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

Satellite Error Still Under Debate

The two Galileo satellites launched Sept. 26, as you have probably heard, missed their projected orbit by just a smidge—slightly under 2,000 miles—and everyone at the European Space Agency is scratching their heads to try and figure out how it happened.

GPS World reported that an independent inquiry commission has been appointed to investigate the matter and they should be presenting their initial conclusions on Sept. 8.

Several articles have popped up over the last few days with different conclusions about the problem. The most common is that the issue occurred during the flight phase involving the separation of the Fregat upper stage. A GPS World article recently suggested that it might be a software error. read more

This Week in GPS – August 29, 2014

The Soyuz rocket launched two Galileo satellites into space on Friday. European Pressphoto Agency

Photo by European Pressphoto Agency

This week in GPS is a weekly link roundup of (mostly) GPS related odds and ends, from GPS Tracklog and other places around the Web. This week’s featured image is the Russian Soyuz rocket that launched the two Galileo satellites last Friday into what turned out to be the wrong orbit. Oops… read more

FAQ for Buying Automotive GPS

Auto GPS buyers guide

If you aren’t a hobbyist in the GPS field, then the sheer number of options for purchasing an automotive GPS unit can be quite daunting. The alphabet and number soup at the end of the twenty billion models with the same (or similar) name can be incredibly confusing and unless you know exactly what you want, some of the charts and guides we have aren’t going to be much help.

So, for those of you looking to buy your first (or just a new) GPS unit, I am going to break things down a little bit. Here are a few common questions (and answers!) consumers have when considering which units to purchase:

How much should I expect to spend on a unit?

If you’ve never bought a GPS unit before, this is probably the first question you’re wondering. And, ironically, it’s one of the harder questions, especially if you’re new to the world of GPS. 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.”

read more

Galileo Satellites Launched Friday; 2,000 Miles Off Course

The Soyuz rocket launched two Galileo satellites into space on Friday. European Pressphoto Agency

The Soyuz rocket launched two Galileo satellites into space on Friday. European Pressphoto Agency

The two Galileo satellites were successfully launched on August 22, 2014 at about 9:30 a.m. local time from French Guiana. I say successful in that they were indeed launched into space. The mission was rather less successful in that the satellites somehow ended up in the wrong orbit and are now about 2,000 miles away from they should be. The intended orbit for the most recent GPS satellites was circular while the current orbit is elliptical.

From what all of the reports I have seen indicate, no one is exactly sure what went wrong and a decision about what to do with the wayward satellites has not been reached. The Wall Street Journal reported that the European Commission has requested an inquiry “to clarify the circumstances and the potential implications for the mission” and if some sort of correction measures are not taken, the satellites will be completely useless. Best case, their life will be significantly shorter than expected. Yikes.

read more

Creating Pocket Queries Along A Route


Most geocachers will be familiar with the concept of pocket queries.  This feature on the Geocaching website allows premium members of the site to download a large number of caches based on certain criteria (location, type, difficulty, etc.).  If you have been geocaching for some time and have premium membership it’s likely you will be well-versed in creating them.  However,  they are more flexible than you might initially imagine.

When you create a pocket query you will, most likely, do a search radiating out from a particular cache or location.  That’s usually good enough to ensure that it captures all the caches you intend to do for the day.  But what happens if you‘re intending to travel from A to B grabbing all the caches along the way?  What if the distance between those two points means that creating a radius big enough for the pocket query to contain all those caches gives more results than a pocket query allows or your GPS will hold? read more

Can You Use Your Phone for GPS while Driving?

Garmin universal smartphone mount

Driving with a phone for a GPS is a gray area, but having a mount is a must for safety.

Distracted driving has become quite the problem in our society. People just can’t seem to take their eyes and hands off of their phones to focus on anything else–especially driving. But what about using your phone for other tasks, like navigation?

According to a spokesperson for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), using your phone for GPS is one of the gray areas of the law and varies from state to state. Many states prohibit texting while driving and several states, like Illinois, can pull over drivers who are even holding phones while driving. Other states, like California, have made exceptions and drivers are allowed to use phones to navigate. It all depends on where you are for the legality of it. But common sense tells a whole other story. read more

3D GPS for the Blind

discover promo

This may not really be relevant for most of you, but I thought it was really interesting.

The concept design for a device that turns street maps into 3D tactile maps has been released and the idea is quite impressive. Created by Jorge Trevino Blanco, the device is handheld and will scan the surrounding area and create a 3D pin impression of the area—kind of like that pin box you pushed your hand into when you were a kid. The concept, named Discover by Blanco, has several Braille buttons labeled “Discover,” “City,” “GPS,” “Read,” “Time,” and “Tag.” read more