Tag Archive: gps

more thoughts on Google diaspora

A few days ago, I wrote about my thoughts on how Google is going nowhere in particular, and everywhere in general.  I was being generally being pretty fair about it, but the fact is that with all the power and personnel that Google has, why are there still so many items disconnected?  No integration, having to invite the same 5 people to each of 4 different Google Apps that are supposedly all part of the same “suite” of tools.

And, again, google seems to be missing the boat on a few things.  For instance, if I were looking at Google’s market opportunities, I would not only revisit the integration with TripAdvisor’s wealth of information, but let’s look at how TomTom has added Google features to their latest GPS units. If you get a TomTom unit, then you aren’t getting a whole lot.

Now, to their credit, you can go to Google Maps and then send the address to your TomTom Live unit.  That’s pretty cool, and it is something Google did.  So kudos for them.  But for the most part, it’s about pulling traffic data.  And…that’s far from disruptive.  It’s far from anything special.

But…why can’t I search google from my TomTom?  Get Google reviews from it, in exactly the way I suggest they do with TripAdvisor?  Why…is Google just presuming that everyone will come to them, rather than the other way?


coordinates and street addresses

I’m heading out on a trip along the Oregon coast very soon and have been trying to make sure my GPS can find all of the hotels we’ve booked.  The problem is that many of them are just addresses along the highway.  That’s probably fine, but I know that, for instance, in Big Sur, there are addresses like “100 Highway 1” that won’t work at all.

Coordinates, however, are supported by my GPS.  But google maps does not convert the indicated address location into coordinates.  Or at least it doesn’t do so in an obvious way.

It turns out that if you select the link option after mapping a place, embedded in that link are the coordinates, though they aren’t formatted correctly and will likely need a bit of testing to make sure they’re right.  Rather frustrating and I think a bad feature to omit, but I guess I should be happy there is a workaround at all.

More google thoughts later…

On the way to work – the “killer” GPS mount

I am a big proponent of not just GPS, but add-on systems rather than built-in ones.  They are simply far more affordable.

Anyway, California law says these cannot be mounted on the windshield (did you know that?  I didn’t for about a year of use!).  So all kinds of other mounts are used.  I personally use a vent mount, which goes through an A/C vent.  Works great.

There is one type of mount that scares me – it’s a “bean bag dashboard mount.”  This is basically a really heavy (I think I’ve seen 25-30 pounds specified..?) pedestal that sits on your dashboard onto which you then use your normal suction-cup mount for the GPS.  Now, it claims to have a nice “non-skid” surface on the bottom, but it is not otherwise adhered to the dash.  Which means that is could just go flying with enough G-forces.  30 pounds flying through the air in any direction is scary as heck.

Anyway, I saw one on the way to work today…

Review: TomTom One GPS Navigation system

So I’ve had the TomTom One GPS unit (link is for the latest version – mine is the original one) for a while now. I bought it technically for getting around to and from weddings. I was worried when I first got it because it used the European mapping information, rather than the US-based one that, for instance, Google utilizes.

Now, we all know that GPS units are getting more and more common as built-in systems in cars. However, if you look at costs, it makes a lot of sense to get a system separately. You can get a great system for $250-$500, depending on the features you want. Or you can spend $2000 on an integrated system for your car. I know that a system built into the audio system, etc is nice, but I also like setting everything up in my home before leaving, even for a multi-point trip, then having it ready. Something to think about.

There are a lot of things I like about the TomTom One, many of which have been taken out of the 3rd edition which really bothers me. Overall, if you’re looking for a solid, easy to use, easy to configure GPS unit that is very affordable (~$200), the One is a good deal. I am getting a more expensive (~$450) Garmin soon and will compare the two eventually. See more for the details.