone. Recently the company added a slew of features that might just be enough for you Google Maps users to sit up and take notice. read more