TomTom Go and the diminishing cost of live traffic data when driving

Today with Tomtom Go you pay 20CHF per year for the maps and traffic information. When I first bought the TomTom Europe apps for iOS and Android they cost about 170CHF an operating system. If my memory serves me well traffic information would cost an additional 100 CHF per year.

As a result of the high cost for traffic information I was in the habit of using Waze. As long as you have a data connection you get maps and traffic information for free. It would save you 270 CHF initially.

When you live in the french speaking part of Switzerland you are just minutes from France and within hours you can be in Germany, Austria and Italy. As a result having maps pre-loaded in to your navigation is useful. That’s where Tomtom at 20CHF per year becomes interesting. The maps available are for individual countries, for Western, Europe, Eastern Europe, the whole of Europe, The Caribbean, North America and South America. Each of these maps can be downloaded ahead of a trip and used.

This means that once you’ve paid your 20 CHF you have maps for the world, not just for your daily commute.

I am so convinced by Tomtom’s new philosophy that I have uninstalled Waze and will now use Tomtom primarily and Google maps as a backup.

Turn by turn navigation with the Nokia N97

Last night I recovered my N97 after lending it to a friend for a few days and he told me it was too complicated to use, which I do agree with, after seeing how easy the 3gs is, but that’s not the point of this post. Turn by turn navigation is.

For those of you who know me you’ll have heard that I’ve used the N95, N97 and Iphone for navigation and each has it’s strengths and weaknesses. Mainly the biggest weakness is having to wait until you’re stopped at a traffic light before checking whether you were going the right way or not. That has now changed.

Nokia have recently come out with an excellent, yes, that’s my opinion, add on to the maps software that provides turn by turn navigation with a choice of hundreds of voices. That’s what makes the Nokia N97 such a great, although expensive GPS. You select the voice, in my case female Canadian french, and she will tell you which way to go. She will tell you when you’re at a roundabout, whether to go right or left and more. Best of all her voice will allow you to keep your eyes on the road.

If you’re travelling with a fellow geek who can play with the phone whilst you’re driving then they will notice the counting down, telling you how far you are from the next change in direction, show a map of the route as a forerunner to the actual journey or even a map of the complete journey.

From what I’ve described above you see that the N97 behaves just like a dedicated navigation GPS that’s constantly online. As a result you get traffic information telling you what to look out for. It’s a beautiful piece of software and I’d love to go on a road trip to test it.

I’m in favour of this in car navigation. If you buy a GPS you’d pay 300-400CHF in some cases, several hundred CHF for the Iphone tom-tom app, or you could get it for free with your N97. The choice is yours. I’m very happy with how well it performed.

Three percent of people in Europe use maps on their mobile phone

According to the report, the majority of users — 73% in the United States and 57% in Europe — accessed mobile maps via the handset’s browser. Less than a third of customers in these markets used a downloaded application.

Source

In a town like Lausanne it would make sense to use google maps paired with the phone’s gps because there’s municipal wifi you don’t need to agree to for use. As a result it’d be much faster simply to load the appplication.

With time and as dat costs go down the trend of using Nokia’s in built maps will evolve…

Sports tracker and Google Earth

Six thousand steps later and I’ve created yet another track via the Sports tracker application for the N95. What’s fun is that within a few seconds of arriving home I can bluetooth the KML file to my laptop, open it in google earth and I’ve got an arerial view of the wintery walk I took

The walk I did earlier

If I could get a wintery map then it’d be perfect as the ground is covered in snow.

Update: I tested the “upload to service” and that’s interesting too. All the tracks are stored there and you can upload images and more. If you know a few people using the service you can compare your tracks with them. Failing that you can share with the world and see what they’ve added.

Sports tracker on the N95

It’s fun to walk fast and far, especially in the countryside where there are fewer people to avoid. I often walk for fourty minutes to an hour at the end of the day to think about the day and process all that’s happened. Recently though I realised one of the shorter walks is almost 3000 steps thanks to the N95 pedometer.

That’s because with the N95 you have a built in GPS and the ability to download applications. One of these is the sports tracker that allows you to track a number of variables across four to six screens. There’s the map view, map view with relevant details, co-ordinate view, speed view, pedometer and then three or four graphs, some for time in relation to speed, distance over time and height in relation to speed.

You can zoom in and out of the graphs as you’re walking. If you do this more than once it creates a series of tracks that you can easily translate to KML and importe to Google Earth so the world can see your walks. Of course keeping your privacy from some people may be desirable.

It’s a fun little addition to the n95 although the biggest drawback is you need to have it out in front of you to keep track of the satellites.