Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pushing the limits of GPS navigation

In the last few posts I have presented my thoughts on recent developments in mobile maps and related applications market, focusing especially on GPS navigation capabilities of mobile phones. Today just a brief reference to yet another option to consider: ALK CoPilot Live (for iPhone OS) - only US and Canada at the moment. iPhone version follows Windows Mobile and Symbian applications and I only mention it because it’s the first one marketed for under U$35.

There is a good range of options for getting road directions information on mobile phones, from basic and free Google Maps for mobiles, native iPhone and Nokia driving directions applications through to free, almost fully featured demo GPS navigation tool from NAVIGON and a range of inexpensive applications from all top GPS navigation service providers. As I already stated in my earlier post, mobile phones have become fully enabled GPS navigation devices, so not much more to be said on this topic unless we look beyond just “in-car navigation” and into augmented reality capabilities.

To kick start a new series of topics just a quick note about what does “augmented reality” concept mean. In simple words, Augmented Reality (AR) is a term referring to a capability of blending digital, computer-generated visual effects with real-time footage of a surrounding real-world environment. A practical example of implementation of this concept is a “Head-Up Display” in the latest BMW 7 Series Sedan:

[image courtesy of BMW]
“Head-Up Display presents important information - speed, navigation directions and alerts - directly in the driver's field of vision. The information is projected via the windscreen into the driver's field of vision, thus minimizing distraction. The virtual image appears approximately two metres away, at the end of the bonnet. The driver's attention stays on the road ahead and the eye strain of repeated refocusing is eliminated.”

There are also quite interesting early attempts to create augmented reality applications for mobile phones which I will review it in the next post on this topic.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


All Things Spatial said...

Hi Betty and thanks for your kind words! It's a great incetive for me to write regularly :-)