Sometimes you just need to be found…

Remember in Thunderbirds where John Tracey would always be looking out for people in distress from his satellite Thunderbird 5 ? He never seemed to have to ask people where they were…

Something I have been working with the Android team on for the last few months is the Emergency Location Service, a feature on android phones that when supported by your network, sends a more accurate location from your phone to emergency services when you dial an emergency number.

To do this same location technologies available to apps on your phone, including Wi-Fi, GPS, and cell towers is used, to produce a more reliable emergency location both indoors and outdoors. Up until now in Europe only cell tower information has been used.

Testing in the UK has produced a order of magnitude improvement in the location accuracy made available to the emergency services.

More details on the Google Europe Blog..

If you are in the UK and have an android device this is working for you today !

Maposaurus how did I miss you !

I can’t believe I had not come across this video before, from a 2007 Superbowl advert from Garmin, the Maposaurus !

Happy Friday everyone !!

Written and submitted from the Google Offices, London (51.495N, 0.146W)

TomTom Go I-90 the end of the line for PND’s ?

The TomTom Go I-90 reports Engadget is a satnav that is built for permanent installation in the DIN slot of your cars dashboard. This immediately caught my interest as I want to replace the factory fit system in my 5 year old Nissan X-Trail, becase it is no longer possible to get map updates for it.

The new tomtom device sounds better integrated than my exsiting system and with the new mapshare terchnology promises more up to date navigation data, but it also I think represents the last generation of dedicated PND’s

The smartphone is becoming the converged device of choice for turn by turn directions, a fact recognised to their credit by tomtom  with their iphone app, although we are still to see the full potential of driving directions calculated in the cloud with real time data becoming a major compoent.

Perhaps the next generation of in car devices will become little more than monitors for displaying and controlling content from your smartphone? This is still I guess a few years away, in the meantime I will be looking at the I-90.

Written and submitted from the Googleplex, California (37.421N, 122.087W)

PND’s not dead yet..

Last Week saw TomTom announce a large drop in quarterly earnings , with sales of their iconic PND becoming more difficult, needing price reductions to keep sales moving.

Many are suggesting this is the natural evolution of the market, with saturation at a particular price point on one hand, while on the other, mobile phones with GPS are taking market share. I’m not sure I buy the mobile phone argument yet, for sure in the medium term converged mobile devices may make personal navigation devices obsolete, but I don’t think the current generation of mobile devices such as the N95 are there yet.

TomTom has a strong brand name and produce well designed products, (The Apple of GPS ?), maybe the issue is the more familar one of techncology adoption, are we seeing the chasm where early adopters have the devices, but mass-market users have not moved.

If your were to read some newspapers in the UK, you would believe that following the instructions of a “sat-nav” would a best lead you into a field, or at worse onto a railway line in front of a speeding express train.

These reports must have an impact on the buying behaviours of many mass-market consumers, but do they explain Tom Toms recent problem, or are there a group of potential consumers who still find the whole business too complicated and expensive for their needs ?

Is the PND yet to cross the chasm ?

Unlike my friend at lost in spatial, I don’t think this is related to an alien plot (Dr. Who viewers only reference).

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

The Knowledge beats Sat-Nav even South of the River..

An excellent BBC Click Online show which puts a sat-nav equiped car up against a London Taxi Driver to navigate around London. As you would expect the Cabbie wins, but it’s an excellent explanation of how satnav works warts and all.

Satnav challenge

At the end of the day like many other applications of Geospatial technology, it the data that makes all the difference.

Although this show is a lot better than many others I have seen, comparing a satnav to local knowledge is always unfair, local knowledge will always win, a better comparison is between satnav and a road atlas, or even asking people directions.

My Advice re choosing a GPS, never waste money on a factory fitted system, they are too expensive and are often a year or two behind the capabilities of modern Tom-Tom or Garmin system, however I just love the Ozzy Osbourne instructions driving instructions !

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