Skip to main content

Pocket Map Drag Race 2.0!

About 3 years ago, I did an web page on my old site comparing PDA mapping software. Boy, have things changed in the short time since I wrote that page. The standalone PDA is pretty much extinct, as is the concept of mapping software for that particular platform(at least for now). The closest you get these days is laptop/GPS software. Delorme and Microsoft are the two players in that, and Delorme may be prettier, but Microsoft is by far the better software in accuracy and ease of use, and if the reviews are anything to go by, they actually listen to their users. Microsoft still has an option to export Streets and Trips maps to mobiles-though this may be limited to the Mobile Windows platform. I have a Windows machine, and S&T 2010 looks pretty good on the shelf, it may be worth the cash to have a look at.

There are oodles of Car GPS's, but most aren't really handy for toting around. So if you want maps that you can actually tote around in a reasonably convenient format, you're really looking at mobile phones. The iPhone/iPod touch has G-Map, which emulates an auto-based GPS, and is supposed to be coming out now. That would be the closest thing to a Mapololis-type programme available.

The iPhone/iPod Touch can access Google Maps(the latter via wireless with no GPS functionality), as can the Palm Pre, and Blackerry. The Pre and the iPhone have the programme already installed. You have to download the Blackberry app. The functionality of these are dependent on signal quality, with a good 3G signal, these will be fast and responsive; otherwise it's catch as catch can. Likewise with carrier-provided services.

As far as these go, if you have a good signal, they're close to the quality of an auto GPS. I've used the Verizon VZ Navigator on the LG Dare and Sprint's Navigator on the Palm Pre. Verizon has a subscription fee, Sprint gives you the service as part of the $99 everything but the kitchen sink plan that comes with the Pre. Verizon has very flexible routing-In my work I have to avoid parkways.. With a standard auto GPS, it will try it's damnedest to route you via a parkway. With VZ Navigator, if you block the parkway on the routing, it 'gets it', and reroutes around it accordingly. I have yet to try that on the Pre, but will upd*te that when I do. the Sprint Nav will also note the addresses of any contacts that you have stored in the phone. Both Verizon and Sprint offer search without nav-with reasonably Boolean type search, and search by postcode. Since the Pre has an actual keyboard, input is easier than on-screen keyboards.

The Blackberry experience depends on which model you have. The units with the actual keyboard are likely easier for input, but you sacrifice screen real estate. I don't see that as a good trade. I'd sooner have the screen. Blackberry has it's own mapping service-and the maps aren't as pretty as Sprint's or Verizon's, but you'll get the data you need. Blackberry's maps can be tied in with the Superpages app on Verizon, which is pretty handy. Again, as with any other phone based app, response depends on signal.

Blackberry via Verizon and Sprint/Sprint Nav are likely your best value for money, since they're free if you have an unlimited data plan. VZ Nav costs money, but the accuracy and utility are decent. The thing I like about carrier provided maps, is that you don't have to maintain files on your device-which saves space for moar important things like music and pr0n! Google is Google. The plus to Google is that you can see aerials, and there's Google Earth for the iPhone/iPod Touch. All free, of course.

One other thing worth mentioning is that the Pre and the Blackberry(and probably the iPhone) can also geotag the pictures you take with them. The Blackberry has direct uploads to flickr and Facebook, too. The cameras on both the Pre and Blackberry, while not fantastic are at least passable. The BB has external storage-which is another plus.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The original alignment of California State Route 1 in San Francisco

In 2019 the Gribblenation Blog Series covered the history of the Hyde Street Pier and the original surface alignment of US Route 101 in San Francisco.  Given the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic in May of 1937 coupled with the fact that the Sign State Routes had been announced in August of 1934 there were still some open questions regarding the original highway alignments in San Francisco.  Namely the question of this blog is; where was California State Route 1 prior to the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge?  Thanks the to the discovery of a 1936 Shell Highway Map of San Francisco and the California Highways & Public Works the answer can be conveyed clearly.     Part 1; the history of early California State Route 1 in San Francisco The genesis point for California State Route 1 ("CA 1") in San Francisco dates to 1933.  1933 was significant due to the State Legislature allowing the Division of Highways to assume maintenance of highways in Cities for the first time. 

Former California State Route 24 through the Kennedy Tunnel and Old Tunnel Road

 Near the eastern City Limit of Oakland high in the Berkeley Hills one can be find the ruins of the Kennedy Tunnel at the intersection of Old Tunnel Road and Skyline Boulevard.  The Kennedy Tunnel opened in 1903 and was the first semi-modern automotive corridor which crossed the Alameda County-Contra Costa County Line.  The Kennedy Tunnel even saw service briefly as part of California State Route 24 before the first two bores of the Caldecott Tunnel opened in 1937.   Part 1; the history of the Kennedy Tunnel The genesis point for California State Route 24 ("CA 24") being extended into the San Francisco Bay Area begins a couple years before the Sign State Routes were announced when Legislative Route Number 75 ("LRN 75") was added by 1931 Legislative Chapter 82.  According to cahighways.org the original definition of LRN 75 was as simply "Walnut Creek to Oakland."  The instigator for the adoption of LRN 75 was construct a replacement route for the Ken

Santa Clara County Route G8 and the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine

Santa Clara County Route G8 is a 29.38 mile County Sign Route which is part of the San Francisco Bay Area transportation corridor.  Santa Clara County Route G8 begins at California State Route 152 near the outskirts of Gilroy and terminates at former US Route 101 at 1st Street/Monterey Road near downtown San Jose.  Santa Clara County Route G8 incorporates the notable Almaden Expressway and is historically tied to the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine.   (Santa Clara County Route G8 map image courtesy CAhighways.org) Part 1; the history of Santa Clara County Route G8, the Almaden Road corridor and New Almaden Mine The present corridor of Santa Clara County Route G8 ("G8") began to take shape with the emergence of the Almaden Expressway.  According to the October 1960 California Highways & Public Works Unit 1 of the Almaden Expressway opened in November of 1959 between Alma Avenue near downtown San Jose south to the Guadalupe River as part of a Federal Highway Aid Secondary pro