Outdoor Gadgets

Outdoors Show 2006

I spent a very enjoyable Saturday this weekend, helping to man the Ordnance Survey stand at the Outdoors Show, a public exhibition for everybody who enjoys the outdoors.

Amongst all the stands showing canoes, sleeping bags, climbing ropes, and maps !! what really got my interest was the every growing number of vendors of “high tech” equipment that offer, in effect, consumer GIS software.

Doing very good business were Memory Map, Anquet and Fugawi all selling applications which provide the display of OS Landranger and Explorer mapping on PC’s, and most relevantly on PDA’s and Smartphones.

Garmin had a large stand with their wide range of consumer focused GPS recievers, including the nuvi, which I blogged about last year

But “Best of Show” for me was some real innovation from a small Cambridge company, Viewranger. The OS research team have demonstrated in the past a PDA prototype “Magic window”, which demonstrated the concept of using a mobile device and a geographic information to allow users to identify geographic features based on their location and the know location of the viewer.

Magic Window

It’s fantastic to see Ordnance Survey partners making these concepts reality, ViewRanger is an immersive mapping tool that displays a labelled representation of a view from any particular point on a GPS enabled, symbian based mobile phone.

Viewranger

It also allows users to upload “tags” or comments and photographs of particular locations onto a central server, where they can be shared, a very nice touch and another example of how important social networking techniques will be for geographic information.

Viewrangers’ Mike Brocklehurst, told me they are working on a windows mobile version of this application, so although its still early days – it clear outdoor gadgets are becoming very cool !

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

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