Navteq buys PixelActive for better 3D maps

Navteq (recently bought by Nokia) is getting quite serious about their 3D mapping technology. They just acquired a California company called PixelActive whose founders have years of experience in computer generated graphics and video gaming. PixelActive’s former clients include big names like Nintendo and Lockheed Martin. The acquisition amount was not disclosed but we sure hope all 16 employees if PixelActive do keep their jobs as they seem to be doing a good job. Their demo video is impressive:

NAVTEQ Natural Guidance

Have you heard about this yet? One of the two top digital map makers, NAVTEQ, just came out with a new product called Natural Guidance. What’s the big deal? Nothing really. Instead of saying turn left in 400 yards, it will say things like turn left at traffic signal, or even turn left at flower shop.

We’re not sure how they’re going to categorize these reference points and landmarks for reliable navigation without confusing end users. It is not an easy problem since they have to consider things like which direction the user is approaching from, the size of the reference object (a cathedral vs. a corner pub), or whether it is winter or summer (when trees might block the visibility).

Currently Natural Guidance is only available in select cities such as Berlin, Chicago, National Capital Region of Delhi, London, Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Paris.

We also haven’t heard of a GPS navigation system making use of this new system just yet.

Medion’s new off-road GPS navigation systems

After their exclusive agreement with the National Geographic Institute (IGN) to use the “IGN Evadeo” trademark, German brand Medion introduced its first GPS Evadeo intended for off-roading as well as for use on motorcycles.

Medion has introduced 3 new GPS navigation systems: the Evadeo M3220, M3320 and M3320a Premium. They all have a 3.5″ touch screen with 240×320 pixels resolution (QVGA).

The new Medion Evadeo GPS navigation systems are IPX7 standard meaning they can be submerged up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes - not that you are going to test this….

They all have a 1800mAh battery, 2GB of internal memory and a MicroSD card slot. There’s also bluetooth but it’s not for taking calls on your phone, it is only for a headset for the voice guidance.

The M3320 and Premium M3320a also incorporate an accelerometer, a compass, an altimeter and a barometer. Unlike previous Evadeo series which had a program used for both car navigation and off road navigation, Medion now has chosen a different approach. For car navigation, it will be the GoPal software. For off-road navigation, Medion software retains the excellent road TwoNav Editor CompeGPS. This software was already present in previous Evadeo and is also found in the GPS off-road TwoNav Adventura.

The M3220 comes with the road map of France, while the M3320 and M3320a Premium come with the road map of 23 countries in Europe; all supplied by Navteq.

Terrain maps are of course provided by IGN. All of the three new GPS navigation systems come with GPS mapping at 1/100,000th of the whole of metropolitan France, integrating GR (Trails) and the contour. It can therefore be used free of charge in any field.

These GPS Medion Evadeo M3220, M3320 and M3320a Premium should be available from mid-May at no extra charge of 279 €, 329 € and 349 €…

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Nokia N900 Maemo GPS navigation

Sygic just made available Mobile Maps for Nokia’s Maemo platform which includes the Nokia N900. This should really be one of the few GPS navigation applications available for Maemo.

It uses Navteq maps and is available for Europe and U.S.A. already. US version costs 50 € and the European version costs 60 € and includes Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eire (Republic of Ireland), Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy / Vatican City, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Man, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom.

Check out their demo video:

giveaway: Destinator 9 GPS navigation app

There’s no shortage of GPS navigation apps for the iPhone these days. Destinator 9 is one of these, offered by Intrinsyc.

It has live traffic alerts, a feature called NavStrip which lists POI’s along your way, live weather, comes with Navteq maps, uses junction views for realistic 3D intersections, has the ability to send your location to friends, supports iPod controls and lets you navigate to your contacts.

It is available for Android, and WinMo phones too, in addition to iPhone.

Anyways we have ten promo codes for Destinator 9 for the iPhone - and all you have to do is leave comment below to grab one of these. While you’re at it subscribe to our RSS feed so you don’t miss it when we announce the winners.

If you don’t win; do not worry. There’s always the free 30 day trial. After the trial a lifetime subscription is $80 and a regular subscriptions is $60.

We’ll close this article for comments a week from today and after that we’ll announce the winners.

Good luck.

Alpine INA-W900

Alpine INA-W900 is an all-in-one GPS navigation and entertainment system that takes up 2DIN space and has mototrized 7” screen. It works with iPhone and iPod and lets you control all search options of your iPod directly, via playlist, artist, etc and the connection is via USA for playback as opposed to lame FM transmitters which don’t give out good sound.

As far as navigation it can do picture in picture, where the maps come from Navteq which can be rendered as 3D, 2D full map, split map, and turn-by-turn arrow view. It carries 6 million points of interests, coverage of US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, SD card map update, text-to-speech, and more.

Other features? We’ve got a lot since this is entertainment system that has an MSRP of $1100. FM, AM, bluetooth connectivity, 50Wx4 power out, optical drive, HD radio, and a remote control.

See more details here and find a retailer perhaps.

Nokia Ovi Maps navigation now free; better than Google’s

Nokia just announced that they’re making their famous Ovi Maps and its door-to-door GPS navigation software completely free. It will come pre-installed on compatible Nokia phones with the local maps; depending on you live. Of course you’ll be able to download maps of new places if you need to.

Why is it better than Google Maps Navigation? First, because it is available all around the world, where as Google’s navigation solution is currently only in the U.S. Second, the maps will come installed on the phone with no need for data connection. Google needs data connection to get you maps, points of interests, etc.

As you may already Nokia owns one of the biggest digital map maker, Navteq; and with this ‘completely free’ they plan on making their higher end handsets more attractive to those who maybe on the market for a standalone GPS navigation system.

Starting in March of this year all Nokia smartphones will come with embedded GPS, Nokia Ovi Maps with maps of the country where you bough it, and of course free GPS navigation to go with it.

Here are the compatible Nokia devices today: Nokia E52, Nokia E55, Nokia E72, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 6730 classic, Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia 5230, and Nokia X6. (N900 will join this list at some point, we just don’t know when yet)

Videos after the break…

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Navteq scans streets with in 3D with lasers

Navteq showcased their latest technology at CES 2010 and wowed everyone with their super fancy VW Jetta fitted with expensive toys. For what you may ask? Well, think Google Street View but much better. In 3D. The vehicle is equipped with 7 digital cameras and 64 lasers. We’re guessing the 7 digital cameras are for the panoramic view in 12 megapixels. The 64 lasers are shot out of a spinning barrel positioned at about 45 degree angle and make up the LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) which is an optical remote sensing technology. This way people at Navteq are able to collect about 1.5 million data points about their environment every freaking second for objects that are up to 120 meters away…

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NAVIGON GPS navigation soon on Android

NAVIGON just recently announced MobileNavigator for Android mobile phones in America. Navigon’s navigation app uses preloaded maps, so you don’t have to worry about 3G/EDGE coverage when navigating. The maps include US, Canada, Hawaii and Puerto Rico and are from NAVTEQ.

Some of the other features of Navigon MobileNavigator include Reality View Pro, Lane Assistant Pro, text-to-speech, speed assistant with adjustable audio-visual warning, day & night Mode for map display, direct access to your contacts, ability to show POIs along the route, and automatic switch between portrait and landscape format.

You’ll have to wait until spring of 2010. Price is not announced yet but there’ll only be an initial fee, no monthly cost.

NAVIGON thanksgiving promotion

A recent press release says NAVIGON has a promotion for their new iPhone app. As you know the NAVIGON app is in two pieces. The main app for $90, and the Traffic Live add-on for $25. Now you can save a total of $30 from those two purchases.

Some of the features of MobileNavigator for iPhone include reality view pro, lane assistant, day and night modes, Navteq maps, and intelligent address entry.

For 10 days only, (November 20-30) NAVIGON’s iPhone app, MobileNavigator will be on sale for $69.99 instead of $89.99 providing a $20.00 savings. In addition, NAVIGON’s Traffic Live feature is also on sale for $14.99 instead of $24.99.