Sunday, March 18, 2012

New TomTom START Designed For Leisure Drivers

Fusion TIFF FileTomTom introduced the new TomTom START range of GPS devices today. TomTom has a habit of reusing names of devices, so if you recognize the name from a series launched a few years ago, you aren’t crazy. The new START devices are a little cheaper than most, ringing in at €139.95 ($187.35) and are aimed at the ‘leisure traveler.’

The START has many TomTom features that are quickly becoming standard on their devices including the same Quick Search we reviewed on the TomTom GO 500 and the ability to tap on the map to plan a route. The route bar has been redesigned to make it easier for drivers to see essential travel information at a glance. The device also comes with lifetime maps (which all for four free updates a year for the life of the device), advance lane guidance with realistic 3D pictures showing which lane to be in, a million pre-loaded POIs and the new “My Places” which allows drivers to save their favorite locations on the map for easy navigation. The START is available with a 4, 5 or 6 inch screen size. read more

Indoor GPS Raises Privacy Concerns

In the world of indoor GPS, Nokia has a Wifi-based High Accuracy Indoor Positioning System. But Windows is determined to best that.

In the world of indoor GPS, Nokia has a Wifi-based High Accuracy Indoor Positioning System already available, with other companies working to best it.

With all budding new technology comes certain concerns about how it will change things, and indoor GPS systems are no exception. As more and more companies are researching and racing to be the first to create an accurate system for location positioning indoors, many companies are starting to look at what can be done with the gold mine of personal location information that will result from widespread adoption of indoor GPS. read more

Garmin Second Quarter Report Overview


Garmin released their second quarter financial report Wednesday morning before stocks opened. Overall, the report was still in the positive although the company’s shares fell as much as 7 percent in morning trading after the report was released. Garmin reported a total revenue of $778 million dollars this quarter and acknowledged the completed acquisition of Fusion Electronics to aid with their marine products. If you want to read the full report for yourself, you can download it here, but these are the parts I found most interesting: read more

GPS Satellite Launch Scheduled for Friday

766px-Navstar-2FFriday’s planned launch of the seventh of 12 new GPS satellites is looking good, according to Florida Today. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) has planned the departure for 11:23 p.m. from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The 189-foot Atlas V will be carrying a GPS IIF-7 satellite, the third of four scheduled for launch this year. This new block of satellites are interim are designed to improve accuracy, greater performance and increased signals for users until the newer GPS IIIA satellites are ready for launch. read more

Underground Railroad Geotour Looking For Funding


Geocaching is a rapidly expanding activity with more than 6 million active geocachers around the world searching for hidden objects. But what if those caches were strung together to tell a story or the history of something like the Underground Railroad? Well, that’s what geotourism is all about, and there is a kickstarter project currently looking for backers to fund the creation of a geotour for just that purpose.

Gary Jenkins, creator of the documentary film  Freedom Seekers: Stories From the Western Underground Railroad, and a geocaching expert Melissa Gard are looking create a historical geotour of the railroad consisting of 8-10 caches along the path that John Brown and the 13 Freedom Seekers took. The trip will go from Bates County, Missouri north to Nebraska City, Nebraska. The project is looking to raise $5,000 by August 27. As of this publishing date, the kickstarter currently only has $135 pledged with 27 days to go. To take a look at the kickstarter page for the underground railroad geotour, click here. read more

Sygic Maps Celebrates 55 Million Users With Sale

sygicGPSNavigationandMapsAppProvided you are willing to fork out the money, Sygic is one of the better navigation and mapping applications for your smartphone available. Normally, I would say that the price is a little prohibitive for most but if you have been eyeing this application, then this might be your lucky day.

Sygic is celebrating reaching the 55 million user benchmark by having a 55% off sale on their World maps (marking them from $125.99 down to $55.99). While it’s still a chunk of change, if you find yourself travelling a lot, then it might just be worth the money, especially with such a hefty discount. Many of their regional maps are also reduced by 50% in honor of this landmark achievement. According to their site, this discount will be available until October. read more

Magellan Introduces New GPS Designed For RVs

Magellan_RV9490T-LMB_LRMagellan has announced the availability of the new RoadMade RV9490T-LMB. This seven inch Android-powered RV GPS device has smartphone and cloud integration to provide real-time information while on the road. The device features trip-planning abilities and several RV-friendly functions, such as:

  • Vehicle Profile – Customizable RV routes based on your vehicle type, dimensions and driving preferences
  • POIs designed specifically for RVs – pre-loaded POIs include Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory, Fuel stations and Sani-Dump Stations in addition to normal POIs like restaurants and grocery stores.
  • Geotag Navigation – The ability to input Geotag information (latitude/longitude) information and navigate to your desired location

The device also features several of Magellan’s latest safety features including customizable driving alerts to notify drivers of speed limits, yellow warning signs, toll plaza alerts, speed camera and traffic camera alerts; Junction View and Lane Assist guidance; Landmark Guidance, where directions are given using easy-to-spot landmarks; Next Two-Turn Visibility to help you know which lane to be in; and more.

read more

GPS Tracker Gets Overwhelming Crowd Support

TrackRThere are no shortage of tracking startup projects on sites like Indiegogo. and all of them claim to allow users to track valuables (or people) anywhere, with little or no cost, etc, etc. Most of them don’t get off the ground or have fine print that states that the only way that it would work as advertised is if everyone had that same device and could help you track your stolen or lost item. But what are the chances of that happening? Well, with the new tracking device, cleverly named TrackR, this idea might finally get off the ground.

I know what you’re thinking. What makes TrakR worth writing (or reading) about? Well, the device has many of the same sorts of functions like on every other Indiegogo project we’ve ever written about: location tracking, ringing your phone (or the tracker) if you lose one, distance indicator, etc. But it’s the crowd support and potential for a functional network that drew my attention. read more

Cornell Engineers Test GPS Spoofing Detector

A screenshot from a youtube video by the University of Austin showing how vulnerable marine craft are to GPS Spoofing

A screenshot from a youtube video by the University of Texas at Austin showing how vulnerable marine craft are to GPS Spoofing, and how spoofing works

GPS Spoofing—or the sending out of fake signals to control a course or heading—has been a concern of many navigators for several years now. Mark Psiaki, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has been working towards a solution. Cornell University reports that Psiaki tested out his new spoofing detector and the results are quite encouraging. read more

Galileo Satellites Preparing for August Launch

Galileo's current four-satellite constellation. Photo courtesy of: ESA - P. Carril

Galileo’s current four-satellite constellation will be increased by two in August. Photo courtesy of ESA’s P. Carril

The Galileo constellation will be two satellites closer to functionality after the launch scheduled for the middle of August. There are currently four operational Galileo satellites in orbit. Galileo will not be considered fully functional until all 30 satellites are in position and functional. The two newest satellites will be launched in from French Guiana on August 21, 2014.

Unlike the U.S. GPS satellites, the Galileo system is expected to be extremely accurate with the ability to determine positions within a few centimeters when fully functional. The goal with the satellite constellation is to have anywhere from six to eight  satellites visible from anywhere on the planet, as opposed to the original four necessary when GPS was first implemented. read more