Thursday, June 29, 2006

New GPS System to Prevent Speeding

Canadians in Ottawa are testing a system that combines onboard GPS technology with a digital speed limit map. It looks and works like the current dash-mounted GPS navigation systems. However, this GPS system will prevent you from driving any faster than the posted speed limit for the route you’ve selected. What do you think?
Hit or Miss?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Time To Track Your Tracker

Thieves are no longer interested in your car, not as much as the high-tech stuff you carry in it. According to the FBI, BlackBerries, iPods and GPS systems are the new widely targeted devices.

The most recent crime statistics show that motor vehicle theft last year remained nearly the same as in 2004. But thefts of parts and accessories from vehicles has jumped 30% since 2000. Ofcourse this isn't hard to imagine, as tracking devices and radio-controlled ignition lockes have become standard - it would be pretty stupid for a thief to attempt to steal a vehicle. And, theifs, atleast the good ones, aren't stupid.

A GPS system on the other hand, easy as taking candy from a baby.

"There's no wires to cut or screw to pull out (as with) a radio," says Capt. John O'Leary of the Brookline, Mass., police, which has investigated a rash of the thefts. "You just pop off the suction cups."

Moral of the story? Time to buy your GPS system a GPS tracker.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Baby Mozart

Alright, well maybe not Mozart considering that this baby's (not sure if I can call him that) invention has nothing at all to do with music or its composition and everything to do with GPS. Jon Fischer, a 17-year-old from Lurenurg, Mass., was named the grand-prize winner at a competition sponsored by the Young Entrepreneur Foundation.

His company, Speed-Demon, developed a portable GPS box that mounts on a car dashboard and records what roads a driver travels on and at what speeds — allowing parents to monitor their children's driving habits. The product has a patent pending and is expected to cost $149 when manufactured.

Doubt his friends will appreciate the invention much but hey, he's now famous.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Google Earth on Linux

"Running on OS X? Feel the love. Prefer Linux? Ditto. Yes, we're releasing simultaneously for PC, Mac (universal binary for full performance on both Intel and PowerPC based Macs) and for the first time ever, native support for popular Linux distributions. And we should say "salut," "ciao," "hallo," and "hola" to our French, Italian, German and Spanish users, because Google Earth is now fully localized for those languages in addition to English." For all you Linux nerds out there, no need to fear, Linux Earth is here!

Alright, that was an awful introduction. But seriously, Google Earth is now Linux compatible. You can now download Google Earth 4. Oh and, for all you nonbelievers we've included a screenshot of Google Earth on Linux (burrowed from another blogger, link on bottom).

via [Gadgetizer]

Navigation in the New World

If you don't know where you are, you don't know where you're going, and you're too arrogant to stop and ask for directions then you're obviously lost. We humans do not like being forced to succumb to the sense of dread that accompanyies the state of being lost. Therefore, we've spend centuries developing new and improved navigation devices. From the circumnavigation of the globe, to map making, to the sextant, to the compass, to the creation of satellites, we've finally culminated in a technology of near perfection--today's GPS.

And guess what? The GPS models just get better and better. View a slide show of the ten great new GPS devices as proposed by Forbes Magazine.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Chaperone Your Kids via Verizon

Verizon's existing market is obviously not wide enough for them. They have tapped into their existing resources to recruit and embrace their new wave of clientele--the teenies. I profess that in about a year from now, we'll see oodles of children (about 8?) walking around permanently attached to their cell phones.

Although a great toy for the kids (shouldn't they be devoting their time to schooling?), the Chaperone lets a curious parent check on their child's location for $10/month, and for $20, Verizon can send alerts when the child crosses pre-set boundaries. But, what happens after that? Do you alert some kind of police service or what?

via [Yahoo!News]

Friday, June 09, 2006

Using Google Earth With Your GPS Device

GPS (Global Position System) device, you can connect it to your computer and import your waypoint and track data into Google Earth.

You will need either a serial or USB cable to connect the device to your computer. Typically, your device is sold with one type of cable. If your GPS device did not come with a cable, you can visit the manufacturer's web site to purchase the correct one for your model.

When your GPS data is imported into Google Earth, it is categorized into three possible folders, depending upon the type of point. These folders are*:

  1. Trackpoints
    Trackpoints are the points automatically recorded by the GPS device periodically along the recorded route. They can be imported into the Google Earth application as paths.
  2. Waypoints
    Waypoints are points entered manually by the user and typically marked with a name, such as "home" or "turnaround point."
  3. Routes
    Route points are those points that the GPS device uses to creating the routing, such as when you instruct the device to "go to" a recorded point from another recorded point. Route points can contain multiple connected "go to" instructions. They can be imported into the Google Earth application as paths.

To convert your GPS files into KML, you can use the form available here.

* via [keyhole]


Love do-it-yourself kits? The Lassen iQ FAT16 Datalogger is just what you need.
"Take a Lassen iQ, an SD memory card, a LPC2138 ARM processor, mix in some FAT16 firmware and you get the new GPS logger from Spark Fun Electronics. The Lassen iQ FAT16 Datalogger takes the GPS data from the Lassen iQ and records it onto the SD card in pure, beautiful text file format. This means you can record up to 440 hours onto a 256 megabyte SD card. That's two and a half weeks of every-second GPS location data!"

Steve built a waterproof version, see his journey here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

GPS for the Size Conscious

Looking for a pocket size GPS solution that you can also throw in you bag and haul just about anywhere? Well, it’s here. The PocketTrack Covert GPS Tracker is a tiny GPS logger that boasts 1MB of memory, allowing you to chronicle up to 4000 recordings. It documents months of travel by using state-of-the-art GPS Mapping Technologies to accurately display your location via graphical maps and 3D satellite images. The recorded information can then be uploaded onto your computer through the USB port, allowing you to “playback” the location of your adventures. It’s powered on 2 AAA batteries which have a life of up to 16 hours in high power mode and 5-7 days in low power. PocketTrack's unique power management features allow for an extended battery life—ideal for covert operations.

Initially, I was apprehensive about purchasing this product. There are seemingly better solutions on the market for similiar rates. However, size played an important role in my decision making process, as did functionality and usability. Ultimately, I can't say that I would have been any better off would I have purchased a larger system. I find the PocketTrack to be very reliable and dependable--a true bargain for the price. Definately worth every penny of its $249.95 price tag. And, best of all—it’s no bigger than your flash drive!