A Brief Glympse at Navigon

I have probably already mentioned that, in the move from Android to Iphone a few weeks back, the biggest regret has been the loss of Google Navigation based on Google Maps. The default map apps that ship with the iPhone are disappointing. The couple I’ve installed (for free or a dollar or two) each have interesting elements, but are slow or inaccurate or have other quirks.

We missed an important turn going to Richmond recently because the roads were poorly marked, but also because the navigation app I was using did not clearly show the route and the visuals were too small to see while driving. I would gladly pay for a navigation program that would save me future agonies of being lost (and more specifically, the marital abuse it spawns.)

And along comes Navigon, just released in version 2 last week. It is a Garmin-supported product that allows you to only download maps as your travel needs require. The visual display is great, the voice nav is clear and timely, and until Nov 30, the US version is $30, usually $50, so I feel like I got a great deal.

However, I was cussing the blanketyblank thing going down to Birmingham last Saturday. It routed me through Nashville, and it kept insisting, after I committed my route towards Chattanooga that I veer WAY north to go through Nashville. What the hay? Turns out, the problem was my route would carry me through the tiniest corner of Georgia. I had not installed that map. My bad, and I am sorry about all the nasty things I said about Navigon til I figured this out.

About half way down, I sent my mom a “Glympse” that she could follow on her iPad. This free app (for Android or iPhone) sends an email with an embedded real-time travel map, showing the traveler’s progress towards their destination. I wasn’t sure she could view such a thing on her iPad–or would bother.

But when I drove up to her apartment, she was standing outside waiting for me, having followed every turn and stop for the past hours, and “seeing” me turn into her apartment complex on the Glympse map screen. There are many practical uses for Glympse. “Share your where.” Check it out.

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Published by fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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3 Comments

  1. Your mom is so cool! Imagine her using a new app all by herself. You must be a chip off the old block in the scerince and technology department.

  2. The map app on the iPad works just fine. What was the problem you were having? We used it a lot on our last trip to route ourselves to our next destination.

  3. We were using an iPhone where visibility at arm’s length (from the dock mount) was one issue. Turn by turn voice was a requirement. And “direction of travel to the top” was an essential function. Visibility at at glance makes taking your eyes off the road for map info less frequent and more brief each time. The MapQuest app came closest, but after a couple of major errors (putting us some place we obviously were NOT) it could not be trusted. Same for TelNav.

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