Sunday, March 18, 2012

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

This Week in GPS — August 22, 2014

Pawtrack automatically shuts down to conserve battery when kitty is simply lounging safely at home.

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 a cheerful kitty modeling Pawtrack, a GPS tracker designed specifically for cats. Check out our article below for more information: read more

GPS Tracking App Helps Veterans



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

Garmin Announces First Android Powered Fleet GPS

fleetTM 660

While it’s not ready for release just yet, Garmin has announced that they are working on a new Android powered GPS unit designed for local and commercial fleets. The FleetTM 660 and 670 have unique customization options common to Android devices and allow for integration of applications from partners and companies as well as widgets to store important information. Basically, it’s a GPS that acts like a phone with a GPS navigation focus. read more