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Tag Archives: GPS

DeLorme’s inReach Handheld GPS Can Send Emergency SMS Messages

DeLorme inReach (Images courtesy DeLorme)
By Andrew Liszewski

GPS-equipped smartphones have slowly been replacing dedicated GPS units because quite frankly, they just do more. But DeLorme is making a strong case for still carrying a separate GPS navigation device, particularly their new inReach which allows you to send SMS messages using the Iridium satellite phone system. From basically anywhere on Earth. Because it’s clearly lacking a keyboard or touchscreen display, the inReach allows you to create three different emergency messages before you head out on your adventure. Then when things go wrong you can send the one that’s most appropriate for your dire situation. When the SOS indicator light on the inReach changes color, you’ll know that your message was received and that help is on the way.

The inReach can also be paired with an Android smartphone, allowing you to send 160 character messages as emails, SMS, or even update Facebook and Twitter with your recent exploits, or a final goodbye if you’re in real trouble. The device also sends your location data back to the DeLorme servers where friends and family can track your location online. The service will start at $9.95 per month for basic safety, and goes up from there if you need the advanced messaging and tracking. As for the price of the hardware and availability? Currently unknown.

[ DeLorme inReach—two-way satellite communication ] VIA [ Werd & Wired Gadget Lab ]

Topcon’s IP-S2 Lite System Could Add Road Conditions To GPS Map Data

Topcon IP-S2 Lite System (Images courtesy DigInfo TV)
By Andrew Liszewski

At the 3D & Virtual Reality Exhibition, which was recently held in Tokyo, a Japanese company called Topcon revealed a new scanning system that could one day bring road condition data to GPS devices. The system, known as IP-S2 Lite, uses a 360° camera combined with a laser scanner, an inclinometer and GPS positional data to generate a 3D representation of where it’s being driven through. The data allows accurate measurements to be made of everything captured in the video, including distance height and surface.

Most recently the new system was used to evaluate the damage and condition of roads in Japan in areas that were damaged by the recent earthquake. But it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to assume that it could also be used to generate accurate map data for GPS devices that better reflected the 3D nature of roadways like hills, dips and maybe even particularly egregious potholes.

[ DigInfo TV - Road Condition Evaluation System Measures Distance, Height and Area ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Rand McNally Unveils Their TripMaker RVND Navigation Device Designed Specifically For RV Enthusiasts

Rand McNally TripMaker RVND (Images courtesy Rand McNally)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s nothing stopping you from using it in your tiny new Fiat 500, but you’ll probably appreciate Rand McNally’s new TripMaker RVND 5510 GPS navigation device even more if you’re behind the wheel of a hefty recreational vehicle. When it comes to mapping out your route, the RVND 5510 will actually take into consideration the type, size and length of the RV you’re driving and will direct you to routes that are safe for travel with a large vehicle, even so far as to prioritize right-hand turns.

The RVND is also considerably larger than your standard GPS device, including a bigger screen (480×272 resolution), larger on-screen buttons and a speaker with a bit more kick. And judging by the product shot, it also includes a pop-out stylus. On the software side you have access to 14 million points of interest (in the U.S. I assume) including 13,000+ RV parks and campgrounds with necessary RV-friendly amenities. There’s even listings for 24,000+ pet-friendly locations like animal hospitals since you’re probably not going to leave any pets at home during a long vacation. Available starting in June for $349.99.

[ Rand McNally TripMaker RVND ]

Citizen Eco-Drive Satellite Wave Watch Gets Time From The Sky

By David Ponce

Some watches use radio signals to calibrate the time. While these work, they’re not perfect systems as the further away you are from the broadcasting station, the poorer your reception will be. But Citizen’s recently announced Eco-Drive Satellite Wave watch gets its sync data from any of 24 GPS satellites constantly orbiting earth. Since the entire point of the GPS system is to be able to geo-locate anywhere on the planet, you’ll be able to tell what time it is even if you’re stranded in the arctic.

The price has not been announced yet, but since this is a limited edition run and it has a part ceramic case, we’re expecting it to not tread on the side of cheap. We do know that it will be available in Fall 2011.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Pentax’s New Ultra-Rugged Optio WG-1 Does GPS Too

Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS (Image courtesy Pentax)
By Andrew Liszewski

Well Canon, I’m afraid your GPS monopoly on P&S cameras is now over because today Pentax announced their new Optio WG-1 which also includes GPS geo-tagging. Now I don’t think it can double as a GPS logger like Canon’s new SC230 HS does, but the Optio WG-1 brings its own unique feature set to the table. Namely the fact that it’s built Tonka-tough.

On the technical side you get a 14MP sensor, 2.7-inch 16:9 widescreen LCD display, 720P video capture with HDMI out, a 5X internal optical zoom lens (28-140mm) and a fun ‘Enhanced Digital Microscope’ mode which uses a set of 5 LEDs around the lens to ensure smooth and even lighting when shooting in macro mode. And on the ‘that’s one tough SOB side’ the WG-1 GPS not only looks like it can take a licking, but the housing is waterproof to 33 feet (usable when submerged), shockproof up to 5 foot drops, crushproof up to 220 pounds of force and can withstand temps as low as 14°F. Available in April the Optio WG-1 GPS will sell for $399.95 while a non-GPS version is a bit cheaper at $349.95.

[ Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS ]

Callaway Reveals Its New upro mx GPS Device – Should Probably Just Release An iPhone App Already

Callaway's upro mx GPS Device (Images courtesy Callaway)
By Andrew Liszewski

Yesterday Callaway revealed an updated version of their upro handheld GPS device, now bestowed with an ‘mx’ after its name, and a full-color multi-touch and gesture-friendly 2.2-inch LCD display. Obviously designed and optimized for use on golf courses, the upro mx comes pre-loaded with maps for more than 25,000 courses around the world, including high-resolution aerial photography of each course which apparently only they offer. And while there’s enough content on the device to get you going right out of the box, you can also download more detailed data for where you’re playing including a Virtual Green View with exact putting distances, SmartView which calculates the best virtual view based on where you’re standing and AnyPoint technology for extremely accurate distance measures.

The Callaway upro mx will be available in May for just $199, but I have to wonder why it couldn’t also be available as an iPhone app. I’m sure it’s still a must-have for some professional golfers who need highly accurate GPS distance readings, but I think the casual links player would find it far more convenient to have this built-in to their phone. And if that database of 25,000+ courses is too hefty to download at once, users could simply pull down offline copies of courses as needed. I’m fairly certain even the most avid of golfers won’t be playing at all 25,000 courses in their collection.

[ PR - Callaway Golf Introduces Next Generation upro GPS Device ]

DIY Reverse-Geocaching Briefcase

By Chris Scott Barr

Here’s a really cool idea. Let’s say you want to give someone an item, but you really want to make them work for it. There are many ways you could do it, but few as interesting as this DIY reverse-geocaching briefcase. What does it do? Well it can be programmed with specific coordinates, and will only open with the briefcase is actually in the listed spot.

The case uses an Arduino, GPS sensor and some cool-looking nixie tubes to pull off this feat. Once the location has been programmed, it will use the GPS sensor, then display the distance to the location on the tubes. Once you’ve gotten to the spot, a motor will release the latch holding it closed. Expect to see something like this in the next James Bond movie, only with a bomb as the contents.

[ Arduino ] VIA [ Make ]

[CES 2011] Nike’s TomTom Powered GPS SportWatch

Nike+ SportWatch GPS (Images property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

Realizing that not everyone likes to jog or run with an iPod strapped to their arm, Nike has created a new watch that works in tandem with their in-shoe Nike+ Sensor and provides the same functionality already built-into the iPods and their iPhone app. The advantage to using this watch though is that it’s not only waterproof, but it also features TomTom GPS hardware built-in. So while it’s keeping track of your steps via the in-shoe sensor, it’s also tracking where they’ve been taken, allowing your route to be analyzed on the Nikeplus.com website. And in order to keep things simple and battery life as lengthy as possible, the watch syncs to your PC, and the Nike+ website, via a USB connector integrated into the watch strap.

The watch sports an inverted monochrome LCD display and a robust UI that’s easy to navigate via a couple of buttons on the side of the case. And besides just keeping track of how far you’ve run and where you’ve been, the watch will also compare your performance against past results to let you know if you’ve improved, and of course will even nag you when you haven’t gotten out for a bit of exercise in a while. The Nike+ SportWatch GPS will be available on April 1, and while not specified, we were told that pricing should be comparable to other GPS-equipped watches already on the market.

[ Nike+ SportWatch GPS ]

Garmin chirp – Designed By Geocachers For Geocachers

Garmin chirp (Images courtesy Garmin)
By Andrew Liszewski

Designed to serve as a cheap, compact (slightly larger than a quarter) and durable wireless beacon for those who enjoy geocaching, Garmin’s new chirp sells for just $22.99 and provides a remote way to pass on clues, coordinate data and even a confirmation that a geocacher is close to the actual cache, whatever it may be. Assuming of course that everyone in the hunt is using a compatible Garmin GPS device which is required to access or program the chirp’s secrets. With its waterproof housing and battery life rated for an entire year the chirp can run autonomously for longer than most geocaching adventures require, and organizers of the hunt will also appreciate that it keeps track of every visitor to successfully find and access its data.

[ Garmin Chirp ] VIA [ SlashGear ]