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19 September 2019

Google Maps biking directions hits the United States

Google maps biking directions
Google, answering demand from the public, has added bicycling directions to Google Maps in the United States. By tweaking its routing algorithm, Google has enabled cyclists to route out a journey from point A to point B that manages to take into account hills, traffic on arterial roads and even busy intersections. This means that things like steep hills and traffic lights won’t be part of your bike route to work, likely lessening the time it takes to get there and reducing the overall effort.
The data for the bike trails was acquired in partnership with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and includes more than 12, 000 miles of coverage in 150 cities across the US. When looking at the map, dark green lines indicate bike-only trails, light green indicate a dedicated bike lane along a road and dashed green lines indicate roads that are preferred for cycling but do not include dedicated lanes. The routing algorithm will first favor dark green routes and gradually add less weight until it reached dashed green routes.
Like all other Google products, Google Maps biking directions will be improved with the help of user feedback. The company also says that once Map Maker is available in the United States, riders will be able to contribute their own information as well.

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TeleNav publishes GPS users search habits, reveals they like pizza

TeleNav business searches
TeleNav, a GPS navigation and mapping provider, has made good use of the location data it collects from the more than 13 million users of its navigation applications and published a report about some of their habits. Completely anonymized of course, the data reveals that business searches are perhaps just as important as the traditional navigation features TeleNav offers.
The analysis, confined to the United States, has revealed that Walmart is the most searched for business using TeleNav data, followed by Starbucks, Target, Best Buy and Bank of America. All of these businesses have made a splash in the mobile application marketplace with dedicated applications for various mobile platforms such as the iPhone. Not surprisingly, America’s favorite food by search is pizza, followed by Chinese and burgers.
When it comes to traditional navigation usage, bigger cities such as Los Angeles tend to mean more users attempt to re-route to avoid traffic or just use GPS in the first place. The report is a good, visual read with lots of pictures. Definitely worth it.


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Soccer Gets a GPS Upgrade

by Harriette Halepis / guest author

If you’ve ever watched a soccer match, then you know how close some calls can be. Thanks to a new invention called CTRUS (no doubt due to its limey green glow), the confusing world of “out of bounds” and “off sides” may be a thing of the past. CTRUS is a soccer ball, but it’s so much more than that too – in fact, it’s a soccer ball that’s entirely equipped with GPS tracking capabilities.

CTRUS was designed by AGENT, and it comes with GPS and RFID tracking capabilities. The idea behind the ball is to track each move and kick so precisely that there’s no need for last minute calls. The ball itself is made from a shell that’s entirely translucent. Inside of the ball sits a durable CPU that can be read by all who look into it – a kind of crystal soccer ball, if you will.

While the idea is entirely noble (and AGENT is the first company to come up with a ball of this type), many are sceptical that the CTRUS ball will actually work. Most close calls are incredibly precise, and GPS tracking technology may not be accurate enough to pinpoint every move that a ball makes. Still, the idea is a nice one that’s bound to be perfected within the near future.

For now, CTRUS isn’t available for retail sale (or on soccer fields), but it is gaining a lot of attention. Never before has a soccer ball been equipped with such high-tech features. CTRUS opens up an entirely new window within the world of sports – one that may do-away with the referee professional altogether. Then again, the day that sports fields don’t require the scrutiny of a black and white shrouded ref is still far away. For now, those who wish sports were a lot more cut and dry can look forward to more juicy inventions such as the AGENT CTRUS.

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Facebook built-in location features coming in April

I’ve always known it would just be a matter of time until Facebook rolled out built-in geolocation features. According to the New York Times Bits blog, citing company sources, Facebook will officially announced geolocation features at its annual f8 developers conference in late April. According to Bits, Facebook will not only allow users to append location information to their status updates but also provide a set of APIs so that developers can allow location information to be shared with the social networking platform.

With 400 million users this has the potential to turn the location-based application industry upside down. Facebook’s 100 million active mobile users are perhaps even more significant. But the company says it won’t attempt to compete with the Foursquare’s and Gowalla’s of the world, but rather try to take on Google in the local small business advertising niche. How that’ll work remains to be seen.

Twitter has also apparently rolled out geolocation capabilities on its website today though it’s been available from mobile phones and via its API for some time.

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GPS Tracking Devices Help You Organize Your Memories

by Greg Bartlett / guest author

When was the last time you looked at a picture of you or your family and asked yourself “Where in the world was that taken?” Unless you’re obsessive about cataloguing each photo you take, chances are it’s happened more than once. For those of us who can’t remember our own birthdays, much less where we were when that photo of the pretty butterfly was taken, Sony has introduced a GPS tracker to supplement your memory banks.

The photo mapper is a small GPS tracking device that can be clipped to your belt or backpack as you walk. It keeps track of your location throughout the day by recording coordinates at intervals. Simply carry it with you and make sure it’s clock is synchronized with the clock on your camera. At the end of the day, you can download the information to your computer and the software will match the location information with the time stamp on your digital photographs. You’ll have an instant map of your adventures plus new categorizing abilities including organization by trip, state, or city in which the pictures were taken. An online map powered by Google Maps allows you to add additional photos, keeping a photographic record of your travels that can be updated after each new excursion. Acting as virtual markers on the map, you pictures will synchronize with the location information in order to put place names at your fingertips rather than at the tip of your tongue.

Whether your next vacation includes several cities, several states, or several countries, you’ll never again have to worry about looking at a quaint village nestled in the hillside and wondering whether it was in Italy or Spain, or whether that vineyard was in California or Nevada. Your GPS tracking device will do the remembering for you and when you go to show off your travels to family and friends, you can focus on relating the humorous or special details that made the trip memorable rather than stumbling over memory lapses regarding specific place names.

GPS tracking devices have become an integral part of our lives and can be expected to become even more so as new technology incorporates tracking in order to make everything from jogging to photography a little easier. Watch for new innovations to help you keep tabs on family and friends, no matter where in the world they might travel.

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Going the Extra Mile with a GPS Tracker

by Greg Bartlett / Guest Author

Suppose you are among the thousands of Americans who could stand to shed a few pounds this year. You know that the experts say exercise is a key to getting and keeping the weight off. You’re committed—at least mentally—to the benefits of walking and/or jogging, but you have not been as consistent as you need to be. Here’s good news for you! GPS trackers are now available that allow you to use a cell phone in tandem with GPS technology in order to help you accomplish your goal. Several manufacturers have models of cell phones that can be equipped to monitor your walking or running workout and provide feedback about your progress.

GPS tracking systems that monitor you as you work out utilize GPS (Global Positioning System) technology based on a series of satellites that continuously orbit Earth and send back signal. Triangulating the signal from three of these satellites permits the GPS tracker to pinpoint any location to within just a few feet. In GPS tracking systems that monitor your exercise your cell phone acts as the receiver of the signal and allows the GPS satellites to track you as you run.

Several features of a GPS tracker for individuals as they exercise make the idea attractive to owners of cell phones. First, you can map out your route ahead of time and then follow your progress as you make your way over your course. As you do so, you will be able to accurately record details such as the distance you’ve traveled and the number of calories burned. You’ll also know your speed and how long you’ve been working out. You’ll know the steepness of hills on your route. You’ll be able to log your workouts over time and then upload the statistics to your computer or to the web for additional analysis. This also allows you to follow your progress over time. When you’ve had a particularly good workout or have reached a milestone that you’d like others to share with you, you have the option of posting your information or Twitter, Facebook or another social network. Using such a system also provides an extra level of safety to you. If you get injured or need assistance for any reason, you know your exact location and can relay it to those coming to assist you.

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Review: i-gotU GT-600 GPS Travel & Sports Logger

GT 600 box Review: i gotU GT 600 GPS Travel & Sports Logger

Taiwan’s Mobile Action was kind enough to let me try the new i-gotU GT-600 USB GPS Travel Logger in order to compare it to the previously reviewed GT-120. The new model has a few new features that I found useful and a few others I didn’t, though others might. But let us start with the specs.

The Basics

The GT-600 measures a bit larger in dimension and is slightly heavier than the GT-120. Still small enough to stick in your pocket, or attach to your clothing with the included velcro strap, at 46 x 41.5 x 14 millimeters, the GT-600 weighs 37 grams and packs in a SiRF Star III 65nm low power GPS chipset, 64 MB of flash memory for storing 262, 000 waypoints, and a built-in 750 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery.

The GT-600 also features a motion detector which turn the GPS receiver on and off when you start and stop your activity. This is one of the new features I appreciate because the GT-600 still utilizes blue and red LEDs to indicate a GPS fix (simultaneous blinking signifies GPS tracking). I sometimes forget whether I have turned the device on or off with the flashing light confusion. Speaking of the LEDs, I’m happy to say they are much brighter than they were with the GT-120. In the previous logger I had trouble seeing the lights under the daytime, outdoor sky.

The GT-600 also works as a USB GPS receiver for laptops or netbooks and includes Where I Am software that plots your real-time location on Google Maps, Bing Maps or Yahoo Maps. This is a great feature if you’re driving around in an unfamiliar location and don’t have a PND or GPS-equipped cellphone with you. The USB 1.1 connection is also used for charging the GT-600 and for uploading GPS data to the included @trip software which plots your waypoints on a Google Map interface.

As with the GT-120, the @trip software included with the GT-600 enables you to create a web-based travel blog, plot your distance, speed and altitude on 3D maps, and enables the addition of time-synchronized, geotagged photos which can be uploaded to the Picasa or Flickr photo-sharing websites.

The Good

The GT-600 acquired a GPS fix within the claimed 35 seconds this time around, a huge improvement from my experience with the GT-120. As I already mentioned, I really like the motion -based auto on/off feature and the brighter LEDs.

The Bad

I preferred the smaller form factor of the GT-120 but the GT-600 isn’t much bigger and makes up for it with much more power and functionality (this could also be listed under The Good. Trade-offs, I guess. I’m also surprised that the @trip software hasn’t changed much since my last review during the summer of 2009. The world of connected software is so fast moving I’d almost expect a completely new and improved user interface by now. I’d also expect Mobile Action to do a better job of promoting its online @trip social network which could use a little more user engagement by the looks of it.

The Bottom Line

The i-gotU GT-600 USB GPS travel logger, like the GT-120, qualifies as a perfectly reliable solution for recreational athletes and travelers. As a runner currently training for a marathon I’ve been happy using the GT-600 as an aid that enables me to track my routes and other location-based training data. Now Mobile Action just needs to make some prettier software and a wireless solution for uploading GPS data to your PC!

If you plan on purchasing a GT-600, please consider this blog by Amazon.

Update: In this review I overlooked some key changes made in the @trip software. My apologies for this. In fact, Mobile Action has added Sports Analyzer and Where Am I?, two new and usable features not available back in the summer of ‘09. Photo Locator is another new feature that enables users to add and geotag photos without manually adding them to the map. All in all, Mobile Action has made strides to improve the @trip software and should be recognized for that! You can find more details regarding the changes.

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TomTom ProClip car kit allows permanent iPhone mount

tomtom proclip TomTom ProClip car kit allows permanent iPhone mount

TomTom on Friday introduced its second iPhone car mount. This time, however, the mount is a screw-on attachment for a secure ProClip dashboard mount. This differs from its adjustable windshield mount released in 2009.

The company’s second iPhone GPS mount features all the specifications of the first car kit including a built-in GPS receiver, microphone and speaker, an in-car charger and an audio output for listening to iTunes through the vehicle stereo.

The TomTom ProClip car kit is available for pre-order now for £99.99.


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AIS Mobile Rugged PDA is tough

ais pda AIS Mobile Rugged PDA is tough

AIS has introduced the Mobile Rugged PDA, probably the most rugged looking of rugged devices I’ve ever seen. Running on Windows Mobile 6.1 and powered by a 624MHz Marvell PXA270 processor, the Mobile Rugged PDA features a 240 x 320 pixel, 3.7-inch display (a 480 x 640 pixel upgrade is optional), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional 3G and GPS, 256 MB of built-in storage, 256 MB of RAM, and a variety of ports including one Ethernet and a microSD card slot. The Mobile Rugged PDA is MIL-STD810F/461F rated for resistance to dust, shock and all the other fun stuff and IP67 rated for water resistance. Shipping on an as-yet-unknown date, the AIS Mobile Rugged PDA will have an MSRP of $1, 899.


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Ski gloves now record your GPS coordinates

ski glove gps

ski glove gps Ski gloves now record your GPS coordinates

Austria’s Zanier have announced a ski glove model with integrated GPS. Dubbed the X-Plore.XGX, the gloves help you follow a route or get back to your car along with recording important ski-related info such as altitude, speed and distance. Information is displayed on a monochrome display placed on thumb while the controls are located on top of the glove. And Zanier doesn’t skimp on the material either, using Gore-Tex X-Trafit to ensure you’ll always have warm hands. On the hill the X-Plore.XGX is powered by a lithium-ion battery and once back at the lodge users can hook the gloves into a USB port and upload all the recorded info to a PC.


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