December 5, 2006

Inrix - Increased Traffic Flow Coverage - 47,000 miles and Counting


Inrix announced today that they will expand their real time flow coverage to 73 metro markets around the country. This represents expanded coverage of up to 47,000 miles of roadway. Recall that Inrix has the "Dust Network" of 600,000+ fleet vehicles (delivery trucks, etc), that feed GPS data back alerting them to street level traffic situations, and they use fixed sensors like roadway flow monitors.

Inrix provides feed data to most GPS systems that run on either the TMC delivery system from Clear Channel or the TomTom PLUS system; yup both use Inrix data. I still believe that intelligent GPS units that can deal with traffic situations in realtime will be a huge part of the navigation system appeal for years to come. You can't want one of these things for the once per year road trip, I want it to guide me daily and cut my commuting time in the process.

Press release and coverage map link follows...

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Philips Kills GPS Plans

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Philips will not enter the GPS navigation market as earlier announced. The decision was arrived at because Phillips says that the declining prices and margins make the market unattractive as many other manufacturers are rushing into the market, driving average retail prices down. Philips is the largest European electronics manufacturer, and one has to think that the folks at TomTom are breathing a sigh o relief.

Philips announced their intention to get into the market last June, then we got a glimpse of the new Philips GPS units (PNS 100, 120, 150) in July, and then finally in September they announced a delay of the GPS entries into the market, citing at the time, "We are still very motivated and committed to enter this market." I guess it just wasn't in the cards.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 4, 2006

NAVTEQ To Crowdsource Points of Interest (POI) Database

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So while TeleAtlas is crowdsourcing their map development to some extent, NAVTEQ is getting distributed development of their Points of Interest database. They announced that they are going to have retailers like Starbucks, Walgreens and Outback Steakhouse directly access the POI database to keep things accurate and up to date. This is good news for people who use realtime updated search tools like ones available online, but for those of us who have portable navigation devices, it still means that the once per year update is going to be the slow way to get upgraded.... but at least it will be more accurate when it does get updated. Don't forget that the Dash Express GPS system will be updating this type of information in realtime via its two way onboard cellular system. (Dash is using TeleAtlas as a supplier though.)

More on the NAVTEQ press release below

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

December 3, 2006

Traffic Services Overview

The NYT published an article that takes a birdseye view of traffic prediction and assesses the service offerings. They briefly talk about the different data gathering technologies, including the Inrix Dust Network that we've talked about a lot here. The article is a good little read if you are new and want to understand about traffic services, and they even talk about the downsides of each technology to some degree. They don't however mention the future launch of the Dash Express GPS that will be able to network with other Dash Express GPS units to get a better picture of traffic issues.

ReadMore at NYT

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

GPS Buddy Tracking with Cell Phones

The Boston Globe published a good article that talks about what technologies are out there to track friends who have GPS enabled Cellphones. They talk about Boost Loopt, the new Helio phone that comes with a Buddy Beacon feature, Mologogo, Dodgeball and the fact that there are already 100 million subscribers with GPS enabled phones in the US, with another 65 million more coming in the next year. (That's about half the population of the US!) Apparently not all of these can send a GPS beacon as to where you are though.

ReadMore at the Boston Globe

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 1, 2006

CES Awards 2007 for New GPS Units

CES GPS Award Winners

Update: Check out all the new GPS units at CES 2007...


So you may be wondering where all this recent information about GPS units is coming from.... It's the holiday shopping season right? Well it's also the lead up to the all important Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. Well a lot of manufacturers are working hard to get their products ready to show off to the public, and as a result a lot of new information is spilling out about them, some the from of leaks, and awards from the CES sponsors. This year, Alpine is being hailed with a Best Innovation award for mobile electronics for their PMD-B200 GPS unit that snaps into a dash head unit (IVA-W205) to create an integrated audio visual and GPS system. The PMD-B200 unit can also be snapped out to be used in another vehicle.

Other honorees in the GPS space are Garmin for their Nuvi 670 product that combines GPS functionality with SPOT information broadcast technology, Dash navigation for their two way connected GPS units, Pharos for their iGPS-500 system that allows consumers to add on GPS capability to their laptops, smartphones or pocket PC, RoadMax for their VMax361 GPS, and finally TomTom for their affordable TomTom ONE.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Alpine PMD-B200 GPS Unit

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Alpine has the PMD-B200 GPS unit coming out that snaps into a dash head unit (IVA-W205) to create an integrated audio, visual and GPS system. The PMD-B200 unit can also be snapped out to be used in another vehicle. Not a bad innovtion, as it takes a big negative out of the whole in-dash unit situation. Many people cite the lack of portability (and huge costs0 for not buying in-dash navigation systems. Portable GPS devices are expected to be 5-10 times more popular in the coming years than their in-dash counterparts. Maybe Apline has something here.
Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

RoadMax VMax361

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The new highly affordable (A little over $300 at Amazon) RoadMax vmax361 features an easy-to-read 3.5-inch LCD touch-control display to assist drivers in finding an address location. Primary controls include: Destination, View, Function and Settings. Other convenient navigation features includes a volume adjustable Voice Prompt option as well as search by Address, Intersection or Points-of-Interest. The vmax361 includes a suction type window mount kit for quick installation and easy transfer between vehicles. Included, is a 12V lighter power cord. It also includes a rechargeable internal battery to allow users to stay powered up between transfers from vehicle-to-vehicle. The vmax361 comes with a pre-loaded Secure Digital (SD) card of the entire USA and Canada.

* Portable Stand-Alone GPS Navigation
* Easy-to-View 3.5" Touch Screen Panel
* Foldable GPS Antenna (SiRF-enabled 12-channel)
* Voice Prompt Navigation
* Intuitive, Easy-to-use Interface
* Configurable Electronic Maps (USA/Canada or Europe)
* Selectable Viewing Format (2D, 3D or Turn-by-Turn)
* Search by Address, Intersection or Points of Interest
* Automatic Re-Routing and Fast Route Calculation
* Continuously Updated Driving Distance and Time
* Window Mount Kit for Quick, Easy Installation

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

Bushnell ONIX 400CR

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Bushnell is upping the ante a bit here after their announcement of the car nav system, the NAV-500 and the handhelds, Onix 200 and Onix 200 CR; now launching this beauty, the Onix 400CR, a color handheld GPS with downloadable maps and aerial photos as well as XM weather feeds. This means that you can get storm warnings as well as doppler radar images superimposed on the screen with your maps. Very cool. I hoped and prayed for this kind of ability in a handheld as Garmin announced this overlay capability on the GPSMap 376C in July, 2005; technology re-application is great. What they can do in a marine unit, I want in my handheld.

feature list below....

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 30, 2006

The Trouble with TeleAtlas Maps and What's the Future Direction

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I wanted to get this up and posted about what my opinions are on TeleAtlas, and where I think things are going. Many people familiar with the GPS world have come across the dialog that TeleAtlas maps in the US are not as accurate, or are not as up to date as people think they should be. Me included.

From what I have seen, the GPS units that have used NAVTEQ maps are more up to date versus those that use TeleAtlas. I think that TeleAtlas is changing and is on the move to update their maps quickly, making step changes in their accomplishments, and not just small mediocre incremental changes. Why do I think this?

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

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