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Looking back on 2008 from a GPS perspective

Date 31st December 2008

Well yet another year has rushed past and what an exciting year it has been. We have had mergers and takeovers, some familiar names have fallen by the wayside, and GPS devices just keep getting better and cheaper...

 

This year for me was all about connected devices and the long awaited GPS iPhone. Early in the year ALK showed us CoPilot Live connected to the Internet running local search using Microsoft Live. This was followed by Dash Navigation who did some innovative things with networked navigation devices.

 

The latest (and possibly most influential) device is the TomTom GO 940. Launched less than 6 months after the new 930 range there were a lot of disappointed users who did not want to upgrade so soon. But TomTom now have HD traffic which pushes the boundaries of route planning and arrival times. It is not perfect, but is far better than traditional routing methods.

 

At the same time we had the launch of much hyped and loved iPhone 3G. This is a superb device and despite the stranglehold placed on developers by Apple and the limited functionality it is extremely popular. One thing it has pioneered is local search. We have been talking about this for years, but it has only been this year that Local Search has become a practical tool for mobile devices.

 

Last year Canalys predicted that the GPS market was about to achieve peak profitability and reach maturity. This happened as expected on cue, and we are now seeing a lot of companies exiting the market because of it. It is sad seeing people and companies you have grown with changing so dramatically, but with technology improving and margins reducing something has to give somewhere.

 

We have seen TomTom take over Tele Atlas, Nokia now own Navteq, and Vodaphone have bought Wayfinder. Mitac are creating a real GPS empire controlling Mio, NavMan and now Magellan. Garmin are somewhat safer than some of the PND companies as they have other divisions: Outdoors, Marine and Fitness. However it is likely that the whole industry will be hit in some way or another by the looming recession.

 

Sadly one of the companies that we raved about early in the year also moved out of the PND business towards the end: Dash Navigation are now a 3rd party solutions developer.

 

Whilst on the gloomy side of things we have seen an explosion of speed cameras across the world. (Literally in some cases with reports of bombed and burnt out installations.) The UK has approved average speed cameras to be routinely installed on the motorways. In the US cities are installing Red Light Cameras in controversial ways. There is a lot of confusion and indecision in the legislature about the implementations. I will be in the US early next year when I will be contrasting attitudes in the US to those in the UK.

 

On a happier note Photo Geo-Tagging became very popular this year with most of the online photo galleries supporting location aware images, and a lot of the GPS companies switching from Bluetooth GPS devices to Datalogging GPS devices combining the track log and the pictures to embed location information. These can then be shared using the online photo libraries, or Google Earth.

 

Finally at PocketGPSWorld.com we have not been standing still. We have recruited more Speed Camera Verifiers throughout the world, and have increased the frequency of our database releases to be regularly on a Wednesday (holidays excepted). We have also been more regular with our newsletter, aiming to produce it every Friday. On top of all that we still have time for the usual reviews and chats in the Forums.

 

We have been dabbling in video reviews for some time now, but not knowing the success or otherwise of the reviews. We finally got some stats on the downloads and found over 5000 people viewed our TomTom 940 videos in a week. This gave us the impetus to start creating more professional (I hope) productions. Towards the end of the year we formalised the videos and now every video we produce is indexed in the Video Forum so if you want to find a PocketGPSWorld.com video start looking there.

 

The first video to be released in 2009 will be Installing the PocketGPSWorld,com Speed Camera Database on your TomTom, part of a new series of Video Tutorials explaining how to do things on your GPS. If you have any suggestions for tutorials please post them in this forum thread.

Article by Mike Barrett

 

Haapy new year

 

TomTom launch the GO940 Live.

Click here to watch the GO940 Live demo drive in Quicktime viewer. To watch the demo drive in Windows Media Player click here.

Apple launche the iPhone 3G with GPS

Apple launch the iPhone 3G with GPS.

 

Steve Brazier predicts the future of GPS companies

Steve Brazier predicts the future of GPS companies.

 

SPECs speed cameras on the A127

The World sees an explosion of Speed Cameras.

 

Video tutorial: Installing the speed cameras on a TomTom

Video Tutorials #1

Installing Speed Cameras on a TomTom

Click here for a quicktime movie, or click here for a Windows Media video.

 

A chronological view of 2008:

 

January

Via Michelin exit the navigation market
Nuvifone announced at CES

 

February
CoPilot announce CoPilot Live with Microsoft Live Local search
Tele Atlas announce Pedestrian mapping
Navteq announce real time traffic and traffic patterns

 

March
EU stall the TomTom Teleatlas deal
TomTom announce new range of x30 devices and HD traffic at CeBIT
NavNGo finally launch iGO 8 at CeBIT
We see some "hacked" iPhone navigation solutions at CeBIT
NavNGo split with Mio
SiRF lay off 7% of workforce
EU investigate Nokia takeover of Navteq
Dash Navigation launch connected PNDs

 

April
TomTom shares Tumble 14%
GPS development included in the iPhone SDK rumors
Sony exit the European GPS market

 

May
EU gives the go-ahead for TomTom to buy Teleatlas
Destinator are bought buy Intrinsyc Software

 

June
iPhone officially announced with GPS but no turn by turn applications
TomTom have proof of concept app for iPhone

 

July
Apple launch the iPhone 3G with GPS
PGPSW Speed Camera database 1,000,000th download
Fugawi discontinue PDA support.
Garmin announce the 550 and Oregon series

 

August
TomTom Launch the x40 range of connected PNDs

 

September
SPECS cameras to be installed on UK motorways

MyGuide go into receivership

 

October
TomTom shares take another dive.
Teleatlas release maps with community corrections (MapShare)
Canalys predict a consolidation of GPS companies

 

November
Dash exit the Navigation market
PGPS Launch Video Forum
Panasonic exit the European GPS Market

 

December
Vodaphone buy Wayfinder
Garmin joins the Android Alliance
Mitac buys Magellan

 

Commentary

Well 2008 has been anything but dull. We have certainly enjoyed the year at PocketGPSWorld.com, and look forward to another technology filled year in 2009.

 

May I take this opportunity to thank everybody for the support (and understanding) over the last year. I particularly want to extend our thanks to all the moderators and verifiers who help us run the site. And I must not forget Maft who does a sterling job maintaining the Speed Camera Database...

 

Myself, Darren, and Rob wish you all a happy and prosperous 2009 from PocketGPSWorld.com.

References

Manufacturers Website

PocketGPSWorld.com Speed Camera Database

Pocket GPS Contributor

Mike Barrett

Pocket GPS Contributor Website

www.Pocketgpsworld.com

   

 

 

Comments
Posted by soggs_k9 on Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:05 pm Reply with quote

I live in Ayrshire where we have had a lengthy trial of average speed cameras over an extensive stretch of the A77 between Kilmarnock and Girvan.

I have found the dual carriageway stretches to be a nuisance, but manageable, as slow traffic tends to stay in the nearside lane allowing you travel at the limit where appropriate. I do have to admit to setting the cruise control and going into auto pilot mode on occasion, especially in the 50 stretch.

On the single carriageway section however, I have found a real problem of slow traffic causing bunching and slowing everyone to a crawl. What I think happens is, someone out for a trundle and in no hurry decides that 35 is fast enough, even though it's a 60 limit. A car (or heaven forbid an HGV which just can't get past) catches up and is afraid to overtake in case he/she incurs the wrath of the camera gods in some way. The result can be a long and tedious journey taking far longer than Sally Sat Nav predicts & the frustration can cause its own problems with dangerous overtakes etc.

There is also the problem of alternative routes on minor roads (like the coast road via Turnberry). Traffic will use these roads to try to make up time lost behind the '20's plenty' driver or just to avoid the cameras in general. From my own experience this just leads to white vans & rep-mobiles travelling at mach speed on less suitable roads. The cameras may cut crashes on the main road but I'd be interested to see the stats for the surrounding roads since this trial started.

It is hard to argue with a measure which enforces limits over a large area rather than at one specific place, whether you like the idea of cameras or not. I think they are probably a good idea when targeted at road works or similar but are no replacement for fixing what makes a dangerous road dangerous.

I suppose I am like most people and listen to the road safety message but only hear another bullying tax.
Lastly, like any other technological solution, remember there are stupid people out there!

Stu


 
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