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Tag Archives: GPS

SPOT Connect Gives Your Smartphone Satellite Access

It’s all well and good that you’re the adventurous type, likely at any time to be found camping in the Amazons, spelunking in the Yucatan or trekking in the Himalayas, but bringing your phone with you on those adventures might just be more dead weight in your backpack. Cellular reception is not universal. Satellite phones are notoriously expensive, so maybe the SPOT Connect can be a good compromise.

Simply pair your smartphone with SPOT Connect, and get connected to a global satellite network that lets you send messages and GPS coordinates from virtually anywhere on the planet. Update Twitter and Facebook. Send email and text messages. Request non-emergency help from professional service providers. And in the case of a critical emergency, send an SOS message requesting emergency assistance.

You’re limited to 41 characters at a time for custom messages, and you can save a 120 character predefined message. Not a whole lot, but should be enough for quick updates. More important than letting your buddies in on which caves in Namibia offer the most guano/sq.ft. coverage is the fact that you can transmit your coordinates to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) in case of emergency. That right there is reason enough to spend the $169 that the device costs. Plus the $99 yearly for the subscription to the service.

It works with iPhone and Android devices.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ GearPatrol ]

Dick Tracy Phone Watch For Kids Is Also Homing Beacon

By David Ponce

You want to be a good parent and like technology? Put the two together and make your own life easier. The above Mobile Phone Watch lets your kid make and receive calls, but also has a GPS module. Why? So you can know where they are at the press of a button. You can also set up a Bluetooth-based alert that will sound an alarm as soon as your kids wander off range. Also, you can set up a virtual “fence” that the kids are not supposed to exit; if they do, the watch will send you a text. Finally, there’s a panic mode button that will send the GPS coordinates to the parents along with an SOS message.

That’s a lot of functionality in a fairly cheap package: $80. The hard part will be to convince your kids to actually wear the thing.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

Find My Car Smart App For The Truly Forgetful

By David Ponce

There are a ton of apps that help you find your car once you’ve forgotten where you parked it. They all suffer from a fatal flaw: you have to tell them where you’ve parked as you leave your car. Let’s be honest here: after a while, you’ll also start forgetting to do this. So that’s why the Find My Car Smart app one-ups them all. Using Bluetooth 4.0, the application works with a paired-up USB adapter that shuts off as you turn your car’s ignition off. The program on your iPhone 4S notices this and makes a quick note of your GPS coordinates. If you later can’t recall your spot, launch the app and find out. Yes, you do need an iPhone 4S as that’s the only iDevice that uses Bluetooth 4.0, now known as Bluetooth Smart.

The app and related USB dongle and car charger are on the one place where people with good ideas can connect directly with the marketplace: Kickstarter. However, the funding goals have been more than reached and you can get yourself the entire kit for as little as $30. Shipping in January 2012.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

DeLorme InReach Can Save You When Stranded In Nowhereland

By David Ponce

Surviving by yourself in inhospitable conditions is really only fun on TV. There’s only so much of your own pee you can drink, so many camel testicles you can eat and so many carcases you can crawl into before you realize that you really should have packed something like DeLorme’s InReach two-way satellite hookup before leaving for a trek across the Sahara. For $250 and a $10 a month subscription, you can send distress SMSs to pre-designated recipients along with your GPS coordinates, with a delivery confirmation. If you happen to also be carrying an Android phone, you can pair through Bluetooth and actually send and receive messages. There’s an SOS button in case all you’re able to do before passing out is to press a button. Finally, the InReach is rugged, waterproof, shock-resistant and buoyant.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Crave ]

Drunk In London Much? This App Will Wake You When You Reach Your Bus Stop

By David Ponce

Getting around in London on public transport just got a little easier. The BusChecker app not only gives you countdowns until your next bus arrives at any of the 20,000 London bus stops, but it packs a neat feature that any drunk/sleepy person could use. See, with iOS 5s region monitoring feature, you can simply get on the bus, tell the application where you’re going and doze off. An alarm will ring as you reach your station. Whether you’ll be awoken from your slumber is another matter altogether.

Aside from that, you can keep track of your bus on a map. BusChecker is around $3.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Wired’s Gadget Lab ]

MyRingGuard Can Save You In Case Of Emergency

By David Ponce

This is a great idea. The MyRingGuard is a prototype silicone and plastic ring that sends a distress text message along with your exact GPS location to a pre-determined set of people in case of emergency. They can then decide to either come to you, call 911 for you or walk around their apartment while flailing their arms, in agony over how to best come to your help. Say you’re out running late at night and trip and injure yourself. Or you fear for your safety for whatever reason. Instead of reaching for your phone just press your thumb to your index finger and the ring will communicate through Bluetooth and send out those distress signals. Think of it as a sophisticated panic button.

Currently the MyRingGuard is in the crowdfunding phase, not on your usual Kickstarter but on another social funding site. For $39 you can get a ring, though you’re free to contribute more to attain the stated $30,000 goal. However it appears to only work with Android powered phones at the moment.

[ MyRingGuard Funding Page ]

Tagg Pet Tracker – Keeping Your Pet Safe with Technology

By Eric Evdosin

Do you have a dog or cat that likes to stray away from the yard and you are always trying to find them? The Tagg Pet Tracker combines GPS and wireless technology to make keeping tabs on your pet simple. You use the GPS to help build a defined “safe zone” for your pets. Whenever they stray outside of this area you are quickly notified by text and/or email.

The Tagg Pet Tracker is tied into the Verizon data network giving you coverage in most parts of the country. This powerful combination of GPS and wireless communications takes away the fear of losing a pet and allows you to walk directly to where they are playing their game of pet hide-and-seek. The Tagg Pet Tracker retails for $199.95 and includes a full year of service.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Crnchy ]

TomTom Releases Go Live Top Gear Edition

By David Ponce

You won’t care much about this if you don’t obsessively watch the best car show on the planet, UK Top Gear. Then again, if you don’t watch it, perhaps you should just curl up in a ball and not do much at all; life isn’t worth living when one lacks appreciation for this show… The rest of us however will find it interesting to know that TomTom has released a special “Top Gear Edition” of its GO LIVE GPS navigator. The most obvious features is that your directions will be voiced by the giant himself, Jeremy Clarkson. But that’s not where it ends. Other unique features include

    Top Gear Points of Interest like “an exhaustive of racetracks and raceways, including the Top Gear Test Track.”
    Unique Top Gear car icons.
    Top Gear start up and shut down screens.
    And my personal favorite, “Stig Mode”. It renders the satnav instantly silent!

It’s $270 and available for Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.

[ TomTom Go Live Top Gear Edition ] VIA [ Xataka ]

Garmin Forerunner 910XT Designed With All Athletes In Mind

Garmin Forerunner 910XT (Image courtesy Garmin)
By Andrew Liszewski

Professional athletes often rely on very specialized gear. But the latest addition to Garmin’s Forerunner line of GPS capable watches is designed for athletes from all disciplines. Including cyclists, runners and even swimmers. The 910XT continues to shrink wristworn GPS technologies with a form factor that can even be worn when getting in or out of a tight wetsuit. The press release claims the watch is water resistant to 50 meters, though I’m hoping they mean ‘waterproof’ otherwise I’d be leery of ever submerging it. But I’m suspecting the latter since it’s designed for both open water and pool swimming, keeping track of metrics like swim distance, stroke identification, stroke count and pool lengths. It’s also capable of calculating a swimmer’s ‘swolf’ score which, according to Garmin, is “the sum of the time for one length plus the number of strokes for that length.” And like golf, the lower the score the better.

For those who prefer exercising on dry land (for the record I count myself in neither camp) the Forerunner 910XT includes all of the necessary stat tracking for runners and cyclers like distance, pace and speed, elevation and even heart rate when used in conjunction with a monitor. A quick-release bike mount even keeps the watch front and center while riding, and a new ‘Virtual Racer’ feature lets athletes compete against their best times. Battery life is rated around 20 hours, but I’m assuming with the GPS functionality disabled you can get away with wearing it as a regular watch for a few days between charges. And of course all of the data the watch collects can be offloaded to your PC for analysis, or uploaded to the Garmin Connect online community if you’re particularly competitive. Pricing and availability are still TBA.

[ PR – The Ultimate Multisport Training Experience: Garmin Forerunner 910XT ] VIA [ SlashGear ]