Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finally: G-Map hits the road!

Well, at least this time, XRoad kept their promise to release G-Map "in mid December 2008". As for now, a version of the western US is available trough the AppStore for the reasonable price of 20 US$.

The Screenshots also look very promising and also the feature list is neat. Unfortunately, there is no demo version available at this time. On G-Map's support site, there is a web form that has a dropdown list which mentions US east and North America, so those are likely to be released very soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Navionics Viewer, now available to US customers

"You can see your GPS position, tap the screen to zoom in and out, scroll the chart, query objects, find your favorite marina or ski hut with their phone number, find the trail best suitable for your skill level or your hottest fishing spot, and so on."

This is what they say on their website, and unfortunately, that's it. Navionics will bring you Maps. All you can do is look at them and have your current position displayed by a red circle on the map. That's it. To me, this is very disappointing.

Maybe the focus were naval users, at least you get a very strong impression that they were.... the "land" maps are not usable to hikers or bikers or whoever. Maybe that's the point, but I still don't get why there is nothing more to navigate other than displaying your position? You can't even set a destination and plot a course.

Although the Navionics packages have a greate map coverage each than the Charts&Tides packages, I wouldn't buy them at all, altough both cost approximately the same. Not only will you get "real" navigation with Charts&Tides, but also will Navionics' packages cost 99 $ after the introduction phase. No thanks.

Navionics should do their homework first. In the end, their application offers nothing more than the "Water Map Navigators" at this time for a multiple of the price. So why should anyone want to buy something like this?

PathAway coming to iPhone next year!

PathAway, a software that may be known to GPS users that use bitmap charts for biking, hiking etc. on their PDA in particular, will come to the iPhone some time next year (which is - awesome!)!

PathAway is a powerful chart plotter that is capable of handling everything you might ever want to use. This includes custom charts, tracks, waypoints, POIs, routes, proximity alarms and all that other fancy stuff you might get from a GPS device, ever.

There also is a "Professional Edition" that will add wireless services to the already comprehensive feature list of the "Standard Edition" like life tracking or downloading (Google) maps over the air.

The regular price is 59,95 US$ for the Standard Edition and 95 US$ for the Professional Edition.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New features to Garafa, LLC's "GPS Kit"

Garafa, LLC have released the best GPS suite available in the AppStore at this time: GPS Kit. It features almost everything you would expect from a proper GPS device like tracking, waypoints and even map plotting.

But all this is subject to becoming even better with future releases. According to tech support, the next update will feature GPX import (yes!!!) and they're working on a version that should be able to cache maps so that you have them ready in areas without a network/cellular connection.

Altough this is great and it definedly is a step in the right direction, I'm still missing an application that would allow me to use my own maps AND has waypoint and route import via GPX.

In other news, well, there is no news on G-Map or 3DVU yet ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why is there no GPX import?

There are a lot of navigation applications on the AppStore and even most of them deserve the category. Somehow.
Well, unfortunately, there are quite too much that do too little (in my opinion). For example, have a look at all the tracking and compass tools. Then there are all those "car finders" and all the other finders that will e.g. find Startbucks or Target stores for you.

On a proper GPS or navigation device, you'll have it "all in one". For example, there are POI (points of interest) databases built into most GPS receivers which can be expanded easily. Most of the manufacturers use proprietary data formats, but there also is the "uber" format GPX, which is open and well known. Beside that, there are converters from virtually any format to GPX and vice versa.

So, why is there no application that imports GPX data? For example, you could create a hiking route on your favourite PC application (like OziExplorer, Fugawi or TTQV) and then export it to the iPhone. You wouldn't neccesarily need a map, the route itself would be quite helpful...

Offline maps are no issue, as well as the import of data. Just look at the "Charts&Tides" maps or apps like "Air Sharing". So, there should be no technical issues...
Maybe there is no need for such an application? Or maybe, the developers just haven't realized a need for such an application or feature. I have! ;-)
It also might be a fear of the developers, being rejected because of the "no turn by turn" agreement section of the iPhones SDK...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Xroads G-Map delayed, no sign of 3dvu yet

Well, obviously Xroad finally realized that it ain't november no more, so they changed their announcement on the Q.T. The website now reads "G-Map will be available in mid of December, 2008." instead of "early November" (which it did, in fact, still on December 1st).
There is no sign why this delay might have happened, maybe it is AppStore approval related, but most likely it is not.

Beside that, there's nothing new about 3dvus applicaton yet. Last month, they promised to have it ready "next month" which is December. But as December just has begun, we still can wait a little longer easily.