Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Pilot App Adds Features Including Global Options for Android


Garmin has announced some updates to its popular Garmin Pilot application for Apple and Android devices. With this Garmin Pilot update, users now have more worldwide options available to them for flight planning and for international travel. Additionally, this update includes a slew of new features for navigating European airspace, better global navigation features for Android devices, and the ability to wirelessly transfer Jeppesen charts.

If you already have the app on your tablet or other device, it should automatically update on its own. However, if you’re new to Garmin Pilot or you don’t have the device set to automatically update, you can download the updates manually from the Google Play or Apple App Store. read more

New GPS Map Emphasizes Walking Directions, Mobility


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


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


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 CA Driving Law Requires Phones to be Mounted


It’s now illegal to use an unmounted phone for GPS in California. Just don’t mount it like this.

As you probably know, I prefer automotive GPS devices over using a cell phone when you’re navigating in the car. Not only do auto GPS devices tend to function better (as that’s their one and only purpose) but it’s just overall safer. Using a phone for navigation can be distracting, but it is convenient, so I kind of get it. But here’s the problem: how do you tell who is staring at the phone reading a map and who is staring at a text (or god forbid, texting back) instead of watching the road? And, is there really that much of a difference in attention?

A new California law says no. You might remember a few years ago that California made it illegal to hold your phone while operating a vehicle, and there are multiple other laws for talking and texting in a car. GPS, however, was sort of a loophole to this, and many people were pulled over, only to claim that they were using Google Maps on their device. However, a new law states that as of 2017, phones must be mounted to be used for GPS. read more

New GPS App Shows Geological Points of Interest Along Route


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

Runkeeper Adds GPS Support to Apple Watch Series 2


When the Apple Watch was introduced in 2015, many people wondered if it was the beginning of the end for running watches. We predicted that it wouldn’t push out Garmin at all, mostly because it didn’t even come with GPS capabilities, meaning that anyone looking to use it for workouts would also have to bring along a phone for any kind of tracking. Well, it looks like more than a year later, Apple will finally be getting the GPS capabilities.

Earlier this month, Runkeeper announced  new update for the Apple Watch Series 2 devices that will finally take advantage of the GPS chips inside the Apple Watches. With this new functionality, the app will not only track things like distance and heart rate, but also mark your tracks via GPS. I personally haven’t had much experience with it, but the reviews have been a little sketchy. Some users reported that the GPS signal was a little variable, but the app does feature GPS bars to help show where the signals are low. read more

Hudify Uses Your Phone and Apps For HUD


Heads-Up Displays (also called HUD) are, in my opinion, one of the cooler ways to get GPS navigation and instructions. For those unfamiliar, HUD projects the navigation information right on your windshield, sometimes with augmented reality so it looks like the directions are overlaid on the roads themselves. The benefit to this, of course, is that you won’t have to look away from the road, even for a second, to get directions. The downside is that HUDs are usually extremely expensive as it’s still a pretty new technology.

However, it looks like a fully-funded Kickstarter project has launched that will make HUD more readily available to your average consumer. Completely funded last week, and still available through the company website, Hudify is a HUD that is designed to work with your cell phone. This aftermarket HUD is not quite as cool as the ones that project on your windshield, but it’s still a cool idea.

read more

Uber Updates Introduce Background GPS Tracking


Although it’s not something that I spend a lot of time writing about on this blog, the reality is that GPS tracking is a huge part of what makes GPS such a useful and prevalent technology. Through GPS tracking apps and websites, users are able to get directions and location-based information and other services. But, with that functionality comes the potential for a lot of privacy issues and concerns.

Recently, the popular app Uber, which provides cab rides from private drivers for less than the cost of a regular taxi, came under fire after an update requests permission to track users location constantly. While users can opt out of the tracking, reports indicate that the app becomes basically unusable and nonfunctional. With the release, Uber stated that it only had intention to track users for 5 minutes after drop off, but the legal language of the permission allows always-on tracking, even when the app is closed.

After the most recent update, when users open the app, they are greeted with the following prompt: read more

MapQuest To Continue Deal with TomTom


TomTom, the Dutch navigation and mapping company, has announced that it has expanded its deal with the GPS navigational software company MapQuest. The original deal, which was first struck in 2012 and has been extended since then, allows MapQuest to use TomTom’s extensive map database for its digital platforms. But this year, some additional things were added.

According to the press release, MapQuest, a subsidiary of AOL, has also brokered access to TomTom’s traffic information, leading speculation that MapQuest will soon be offering better traffic options. Currently, MapQuest already offers some traffic information for drivers, although it is not always accurate. However, this partnership may mean some big things for MapQuest. read more