Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Fun With GPS

I just saw this post on CraigBlog:

_MapPoint will display your current position on the map if you have a GPS connected that can do NMEA (most of them). I’ve used this from time to time to figure out where I was in a strange city. But since it requires looking at the laptop screen, it’s really not appropriate for use from the road. _

_Well, the other day someone mentioned Delorme Street Atlas. Apparently, this thing works much like MapPoint, but it will actually speak directions to you! “Turn left ahead.” That sort of thing. According to their website, you can even talk to it. As in, “Where am I?” And it’ll answer. I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard from at least one satisfied customer. _

Without a doubt GPS can be fun when you tie it together with your computer. I did a road trip from Denver to KC last year and had a Garmin on the dashboard with my laptop running MapPoint. Pretty damn cool. I was able to follow along live!

My dad uses Delorme Street Atlas and he loves it. He does a lot of driving up and down the eastern seaboard visiting his grandchildren. He told me a story once about how he wasn’t paying attention one day and ended up slightly lost. He pulled out the GPS and his computer and asked it how to get back to his original route. “Turn right in 1.5 miles,” it told him and then walked him all the way back to where he needed to be. Nice.

One last fun thing about GPS… last year, shortly after I founded Bespoke Technologies, one of our first customers was Slope Tracker. Slope Tracker is a company that uses GPS units to tell skiers where they skied, how fast they skied, etc. It was alot of fun to do. It was written entirely in C# and used RS232 Serial IO to download the points from the Garmin GPS units. If you are interested in this project, we wrote a whitepaper about the solution for the Bespoke website.