Finding your way while driving around a city – even one you live in, can be a pain. If you’re not familiar with the territory, or find it hard to remember those “yeah, mate — just turn right at the highway, first on the left, round by the service station, over the bridge, third on the left and fourth on the right” directions cheerful passers-by offer, there is an alternative — and it’s not a street directory.
In fact, it’s an eye in the sky.
By using one of the latest GPS devices, you can get an orbiting satellite to tell you where to go — in the nicest way — and, generally, just at the right moment.
“Turn right at the next lights,” a demure voice will say. In fact, you can plot a journey in advance and have the device talk you through the entire trip.
GPS systems are pretty well standard in luxury cars and limousines, but now you can have voice directions and 3D mapping in the privacy of your own car, no matter how decrepit.
For example, if you already have a Bluetooth-equipped PDA, Belkin has just released a Bluetooth GPS navigation system for PDAs.
According to Belkin, the Co-Pilot Live — PDA Edition “is a high-performance, easy-to-use, portable trip planner that safely provides drivers with relevant travel information using detailed voice commands, while enabling them to keep in contact with the office or home on the run.” The Co-Pilot prides itself on high-quality, accurate Australia-wide digital map material, and provides Yellow Pages content from Sensis, for finding the nearest Chinese, Thai or vegetarian restaurant.
The GPS receiver sits on the dashboard downloading free-to-air information from European and US satellites, which it then wirelessly transfers in street-level format to the PDA.
Included route guidance software provides detailed street directions, in spoken and visual turn-by-turn instructions to almost any Australian address.
It costs $1049 with no extra charge to access free-to-air GPS satellite information.
Meanwhile, Navman has recently released the PiN Pocket PC, which it describes as a fully fledged GPS system with integrated Pocket PC capabilities.
According to Navman, the cable-free, highly portable PiN (Personal Interactive Navigation) device arrives complete with a full street-level mapping library covering all states of Australia, to help users navigate throughout the country, whether driving in a car or walking city streets.