Saw this and had to pass it along after on of our readers posted it in their comments recently. I know we all struggle with how to mount a GPS on the dash or windshield, and most are finally waking up to the fact that you shouldn't leave a GPS mounted to your windshield when parking that car.
Here's a cheap and easy GPS mount that can handle the task.
File this under the "Whoops" category, TomTom unwittingly let their traffic data be used to find ideal locaitons for speed traps. The data is compiled from anonymous user data over time and layered to create live views of traffic congestion as well as historical speeds on roads by time of day so that they can predict more accurate travel times when you plug in a destination. They know what you know that traveling down that highway takes a lot longer during rush hour than it does on the weekend, let's say.
Well it appears that their data was sold to some traffic planners, and somehow along the way it was used to determine where a good spot might be to nab a few speeders.
TomTom has tripped over themselves trying to reassure the public of a few very basic things:
All users opt into the Data Collection aspect of the TomTom service.
The police can't trace speeding GPS tracks back to a particular user - the data is collected anonymously.
If you have a LIVE connected GPS, the same thing goes for you; anonymous data collection.
TomTom didn't sell the data directly to the police, and will take steps in the future to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The internet was abuzz this weekend as a security issue was uncovered with the Zoombak personal GPS locator. So while the Zoombak system is touted as a way to track your valuables, the hacker said that he figured out how to track your Zoombak, and also spoof the Zoombak, sending back fake location information making it look like your valuables are in a location other than where they really are.
So while you want to track valuables like your car, your bike or even your kid; this hacker demonstrated that it was not hard to blow up that sense of security.
In the CNet article, the hacker identified that the Zoombak system's flaw by figuring out that the unit communicates over the TMoble GMS system. From there he figured out that it communicates without a caller ID, so with a little snooping, he was able to identify a set of Zoombak devices, their locations and then start to intercept their location broadcasts via short SMS bursts. He was then able to turn around and spoof the signal by sending erroneous messages back on that channel, making the Zoombak unit look like it was not in its actual location.
No word on how the recent launch of the eSafe emergency locator, a Zoombak sister product is affected by this hack if at all.
With gas prices pushing towards all time highs, the idea of driving less might just be forced upon us. Longtime users of GPS know that not only can you find a location faster without driving around searching and searching, but they also know it can be more economical.
There are several varieties of "eco driving" mode from various manufacturers, but the essence is the same:
Consider the route characteristics in light of saving time AND being fuel efficient,
Consider traffic patterns (the highway is efficient except when it looks like a parking lot at the mall), and
Reinforce better driving habits through driver feedback.
I've used several and they definitely change your focus as you drive, and am not surprised to see studies that say they can reduce fuel consumption.
Telenav powers the Ford MyTouch navigation solution, and they put together the infographic below, highlighting the potential. Maybe it's on the high side, at saving 15% but what if it wasn't? What if you only saved half that when driving smarter? The impact to your wallet and to the environment would still be substantial.
Don't think a little personal habit matters? I wrote up a piece on my Espresso blog, citing the effects of one small personal act of people that really makes a difference. In 2010, 32 million customers used their own refillable mug for coffee, and as a result, Starbucks saved 1.5 million tons of paper from going to the landfill. Small act. Lots of people. Big effect.
Here's the info graphic. TeleNav also has a SmartPhone App (BB, IPhone and Android) - more at TeleNav Apps
Hey congrats to Garmin for their "Gear of the Year 2011" award from National Geographic for their GPS tracker - the GTU-10. Got something you need to track? The Garmin GTU 10 is a GPS tracker that offers a way to track the stuff you care about. It comes with a year of service, and offers the ability to track online and through a mobile app. Teh GTU-10 will have to be recharged periodicly, so it's not exactly like you set it and forget it..... the battery life is about a week in "Locate" mode and up to 4weeks in a low frequency report within the Geofence mode.
Create up to 10 geofences (virtual boundaries) for your device. When your GTU 10 enters or exits a geofence, we can send you an email or text message notification.
View track history of where your GTU 10 has been.
Customize device settings for optimal performance, including low battery/powered off notifications to let you know when it’s time to recharge or when the device has been turned off.
Navigon announced their new iPhone version 1.8 of the popular App, becoming a pretty full-featured navigator, adding Reality Scanner - a new way to use the camera, the GPS and the compass to show you where Points of Interest are in relation to where you are standing. The capabilities are now new to the iPhone but can be useful for figuring out where to go and what's near you.
The new MobileNavigator also offers an in-app purchase of a red light camera database for about $5. The database of 3900 locations might just help you save a few bucks on a ticket.
Traffic - Navigon offers Traffic Check, an easy to read traffic gauge that pops up after a route calculation giving you a quick look at your traffic jam outlook. And of course, the latest NAVTEQ maps are included. Oh yea, and the App works on the iPad.
I downloaded the new version and am checking it out - I will get some thoughts back to you in the coming days.
Waze has been upgraded for the iPhone giving you easy buttons to navigate to home and to work. The upgrade also should get rid of some recalculating issues that I and others have been seeing. The ability to drop in a Home address and Work address allows you to quickly navigate between the two places that most folks will be going to on a daily basis. That last part is key, because Waze, and others like Inrix or TomTom and Garmin, want you to use the App daily allowing them to collect anonymous data on traffic conditions. For Waze, the aspect of crowdsourcing their maps also drives the need to get a lot of data from a lot of people.
A few navigation makers have offered multiple routes to choose from and Waze is now offering that functionality with easy to use buttons with a clear layout. In taking a look at my navigation from home to work, they lay out three reasonable routes including the one that I use across back roads to get me around traffic bottlenecks. Waze also indicates that they will learn your preferred way between home and work, giving you information and updates on your most traveled route. Looking forward to getting this feature working well both ways.
New tagline - Waze - Driving is Fun Again
Waze has also selected a new tag line from reader submissions - the winner is "Driving is Fun Again". The winner just snagged a new iPad2 for their hard work...... clearly mine weren't quite as good.
Amazon has another Deal fo the Day for you - this time it's the high end Nuvi 1370T, a feature packed unit that is pretty well priced at $159.
Garmin does its usual job of solid routing, but adds in maps of North America and Europe, Free lifetime traffic updates, Lane assistance (shows you which lane to be in as you approach highway intersections), and Bluetooth handsfree calling through your compatible phone. The Nuvi 1370T debuted a year ago with a list price over $400, it's now $159 today. Great unit to pick up if you are driving this summer on a European vacation - very inexpensive unit with Euro maps. If not, the feature set is still very good for this price.
Waze, the popular social navigation App has launched a new feature that allows you to leave voice alerts for other drivers when you see a road hazard or other issue. The capability can supplement the feature where you report on a road issue, which allows you to leave a push pin in the map using either canned messages or a custom one about any number of issues. Of course you can see the issue on the map, but with the Waze Groups feature, you can see reports from others who might commute in the same area or on the same roadways.
Waze is available for Free on Android, iPhone and Blackberry (Beta) in the App store - current users will need to update their Apps.
RADARDROID has just announced the capability to incorporate a Red Light Camera database from GPS POI US (that we've written about in the past) into the onboard navigation applications. The App is a "set it and forget it" type application that will pop up and warn you of a Red Light camera as you navigate.
GPS POI US house databases for all kinds of POI sets, including Red Light cameras. They pride themselves on the accuracy of their Red Light Camera database, and don't just crowdsource the data, and curate the database to make sure it's as up to date as possible. The database is also available for use in compatible Garmin and TomTom devices.