Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Google Maps Mobile

As you know, I love Google Maps! And now, I've got Google Maps on my phone!

I already have Rand McNally StreetFinder on the phone which is integreted with the phone's GPS system. (We understand, of course, that phones don't really use GPS, the use LBS.) This is a wonderful program as it is actually a client application, which makes it much more flexible than a standalone GPS device. It uses the location based services to locate the phone within a few hundred feet, and downloads the street and neighborhood info for that area. As a result of this download, I can start keying in a destination address, and the system will search memory first, and on the server if needed. Generally, it can find any address within half a dozen characters.

Now that it has both the current location and destination, it hands the data up to the server, which calculates the route, and downloads maps to the phone. Since it is constantly communicating with the server, the information is reasonably up to date, and I don't need to worry about updating the program. The downside is that it is a subscription based service, but at $4.95 a month, I can afford to run it for a long time before buying a real GPS.

I use a similar process to drive my Bunger Tracker system, though I let Google provide the maps, and skip the downloads.

Now to Google Maps Mobile: I stumbled upon http://www.google.com/gmm, which explained that if visited the site on my phone, I could download the application. There was a hardware compatibility list of supported phones, it did not show the cost of this service. I figured the only way to find out was to try it... and you know what?

Its free!

The bad news: no GPS integration. The good news: satellite images.

1 comment:

  1. Doug,

    How did you configure the software for http://www.bunger.us/tracker/ ? It looks like a pretty cool feature, is there simply a client piece I need to run on my phone to upload it's location to goggle maps? Thanks!