Downloadable Maps for Blackberry
I knew this would get your attention. I know this has been talked about before but I'm a newb and I want to discuss it again. I'm just now getting into the details of GPS on a mobile device and how it works but I wanted to ask some basic questions and really just confirm what I already know.
What I know about my device:
1.) Up to 4GB and climbing REMOVABLE storage media (microSD, miniSD, SD, etc)
2.) Built-in Satellite GPS receiver or Freedom Keychain GPS abilities through Bluetooth
3.) My device has the ability already to install and incorporate software of all kinds
Knowing the above my questions:
1.) Why can't I pay a one-time fee for maps, just as the $300 - $500 TomToms, Garmins, etc to install maps on my device so I don't need to RELY on digital cellular coverage?
I'm GUESSING this is because the service providers know they can maintain a monthly revenue off of this. Also, I understand the advantages of getting up-to-date maps, traffic reports, etc from real-time pulling. I guess I'm asking too much for them to code for: If no cell coverage, use built-in maps + satellite connection. If cell coverage, attempt to update maps already on device.
I'm sure I'm beating a dead/buried/incarnate horse here but I wanted to state my concern and my frustration with why GPS doesn't work like this on mobile devices. Is there anything in the future that can change this? Certainly some software/mapping company could make some money off of this? Does RIM have legal bindings against this with Telenav or other paid services? Any thoughts on the matter are welcome...
I am still pretty new to the BB and even newer to the gps (verizon's is not enabled without THEIR service). So I got a puck. But from what I read, without data vervice, in the boonies, there will be NO maps since they cannot be downloaded. That is unfortunate. My garmin 76cs will be with me for a longer while.
I have to guess that these companies have learned that like razors, the money is in the replaceable blades or in this case MAPS. I still recall have a version of Norton's anti-virus that updated for free. No subscriptions needed. That has long since gone. So, these folks have followed that lead.
Wirelessly posted (8700g: BlackBerry8700/4.2.1 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/100)
Wirelessly posted (8700g: BlackBerry8700/4.2.1 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/100)
I understand the on-the-go mobile aspect of up-to-date data and not relying on the device to have enough memory to download to disk (or flash in this case). BUT, would it be cost-effective from a network infrastructure? How much data is used in polling and repolling for information? Would it not be a little more efficient to load that street or that satellite photo from a fixed location on your device and efficiently use the network for what its intended: real-time location ONTOP of existing maps? You could update your device once a month from your computer and be fine.
I guess I'm saying all of this because I'm reaching for another outlet to rationalize me having a blackberry, paying the monthly cost for unlimited email/data plan, and this would be a nice little extra to feel like I'm paying for in the big picture.
Seems to me this would have already been developed but service providers are smart--they know what makes the most money. Hopefully it will be more open-source in the future but I'm not holding my breath.
You actually can have GPS with offline maps. I don't know how great the experience will be but there's quite a big of progress with a project called TrekBuddy.
Check it out here: TrekBuddy - J2ME application for GPS tracking
If the maps are exclusively stored on the device, how will you know to get new updates when a new street is added or businesses change? I would like to cache frequently used areas on my SD but I would still think it needs to check for updates unless there is no network connection then it can display the last map from memory.
In any case, it's a moot point as long as you're with VZW you're stuck paying them for VZ Nav.
The biggest problem is the size of the maps/software and updating. The mobile navigation industry is taking off in a big way and in order for navigation software to stay competitive they have to be able to offer more then just point to point navigation.
Once you start throwing in business searches, hybrid/satellite maps, etc it just isn't practical to try and cram it all on a Micro SD card. It "could" be done (and for some mobile platforms it already has been) but then when you want to update a street or business address you either have to connect up via a PC and update the lot (PITA) or update as you go via your phones data connection (might as well just have it all on demand from the data connection).
Also you then have the issue that a lot of people now use their phone memory (and memory cards) for music, photos, etc and swapping SD cards around in a BlackBerry is a PITA as well.
Until BlackBerry's have a much larger memory capacity or a way to quick switch Micro SD cards I don't see many developers going for the "offline" option. One other thing to consider as well is that a lot of the halfway decent "pay once" packages actually cost more then then subscription ones (even taking data charges into consideration).
I suppose if I had unlimited data and I was always to be within cellular coverage areas, perhaps I wouldn't mind.
I would much rather have outdated data to get me from point A to point B on a long trip than have recent data that costs me a fortune or worse yet, have no coverage and therefore no maps at all.
I have a stand alone gps unit, with 'built-in' maps. Probably the maps are a few years old. No monthly subscription charges.
I had a Symbian OS smartphone with a $99 GPS application (Route 66), it came with a CD with all maps and you copied the regions you needed onto an SD card. No data charges, no monthly subscription charges.
And now I have a Blackberry 8800 with onboard GPS (a big plus, certainly). But I have to use data and be in a cell coverage area, and subscribe to a monthly plan such as Telenav or use a less powerful free solution. I ended up going with Wayfinder Navigator 7 ($99 for North American version) but it's still uses data but at least no monthly subscription fees. My SD card now has 8x the capacity that I used for two regions worth of maps on my Nokia E62.
I feel like I have taken a step or two backwards.
I disagree with some of you with the Can't Do attitudes. I have a Garmin StreetPilot 2610. All of the map data for it, including Points-Of-Interest and routing data for all of North America fits into 1.5GB of my 2GB CF card (that is in the 2610).
About once a year, Garmin publishes a DVD with the latest version of the map data and I reload it all into my GPS. These annual updates run $75 each year. If I don't want/need the latest map data, I don't pay the $75 and I keep using what I've got.
Yes, if new roads get built, I sometimes find that the map data in my GPS doesn't match real life. But, I've never found it to be a big deal.
So, with 8 GB SD cards available that work in (at least) the 8130, I can't see any reason why somebody (Garmin? Please?) couldn't do what he's (the OP) asking for. My 8130, with map data for all of North America loaded into (I already have an 8 gig SD in it), and a BT puck to provide a position would make a pretty darn handy alternative to my StreetPilot. Especially when I'm afoot.
UK Stand alone maps - when?
Just to add my rant too.
I am sure that the US is the same as the UK, in that Mobile (Cellphone) signals do not cover the whole country. I live in a remote part of the UK where GPRS signals do not reach until I am about 6 miles from home. Without Stand alone on my BB8800 I have to stop and program the mapping in when I have a signal. And as I also travel in remote locations there are times when the map will not refresh due to loss of signal.
What a short sighted approach. I think that, like some of you, the GPS providers have located a rich vein of income generation, and the future of the one-off purchase of maps is going to be reduced.
I reckon that they will be putting GPRS receivers in their Handheld GPS soon too.
Please, Garmin, Tom-Tom, Navman, etc lets have some support for the Blackberry
I, like many, find it ironic that a GPS unit needs to be near civilization (coverage) in order to work properly. And even though the card based units can get "out of date", I have found this to be a minor hassle, even using several 4+ year-old units, as compared to "no coverage" and no/slow data downlaods and missed turns, etc.
I did contact Garmin as they have a product that does this on a microSD, but that unfortunately doesn't work with the Blackberry:
Garmin | Garmin Mobile for Smartphones <<==$99 once
(They do also have a Blackberry subscription-based data-connection-needed software package):
Garmin | Garmin Mobile for BlackBerry <<==$99 yearly
"Thank you for contacting Garmin Cartography. At this time that is the case with Garmin. (-SUBSCRIPTION) However, with the addition of removable memory to the Blackberry line my guess is that it is just a matter of time before we will offer our Mobile XT software for the Blackberry as well and then connection to the network won't matter. This is just a hunch but I don't see why it wouldn't happen. Please continue to monitor our website for new products."
Hopefully, with enough interest from Blackberry users, the market will be there for it to be built by someone.
-your mileage may vary.
It can be done in WN5. I am being forced by company to switch from a Treo to a BB. I am sooooo upset. Everything I see about BB is that they are the same as a MAC - closer architechure, limited software, high prices. Why would anybody but a BB if they have a choice??
No, actually I am not confusing Bloackberry with Apple. I am frustrated by the closed arcthectiture strategy. I have contacted a number of software developers (Delorme and Landware) to see if they have Blackberry products available and I have been told that they have not purchased the rights to develop Blackberry software. In contrast to Windows Mobile, it seems that Blackberry has decided to closely control who develops software for their products. This is a similar strategy to Apple. The result with Apple, and I also am begining to see with Blackberry, is a severe limitation on the quality and selection of available software, and artifically high prices.
I just found this thread and I too am disgusted that I can't download maps to an SD card for use on the BB. With the data requirement, I can't be on the phone and use GPS at the same time. I had Mapopolis for my Palm and the whole US fit onto a 1 GB SD card with plenty of room to spare. Granted, these were simple maps with limited POIs, but the goal is navigation here - have the roads on the SD card and leave POIs to be obtained through data service, to keep it up-to-date. But, for point-to-point navigation, no reason I should need data services.
Hofstrajet, there are downloadable map options, at least a couple. See the Sticky Note "All known GPS applictions".
It was actually "fun" (my definition of fun may be very distorted!) re-reading this thread again today.
The whole issue with having FRESH data/maps is pretty humorous since most of the professional mapping gps' have maps still years out of date in many locations - just read the various forums for TomTom or Garmin. Yes, some areas get updated more regularly but just as many do not. The updates are modest at most and some introduce new errors. So expecting maps of that new subdivision down the street should not be expected for a few years. I was heading to a new Cabela the other day that opened in Nov 2007, and it still is a farmer's field on Google maps, earth, etc. So, let's see, how current are the various mapping programs?
Next, as for map sizes - my TomTom920 has 4 gigs and that fits maps of the US, Europe (and Guam - oddly enough) along with the programming and other features. So clearly static maps could be provided that fit on the SD cards.
The solutions, Trekbuddy and others, that allow maps to be stored are clearly not the easy solution - first, getting the maps takes a bit of effort and then the map-data is not optimized, that is compressed/shrunk, to get a lot of mapping data on the SD cards - they are generally jpg or similar images. But they do work.
Obviously, in another few years these things will work better. Comparing my Garmin45 with my Garmin Vista (both of those units went at a garage sale about a month ago) with my Garmin 76CS and now again the Tomtom - incredible leaps. And my BB is also a phone (G)
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