Sunday, March 18, 2012

Google Maps Working to Dominate Mapping Industry

Google UpdateGoogle has been in the process of taking over the internet and the mapping business for several years now. A recent presentation by Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google Research in London gave some pretty interesting statistics about the prevalence of Google Maps that might make some GPS companies a little nervous.

According to this spreadsheet, Google map tiles are available for 209 out of 218 countries. For those 9 countries not covered by Google maps, only three do not offer driving directions (Cyprus, Kiribati and North Korea). And, while many dedicated GPS devices have similar map coverage, Google Maps doesn’t require a separate unit and is completely free. And, as of July 17, Google Maps on Android updated to version 8.2 which allows for hands-free voice commands (although they seem a little limited) that many dedicated GPS units enjoy as well as elevation measurements for mapping bike routes. Google also now allows for maps to be saved for offline use, although it does not map routes without a connection. read more

Microsoft Announces Retirement of MapPoint Software


Microsoft has announced that they will be retiring their MapPoint Software, a Windows-only mapping and navigation software developed in 1999. This once-popular mapping program will likely go out with little fanfare, as Google Maps and Bing Maps have pretty much taken over the market of online mapping programs. AutoRoute and Streets & Trips will also be discontinued at the end of this year. According to Microsoft’s farewell page, they will continue online support of these programs until at least July 2015. read more

Endomondo App Syncs with Pebble Watches


Endomondo, the popular social fitness network, has introduced a new smartphone app that syncs with Pebble and helps users meet their fitness goals. This free app from Endomondo allows users to start, pause or stop a workout while exercising and can display up to three configurable data metrics, such as distance traveled, heart rate and workout duration – making it one of the most advanced fitness tracking apps for Pebble.  Additionally, the app vibrates Pebble smartwatches for each mile or kilometer completed, and will briefly display a performance summary. read more

Garmin Pilot Goes Global With New Update

Garmin Pilot

Garmin today announced worldwide coverage of the Garmin Pilot application for iPad and iPhone. The application, available from iTunes, is an excellent app for aviation, providing flight planning capabilities, comprehensive weather information and navigational aids. However, prior to the 6.2 update, it was only available in the U.S.. Garmin has clearly stepped up to the plate and is attempting to make a name for themselves on the international aviation market with this update.

New features include FliteCharts, SafeTaxi airport diagrams, FastFind, Smart Airspace and fully customizable 3D maps of ground, water, terrain and other features necessary (and convenient) for pilots flying in international and overseas airspace. read more

Wherigo Combines GPS with Computer Games

Computer games have become more and more popular over the years, and according to the ESRB, roughly 67% of all households play video games. In fact, video games have become so prolific, it can sometimes be hard to convince the  kids (or even your spouse) to get off the couch and go enjoy the great outdoors–and that’s where Wherigo comes in. read more

New Workforce GPS Tracking App Announced

Electric Compass Tracker Edited

A new GPS tracker app designed to help businesses track their workforce and assets in the field has been released this week. The Electric Compass Tracker will allow employers to see the location of all their workers in the field in real-time, allowing managers and dispatchers to more effectively address field business issues and increase productivity. The app can be used on any Android, Blackberry, iPhone, or iOS device and works with installed vehicle trackers and asset tracking devices also.

This app allows managers to find the closest worker to a location to respond to service calls or sales opportunities; receive alerts for workers speeding, entering or leaving undesignated areas or unauthorized travel; view full GPS history of workers movements and time elapsed; or access worker locations anywhere from a smartphone or tablet. read more

Smart Watches Strive to Replace GPS Watches


GPS sport watches have become quite popular in the last few years, but soon smart watches may replace them for versatility and style. ViewRanger, the popular mapping app for smartphone and tablets, has announced it is compatible with the highly anticipated Android Wear, allowing for more hands-free GPS navigation and tracking with your smartphone and smart watch. The app will be compatible and ready-to-run on smart watches from LG, Samsung, Google and Motorola. Similar to more expensive GPS watches, this app will turn your smart watch into a GPS, complete with information about your location and route, altitude, heading, waypoint distance, distrance travelled, height gained and a large navigational arrow that uses a compass function in the watch to point you in the right direction. read more

Stay Organized with GPS Location Based Reminders

EasilyDo is one of many apps designed to help organize your life with location-based services.

EasilyDo is one of many apps designed to help organize your life with location-based services.

If you are anything like me, there are days when I have the memory of a goldfish and end up making multiple trips to the same places and forgetting things anyway. Fortunately, I must not be the only one, because there are several apps available for iPhone and Android that are designed to send location-based reminders using GPS. Need to pick up milk? We now have an app for that. read more

Garmin Navigates GPS App Territory for iPhone and Android

hand-holding-samsungThe release of Garmin’s new smartphone app, Viago, gives fans a chance to utilize Garmin’s powerful GPS software on their smartphone. Available on both Android and iPhone, the basic Viago app costs only $2 and offers a range of features such as Worldwide maps, address search, turn-by-turn navigation in your region, realistic junction views, lane assistance, current speed limits and posted speed limits. The interface is clean and simple and looks sharp. But what makes this app both powerful and pricey is the ability to customize with premium add-ons which can cost anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on the add-on. read more

Handheld GPS 201: Mapping software

With today’s topic, I’m starting a new series, a follow up to my Handheld GPS 101 posts. Are you ready to move on to the next class? Alright then. Today’s topic is mapping software — and I’m not talking about maps for your GPS here, but rather desktop or laptop software that will turn you into a power user. read more