Thursday, July 27, 2006

New Navigation systems do more than point the way

I found this article in the New York Times describing the latest developments in navigation systems very interesting. I had read that digital cameras would be coming out with built in GPS systems to record the location of photos. This article says navigation systems based on GPS are incorporating cameras so you can snap a picture of a location with no fixed address and your navigation system can then return you to that same place at a future time if you need to go there again.

"The iCN 750 from Navman not only lets users show photos but shoot them — and use them as a navigation aid. Press a button and it shoots a digital picture of the road ahead (it can detach quickly from its suction-cup bracket to shoot other views or even shoot outside the car). There is no zoom, and the camera’s 1.3-megapixel resolution is more like a camera phone’s than a digital camera’s. But the point is not image detail: it is the G.P.S. geocode data the Navman adds to each photo as a record of where it was shot. Store the image on the Navman’s hard drive and it shows a user on a map where it was shot or can navigate back there, which is especially useful for spots that have no street address. Navman users can share their geocoded Navpix via library, and use tools there to add location codes to other photos."

As someone who loves to travel abroad I was also very pleased to note the new language bank feauture:


These navigation systems also work abroad. The satellite network these systems use for positioning is available worldwide, and most cars have lighter sockets. Travelers will need new digital maps, of course, but the major manufacturers have them for Europe, at least, and sometimes other places.

Garmin’s nĂ¼vi 350 and 360 do even more for European travelers, with a world travel clock and foreign currency and measurement converters built in, and language and travel guides available on plug-in SD cards. The language guides, using data from Oxford University Press, include word and phrase banks and bilingual dictionaries for nine languages and dialects (including American and British English, European and Brazilian Portuguese, and European and Latin American Spanish) and will even demonstrate how words are pronounced.

The travel guides, with data from Marco Polo, include information on tourist attractions and reviews of restaurants for all of Western Europe or any of five European regions."
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