Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Uses for That GPS

The Nokia Guide have a great article about more uses of GPS. This is very good informatian for Nokua E90 user :)

So you got that fancy new Nokia with the GPS feature, what’s next? Most people just tend to use the Nokia Maps and that’s it. While the Nokia Maps is a great and useful app, there’s so much more you could do. I’ve looked around and come up with a few options to help you get just a little bit more out of that GPS feature. Before you add any of these apps I do recommend always keeping your device up-to-date by getting the latest firmware.

This not only helps by making the device more stable, adds fixes, sometimes making the device faster, but also new features are constantly added, one of them is: Assisted GPS (A-GPS).
Assisted GPS (A-GPS) is an enhanced version of GPS. A-GPS retrieves assistance data over a data connection (like GPRS or 3G), which helps GPS
in your device to calculate the coordinates of your current location when your device is receiving signals from satellites.

A-GPS is designed to get a fix on satellites faster and more reliably, meaning you get a smoother GPS experience. It reduces the time a GPS enabled device requires to find its current position, known as Time To First Fix (TTFF), for most geographical locations worldwide. A-GPS is most useful in urban areas, where you could be navigating through "urban canyons", or in a moving car.A-GPS improves user experience in all applications which are using integrated GPS in your device.”

This feature was added to the N95 through a firmware upgrade, by not keeping your device up-to-date you could miss these type of features. It is rumored that the E90 will also get the feature pretty soon.

Now that we have that covered let’s have look at the apps. Let’s start with the obvious one first. Nokia Sports Tracker is a GPS based activity tracker. GPS is used to find information such as speed, distance and time and these are automatically stored to your training diary. Next we have LOCR (Locator), Shozu and Yahoo ZoneTag, all of these can be used to upload photo’s, but the neat part is that all of them can geo-tag your images. Basically they use your built-in GPS to find the exact coordinates of where the image was taken. Flickr and Google Maps can then be used to show the location. How cool is that?!

How about some games? The first one is The Journey and its successor The Journey II. These are basically location based adventure games. These use the phone’s GPS capabilities to keep track of your movements. You start the game at a default location, maybe your home and during the course of the game you’ll have to take your mobile and use your actual streets and surroundings to play the game. The game saves the locations and in the course of the story you will have to return to your default location. It’s a cool idea, but I do suggest using your home as the default location you have to return to. If you’re more into racing games there’s Realreplay. You simply choose the track you want to race on, select your opponent and start right away! Your own race will be recorded by the GPS system, which makes it possible to see your own current position and the route your opponent took when he or she recorded his or her race. In some games this is known as the “Ghost” mode.

And lastly we have the Google Mobile Maps. I’m a bit unsure about this one, but I’m going to add it anyway. There’s no mention that it uses GPS (that I know of) but it upon first usage it was centered exactly where I’m located. So maybe, just maybe it somehow uses the GPS system.

Well that’s more apps then what I initially thought would be available. I’m pretty there are a few more, but I will keep you updated once I find a few more. What other GPS enabled apps do you know of?

If you’re more into astronomy there’s one of my favorites: Microsky. MicroSky is a planetarium for mobile devices with Java-support and a connection to the Internet (preferably GPRS or UMTS). It is a very small J2ME-Midlet client/server application which retrieves its starcharts from the skyserver. It can display 2.500.000 stars, 8.000 deep sky objects, the constellations, the planets, local horizon, 1000 current comets, and minor planets. The great thing is that I found out that it actually uses the N95’s built-in GPS receiver, but just make sure that another app that uses the GPS like SportsTracker is open. You can get a free copy of MicroSky here.


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