The Nokia N95 and other GPS equipped smartphones can do far more with the GPS than waltz around the maps application and showing off our current GPS position to our friends. It is a great help in planning routes to somewhere and the maps available even respect traffic laws like one way roads! However when you start to use the GPS-MAPS for the first time, things arn’t that easy on the surface and take a little getting used to. In this writeup guest author Jamal Abid explains all the things we’ll need to know before we can put the GPS to real world use!
Now when you open your maps application you have two ways of starting to plan a route:
1) Scrolling to your destination, pressing the center key and selecting plan route to.
2) Pressing Options > Plan route from anywhere (your current selected location by the cursor does not matter)
Now when you are in the route planning mode, you can select the starting point and you can pick from your current GPS position, a saved landmark, any recent locations, a location you pick from the map, an address you can enter directly or from the city guides you may have purchased. Same for destination except that the current GPS position option is missing for obvious reasons.
When you choose the pick from map option, you get the regular maps home screen but when you press the center key on your selected location, it appears in the starting or destination field depending on what you selected earlier.
The address option is pretty nifty and I can attest to it working as I found my friend’s office that way. Now I just ask my friends to just read the way number of where they are and the phone takes me there.
The city guides are a paid-for feature and tell you about everything in the country from locations of ATMs to all of the parks and gardens and even car parks! Personally I’m not a traveler, so I don’t need them however they might just turn out to be pretty useful in an alien city/country!
After you have selected your departure and arrival points, you can press Options > Show Route to get an Itinerary. It gives you step by step directions of your trip. If you scroll to the tab on the right, you get a trip summary.
Now if you have paid for the turn by turn voice navigation you can select start navigation and the maps will auto-advance and you will get voice guidance. I haven’t subscribed so I have to use one of the 3 other ways of getting the n95 to help me through my trips.
2) Manually Advancing
Tracking is that the phone tracks your progress and advances through the map with yellow numbered squares tell you that you have to make a driving choice (choosing whether to turn or not, for example) and you have to squint at the phone to see which is the highlighted route and the map is pretty zoomed out. I don’t recommend using this option at all, very unsafe while driving and just a pain to use. You can use it by selecting Options > Start Tracking after selecting your starting point and your destination.
Manually Advancing is the method I use, in the itinerary center click on the first detail (your starting point) you get a map with your route highlighted in blue and it’s quite zoomed in and at the top left is a very large icon showing what is at this point. For example, it has red flag with a white arrow pointing towards the right for the starting point, a formula-one-style checkered flag for the destination or a slanting arrow for a right turn. The snags here are that you to manually advance to the next point by pressing the up arrow key (you can return to previous points by the down arrow key) and you have no voice navigation. Overall I find it the best one to use.
Simulation is a quite lame method too, it simulates how you would follow the route, respecting the speed limit and all, I didn’t try it out to see how accurate it is but it should be useful but this can be done by the phones which don’t even have a GPS chip. (Where’s the fun in that mate?) You can use this mode by selecting Options > Start Simulation after selecting your starting point and your destination.
The search feature in the maps application is very useful, anywhere in the map you can press options > search > by name or by address or by category and get detailed results. You can also access the search by category function by center clicking on any location and selecting search nearby.
The search by name function is pretty straightforward, enter the name of a restaurant or anything and it finds it nearby. The search by address function is pretty neat and I simply love it. The search by category function is also quite nifty, the details of interesting locations down to the phone number are included there. Just browse to a category and center click. Select the place of your choice to view its location on the map and then scroll to the right to view more details like distance from selected location and even its phone number where available.
Landmarks & Positioning:
Now let us see how GPS can be used outside the Maps application. In the Tools folder there is an application known as Landmarks. Seemingly drab and allowing you to manage your landmarks. You can create new landmarks not only by selecting from the map but by entering in other details like the coordinates. You can enter the latitude and longitude data and even the altitude and the accuracy!
Inside the same Tools folder, there is another application known as GPS Positioning (with the ing abbreviated as a.) It contains basic GPS positioning info, has an odometer and other stuff all of which is simple enough yet fun. Specially trying to find at which the Train/Plane you are travelling in is moving at!
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