So, I was checking my Google Analytics account when I figured I’d head to their mobile site (mobile.google.com) and see what’s new. Well, I saw that Google Maps for my phone (Symbian version) was out. I reinstalled it and fired it up to see something pretty remarkable. A wide blue circle was around my location on the map. I didn’t have my GPS enabled . . . they’re locating you by cell towers! So, they can get you within 2000 feet of your current location. Now, that’s pretty cool. I still recommend the GPS Method, but this is very impressive nonetheless.
So, I’ve already mentioned my Nokia E61i phone. I still love it . . . I found a $20 data plan that will let me access Mobile Google Maps. Bottom line: If you have a Smart Phone and a data plan, get this application. Not just because it’s free, but because it is the most useful tool in my phone’s arsenal.
Now, it’s not nearly as slick as the iPhone’s implementation, but it gets really close. For example, Alison and I were in Tupelo this past weekend. She mentioned wanting some ice cream, so I just entered “ice cream” into the Google Maps search box and a little red arrow flew down onto the map right on top of Baskin Robbins 100 yards away. Now, that’s impressive.
Enter the OnCourse Bluetooth GPS device I just purchased. I found this when searching for a “cheap” Bluetooth GPS unit to interact with my phone. I found this one at http://www.buygpsnow.com (great service by the way). It was $58 after shipping (sometimes cheaper). As far as setup, it couldn’t be easier, I just popped it out of the box and turned it on (internal battery). I searched for it from my phone and found it right away. Then, I fired up Google Maps and it found my position very quickly and there I was – a blue dot right there on the map. And, man, this dude’s tiny. I can just throw it in my pocket and I’m on my way (about the size of the smallest cell phone). And, it’s water resistant and rubberized, so it won’t slide around on your dash.
To make things better, I connected the GPS with my Streets & Trips software on my laptop. Now I can follow along in real time when on trips.
So, you could say I’m sold on this item. $50 might seem like allot, but it does exactly what you need in a receiver. And, for you tech heads, it’s SirfStar III compliant, so that’s a good thing (I think!).
OnCourse GPS – http://www.buygpsnow.com (search for OnCourse Bluetooth GPS Receiver Edition 3)
Google Maps – direct your smart phone or PDA to http://www.google.com/m and you’ll find it. Lots of other great stuff too!