Apple licences maps with TomTom, Garmin stock lower

Apple just unveiled iOS6 couple of days ago. One of the things we were looking forward to was the new Maps feature in iOS6. The new feature in iOS will stop using Google Maps and will apparently use maps data from TomTom along with map related data. We’re not sure what Apple will be using to generate turn by turn directions when the OS will be released in fall though.

TomTom shares rose 25% within the last 5 days where as Garmin shares lost 5%.

Oxford University uses Google Earth and DNA sequencing to track disease

Researchers at Oxford University used Google Earth to track the spread of typhoid in Kathmandu, Nepal. To map things out they combined DNA sequencing and GPS devices to track the outbreaks back to their source.

Their findings on Google Earth clearly showed a cluster of typhoid infections within a square kilometer area. In addition they showed that people near to water sources and people living at a lower altitude are at greater risk typhoid.

The increase in throughput with next gen DNA sequencing so far have only allowed scientists to accurately track the spread of some diseases by measuring the rate of mutations in the DNA of the disease-causing microbe. And up to now tracking the spread of typhoid was a challenging task as these mutations are small in number and not detectable by most techniques in use.

Since street names are not commonly used in Nepal to health workers had to use GPS to capture the exact location while collecting blood sample from the patient… via

NYT writers likes Google Maps Navigation better than Garmin

New York Times writer Eric A. Taub recently put his Garmin Nuvi 2350LMT and Droid X2 powered by Android side by side and took a trip to Disneyland. He reviewed things like the user interface, ability to find points of interests correctly, reaction time with voice directions, time it took to search for destinations, map updates, traffic info and more. It was a basic review, and never touched on the subject of what would happen if you were out of coverage area with your Android phone. Overall it is a decent review for beginners and reflects well on what’s going on with the GPS industry today. You can read the whole thing here.

how can TomTom stay in business?

Electricpig has a nice article about TomTom’s challenge to stay in business when GPS navigation and driving directions are free services offered by Google for those who have a decent smartphone.

The article talks about how TomTom is changing the conversation from driving directions to stress and traffic free guidance thanks to millions of TomTom users on the road.

“We think there is a viable way to reduce traffic congestion…there’s a real difference with that’s available today…You can really have a proper load balancing of congestion if you know the speeds on all the roads.”

TomTom estimates that with ten percent of people using HD traffic in an area, there is a perceivable “collective effect”, with roads flowing more smoothly.

how to share GPS location with others (Android)

Do you ever get that text message that says “where are you?” Sure you do. You’re popular and people need to know where you are. Navigadget is here to help.

There are a bunch of apps out there in the Android Market Place to share your location with others. But do you really need all that stuff just for a simple task? Nope. All you need is Google Maps. Here are the simple steps to share your location with others.

1) Open Google Maps on your Android. Wait for a GPS fix. Tap on the blue dot/arrow that represents your location. You’ll get the bubble you see here.

2) Tap on the bubble that says “My Location”. You’ll get this menu of things you can with do with this location. Fourth one from the top is “Send location to others”. Click on that.

3) Now you see a list of methods you can share this location. Our list includes Messaging, Facebook, TweetCaster, Bluetooth, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail. Your list will be different depending on what you have installed.

4) I simply choose Messaging and my location along with a time stamp, the address (if available) is already pasted in to the message box. Now all you have to do is add the recipient.

That’s all. You have now shared your precise location with your friend(s).

Nexus S

Google’s new phone, Nexus S from Samsung was officially announced today. It comes with the latest Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread which now includes NFC (near field communications) features.

Needless to say Nexus S comes with A-GPS and various other specs that add to the location awareness of this phone. These include the three axis gyroscope sensor, accelerometer, and the digital compass.

Google Maps looks really sharp on the new Nexus S. You can dive straight into “Places” from the map, view ratings, or see if the place you’re looking at is recommended by a friend. You of course get the Street View, free turn by turn GPS navigation, live traffic updates, satellite imagery, and locations of your friends on the map via Google Latitude.

With Google navigation you can enter a destination just by saying its name, get traffic conditions on your way, get alternate routes, drive with satellite view, or search for places near you.
Check out these two videos:

smartphones killing GPS navigation market

I guess we really should’ve said “GPS enabled smartphones are taking considerable market share from standalone GPS navigation makers” but a sensational title is always more fun. But either way future is not looking great for GPS navigation manufacturers. According to a study done by a Swedish research company (Berg Insight) standalone GPS navigation systems are bound to become obsolete as their functions are now part of most smartphones or just embedded into vehicles’ dashboard. Take for example these latest smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Desire Z, G2 Touch and many others you can find which are as capable as any other standalone systems.

Now that Nokia and Google are giving the technology away for free, GPS navigation makers will have to come up with ways to make their products standout or offer functionality that is not covered by smartphones. We can already see some change as Garmin and TomTom now offer real time traffic information, and working with vehicle manufacturers to embed their technology into vehicles at the factory.

… the number of personal navigation devices shipped globally will peak in 2011 at 42 million, up from 40 million this year, before beginning a gradual, but inexorable decline…

However CEO’s from navigation makers are still hopeful arguing that people are still willing to pay extra for high end specialized devices. I guess Garmin is in the best position here as they’ve already branched into other markets bringing in 1/3 of their sales from marine, aerial, and fitness related GPS devices.


track planes in near real time in Google Earth

Google is partnering with Flightwise to bring you a new service that can show you where each and every US flight is in almost real time.

When you hover on any of the planes you see it will give you the airline, flight number, and an up to date path. If you click on it you’ll get the extended information bubble with departure and arrival times, and an option to download its path.

FAA has some regulations and restrictions so all the data is lagging behind about 15 - 20 minutes. Nonetheless you’ll have the correct coordinate and the altitude… via

Google Maps updated on Virgin America

Google just announced that they updated the Google Maps data shown on touchscreens of every airplane seat. This is part of their continued partnership as Virgin America is a ‘high-tech’ airline offering in flight WiFi. The newly improved Google Maps for Virgin America - just like every other map in the sky - shows you where you are. But with Google you can zoom and pan to explore. The newly added features now include terrain view and fresh Google data so the maps are not only prettier, but also highlight mountains, elevation and other natural features.

As Google describes it in their blog:

…it more closely matches what you’d actually see if you had cloud-penetrating eyesight and looked out the window from 35,000 feet.

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Track Tour de France riders on Google Maps

Search giant Google now lets you follow what’s going on at Tour de France in real time. On this page you can track the remaining eight cyclists from Team HTC - Columbia who are equipped with HTC phones running Android and using the My Tracks app. You can not only track theses riders in real time on Google Maps but also view other telemetry data such as heart rate, power, and cadence.

…and now Team HTC-Columbia will use a special version of the app with SRM to transmit their telemetry and location in real-time as they make their way through the 3,642 kilometers of the Tour de France… Team HTC-Columbia are carrying HTC Legend phones with ANT+ that use My Tracks to capture their location along with their power, heart rate, cadence and speed.

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