First of all I must apologise for the Blogfade. Over the last few weeks I’ve bought a new house and sold my own one which has caused a lot of stress and taken a lot of my time. Assuming that my sale goes through tomorrow, I wil be moving this weekend and life will get back to normal.
I’ve been busy on a lot of projects lately, one of which has been working on developing channels for GeoVector’s World Surfer product.
Worldsurfer is a location based application that runs on iPhone 3GS and Android mobiles which incorporate both GPS and Compass, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities.I have to say that even though the G1 I’m using currently is 1st generation Android, the combination of GPS and Compass is remarkably accurate. I suspect it is also using cell tower triangulation. It has my street address exactly correct even though I am inside my lounge, whereas my old phone using just Vodafone cell towers had my kitchen in one suburb and my lounge in another and I assure you my house is not that big.
The concept for this solution is that it provides for Location Based ‘Channels’ which allow you to search for Points of Interest based on your present location. A Channel is typically a category of POI (Points of Interest).
On the G1 that I am using at the moment I have the New Zealand channels that are currently available here. The first is GeoSmart, for whom I am the Sales & Marketing Manager.
GeoSmart is the company providing API’s, web services and web maps behind many leading web sites in NZ and services in many other countries. The best known site is AA Maps, which also now features real time traffic covering all of New Zealand. The GeoSmart Channel on Worldsurfer for NZ includes a nationwide set of categories and subcategories currently covering Accomodation, Banks and ATM’s, Entertainment, Parks and Gardens, Pubs Taverns and Bars, Restaurants, Takeaway Food and Public Toilets.
You can set it to only look in a band in the direction you are pointing your phone or in a 360 degree radius from your current location and it will locate POI up to 5 miles / 8km away. So in effect you can look for a Japanese Restaurant in the direction you are currently travelling. When you select one, the compass will point you in the direction of that venue and show a running distance calculation as you travel towards it.
You then have the option to call them for a reservation with one touch of the screen, get turn by turn directions and a map to guide you, mark the location for future reference, check Flickr, YouTube or Google for more information about the location.
World Surfer is as it sounds an international product and will automatically open the options available for the country you are in. Some are subscription channels whilst others are available free of charge.
Other channels available in New Zealand currently are Google, Zenbu, Wikipedia (which looks for information by location, based on pointing your mobile), Starbucks, and Vodafone Stores. I am currently working on developing many more channels for NZ. There are other exciting projects on the way, but if I tell you what they are, I’d be in big trouble, so watch this space.
As a footnote, I’ve said before that I would like to create an application called Where’s My Car, because everyone has a story of not being able to remember where they parked their car. I often see people in shopping mall car parks, at rugby matches and other spots wandering up and down trying to figure out where their cars are. When I got this Android phone (on loan) I found an application called CarDar Light.
This application lets you ‘mark’ the location of your car as you park it and will then guide you, even inside a car park, to your car. You can enter the level number or colour of the floor as an assist, but after that you will never lose your car again.
For a demonstration of WorldSurfer check out the YouTube video below:
Another step of the future which pretty much dates back to the original Star Trek TV programmes has become not only reality, but is becoming mainstream. Now to get the company to buy me that iPhone 3GS!