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Tag Archives: GPS

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 ]

‘Oh Music, Where Art Thou?’ App Uses Your Music As A Navigation Aid

Oh Music, Where Art Thou? App (Images courtesy Eindhoven)
By Andrew Liszewski

While turn-by-turn voice prompts certainly make navigating with a GPS device easier and safer while driving, they’re still not necessarily the best solution while riding a bike. Not having easy access to the navigation device, or more likely your smartphone, hinders their usability. So a team at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has created an interesting alternative.

Instead of a voice telling you to turn here or go there, their Oh Music, Where Art Thou? app adjusts the volume and left/right mix of your music, providing auditory hints of where you should be heading. So when you should be going to the right (not necessarily just a turn) the sound in your headphones would be heavier on the right side. And as you got closer to your destination, the music would get increasingly louder. Kind of like playing hot or cold.

What’s particularly nice about the system is that you don’t need to see your smartphone’s display at any time, and you’re not really limited to a specific predefined route. On the down side though, in order for the compass to accurately detect the position and orientation of your head to adjust the music accordingly, your device pretty much needs to be strapped to your noggin. Hence the special headphones pictured above.

If you’re curious how well it works, and happen to live in Stockholm, you can download a prototype version of the app for your Android smartphone here.

[ Oh Music, Where Art Thou? ] VIA [ NewScientist ]

Tagg Pet Tracker

Tagg Pet Tracker (Images courtesy Snaptracs)
By Andrew Liszewski

While your teenager might frown on having a GPS tracking device strapped to their neck, there’s nothing your pets can do about it. So the Tagg system is yet another GPS + cellular based solution that allows you to keep tabs on your animal if you’re the type who just lets them roam the neighborhood. The tracker itself is lightweight, but still designed for dogs and cats over 10lbs. And it can be worn 24/7, even while swimming. The battery’s good for up to 30 days, depending on your pet’s travels and usage patterns, and it can be easily recharged with an included base station.

Besides keeping track of where your pet has been and allowing you to see their meandering route on a map when logged into their website, the Tagg system also allows you to setup virtual perimeters. When your pet leaves this pre-defined area you’ll receive text or email notifications, depending on your preference. The Tagg also lets you know when the battery is nearing depletion so you can charge it up before it’s completely dead, and there’s a trip button allowing you to temporarily suspend alerts and notifications when you’re intentionally outside your perimeter. Available come September for $199.99 which includes a year of cellular service. Though I can’t seem to find what the service costs after that.

[ Tagg Pet Tracker ] VIA [ CNET ]

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 ]