Stinsonddog’s Blackberry GPS Review

 

 

(Note my pre - May 2007 GPS page can be found here now.)

 

October 2007 - Windows Live Search available and it's really good. You can download it here.  http://wls.live.com

I think it will compete with Google Maps in some ways.  The application features local business search and directions (no voice) and also covers traffic, movies and maps very well.  You can call phone numbers from the app.  Give it a try.  You can use an internal or BT GPS. 

 

Mapping on my 8800 is incredible.  I was skeptical when I first tried it on my 8700 but I was very impressed.  With the 8700 I needed a separate BT GPS puck.  The 8800 has built in GPS chip, and that was a major upgrade reason for me.  The 8100 and 8300 to date don't have built in GPS chips and in my opinion will not ever have them.  My 8800 locks onto satellites very quickly as it also uses cell towers to triangulate location. With the 8800, I don't need the puck and that is one less item to keep track of with yet another charger.  The 8703 has a built in GPS chip too, and Sprint allows its full use while Verizon has crippled it, making plenty of their customers upset.   I will bet the same happens with the upcoming 8830 on Verizon and Sprint. 

 

If you need a puck, I was using a Royal Tek 2001 BT receiver with my 8700 which you can get from Seidio.  The puck is the GPS receiver (don't confuse it with a GPS antenna which goes on a receiver to give it better reception, if needed).  I have also heard good things about the Holux 236 Slim, and the Globalsat 359 looks cool since it is so slim.  The Verizon 8703e can be paired with one of these GPS receivers, but what a waste since the GPS chip is built in. 

 

Once you have the receiver or 8800, you will need the software to use it with.  For the Blackberry, there are six different software programs discussed here: Telenav, Blackberry Maps, Google Maps, Wayfinder, Spot, and Mapquest. The one thing all these programs have in common is that the maps are not stored on the BB, so they use data and possibly lots of data for those not on an unlimited plan.  This also means that if you are out of a coverage area for your carrier, these programs won't pull down new data.  Wayfinder and Telenav do provide directions where you have obtained a route within your carrier's coverage area and then move outside of it; however, you won't get an route updates if you go off course.  BBMaps is RIM's native mapping application.   Wayfinder provides driving directions and points of interest.  Telenav is also a driving direction program and for US users is without a doubt the preferred one.  Telenav uses NAVTEQ for its maps and points of interests, while Wayfinder uses TeleAtlas and InfoUSA, the same provider for BBMaps.  For an interesting article on NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas read this article.  One note here is that with any of these don't give up your Google Maps application (GMM), and with version 1.5.1 it also uses GPS both on the 8800 and with a BT puck with other models.  GMM offers real time traffic and favorites.  GMM seems to have the best ability to find an address and business, and these addresses can also be used with these other GPS applications.   Note that there is a new player called CoPilot that apparently has a similar product coming although it's not on their website yet.  Rumor is that they will also have a version for the microSD cards in the 8100 and 8800.  I suspect that TomTom might jump in also.  In order for that to happen, RIM may have to open up access to the microSD card for applications.  So what's on the wish list for these applications - Routing maps with user selectable POI's?  Say I have directions to a pet store programmed and I am also hungry.  Wouldn't it be great to be able to see where I am on the route and be able to select a category of POI's (places to eat) to show up.  Telenav has this in their 5.1 version, and is now available for the 8800.  Version 5.1 also has traffic reporting.

 

Spot is another type of program that provides positions information, waypoints, WMS maps, and elevation information, and for information on a few other providers you can read more at Brent's page.  If you want to read about a few old applications like Caffinefinder and FastFoodFinder, Berryvine Companion (European navigation), Trimble Outdoors and Naggie you can read this summary.  Want to know more about the US Map makers and who is relying on their products and POI's, then read this article.  What if you just want to start your device, log your travels, blog your thoughts, share it with friends and family and keep a record, then you need to sign up over at Chronicle Road, and start traveling.

 

So to sum up you need hardware - a Blackberry with a GPS chip built in or a separate receiver, and you need software on your Blackberry, AND YOU NEED A BLACKBERRY DATA PLAN.  

 

Here's the big picture: BBMaps is excellent as a free application for going to a place you know or that is your address book.  BBMaps also has the fastest maps and zoom function as explained below.  If you want to find a business or find cheap gas that you are not aware of, and you want voice prompts, you should try Telenav or Wayfinder.  BBMaps includes driving directions but neither voice prompts nor a turn by turn navigation screen.   For driving directions with voice prompts, Wayfinder is the product of choice for Europe with traffic in various cities.  For the US, the point of interest database is weak but they are searching for new content.  I like their easy ability to switch the routing views, explained below, and to see where you are on the map in the middle of a trip.  Telenav has the best points of interest for the US.   Both Telenav and Wayfinder have very effective turn by turn directions.  They use different mapping databases so detail on local streets in the US varies.  Telenav is also a monthly fee while Wayfinder is a one time fee, and BBMaps is free.  I have not tried Telmap, and for now Garmin should not be considered due to the horrible customer service.   I have tried a version of Mapquest Navigator which is a branded Telmap product.  I think there 3.0 version may compete with Telenav.  Wayfinder is also due out in June 2007 with an 8800 product update. 

 

Telenav 5.1 is the product to have in the US.  Google Maps also uses NAVTEQ data and it allows you find business and locations, with driving directions, and traffic information in some areas.    So by now you are confused and so the following chart compares the driving direction applications. Spot is different, as it is the only BB program you can geocache with.  Spot does not give you driving directions but it can show you where you and follow you if the WMS maps (see below) are working.  I have not had consistent success with the WMS maps, and therefore recommend that Spot work on obtaining a consistent map source.  The Topo map works often which is great for the geocaching.  See the details below.

 

←↑→↓

 

Feature↓ Product →

BBMaps

Telenav

My Favorite

Wayfinder

Google Maps

Garmin-AVOID THEM

Telmap

Mapquest Navigator (in the US)

GPS Enabled

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Where you are on the Map, Entire Route, and Turn by Turn Views

Yes - use space bar to change

Yes - use menu key to change

Yes - use # to change

No - route view with turns identified

?

Yes

Next Turn

Scroll to read-doesn't update

Icons for next two turns plus rerouting

Icons for next two turns plus rerouting

Push number to read-doesn't reroute or update

?

Icon for next turn plus rerouting

Voice Prompts

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

POI finder

No

Yes-Best in US

Yes-Best in Europe

Yes-Best in US

?

Yes, from Mapquest

Scaleable Vector Maps

Yes

No, bitmaps but small maps

No, bitmaps

No, bitmaps

?

No

Data Source

TeleAtlas

NAVTEQ

InfoUSA through TeleAtlas

NAVTEQ and Tele Atlas

NAVTEQ

NAVTEQ and  InfoUSA  

Cost

Free

$9.99 month

$99 one time

Free

?

$9.99 month (free trial)

 

 

 

 


 

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Telenav - BEST OF CLASS FOR DRIVING AND POI's IN THE U.S.

 

Telenav is a true driving direction program.  This review has been updated in May 07 for version 5.1 on an8800.  Version 5.1 has outstanding enhancements including traffic, map summaries and search POI's along the route.    As mentioned above it uses NAVTEQ for its data and it works really well as a direction program.  I have become a real fan for use the US due to its extensive POI database from NAVTEQ and its integration with the BB address book and phone.  See my tip below on using the address book.  Telenav allows you to look up addresses in your book and to call a business that you have found.  Note that it is a monthly subscription at $9.99 vs. the one time Wayfinder fee of $99. 

 

When you start it up you will see the DWT (driving while texting) warning followed by the main screen after your acknowledgement.  Ironically the one key safety feature, a menu item to Switch Applications, is not available as RIM has not made that choice available to third party developers.  Instead if you need to get to another application you need to Alt-Esc which is more distracting.  

 

 

 

 

As you can see you have a choice of the Drive To a destination via GPS navigation, using the Directory to find a business, looking up a location on Maps and getting traffic information.  You can also use Tools/Extras.  One of the key preferences set in Tools is backlight on at turns (not shown below) and Turn Icon.   The Show Next Turn can be set to Always or When Nearby.   The choices for Tools/Extras looks like this:

 

     

 

   

 

 

Within the Tools, the compass gives you basic location, speed and GPS signal strength information.  You can also Record Location and save it as a favorite.    After reading the location you can give it a name and save it. 

 

      

 

The key to this application is a very strong set of search tools that enables you to find business and locations.  Once you enter the Drive To screen, you have a choice of using My Favorites (well your favorites really) , Recent Places, an Address or Intersection, a Business or Airport, and your Address Book.  The latter is a really nice feature and it will allow you to pick from Business or Home.  One BIG Trick is if you are picking from your address book, don't start Telenav first, but go to your address book, find the contact and click Drive To or Map It.  That is faster than having Telenav search your address book.   If you are doing a route, you can choose Start from Here or Set a Different Origin. You can also find places to go by using the Maps function.  As you can see the menus are quite similar. 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are the choices for Recent Places and Intersection.  The Address Screen is similar except you don't have two street lines, and if you click the trackball you have the option of typing in the address or calling it in.  The call in menu is cumbersome but arguably safer and it works quite well.  One thing I don't like about 5.1 is if you choose My Favorites it always goes to the server to synch first which takes time.  Why favorites if there is going to be a delay in getting there? 

 

If you choose business, the Search For dialog comes up, and you can limit the search to categories. 

 

    

 

If you choose the Address Book, it will first read it which takes a while so my trick above works much better.

 

 

 

Once you have a location by using either the map or looking something up above you can get a route, and apply different styles to the route. 

 

    

 

After you ask for the route it will be downloaded, and thus you need to be in coverage area.  If you go off track a new route will download.  Volume controls are at your fingertips during your route. 

 

   

 

Once your destination has been set, the driving directions will start, and I must say they have implemented this very well.  I keyed in an address and started up the freeway.  The choice of views is impressive along the way.  Let me show you some of the choices. They include a 3D Moving Map, Turn Icons, Route Summary, Traffic Summary, and Map Summary.  You can also Search Along the route for POI's.  

 

      

 

     

 

     

 

3D view above is what you would see if a bird was flying 50 feet high and 2D view (below) is what you would see if you were a cartographer.  Notice the ETA and Distance alternates and you have a turn arrow.  Your current street is shown in 3D view.  With either view you can get Traffic and if you want you can just have the Map follow you.  Also if you don't want a 3D or 2D map you can just have the turn arrows as shown below. 

 

      

 

 

 

Traffic reporting and rerouting is available on 5.1, along with the choice to avoid a segment or minimize all delays. 

 

   

 

  

 

2D map below with Traffic

 

 

 

Telenav does talk to you and you can press the space key to replay the last message.  I noted that rerouting is done very quickly.

 

And when you are done, it will ask you if you are done.  There are actually an number of confirming dialog boxes, some of which are more helpful than others. 

 

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Blackberry Maps

 

RIM has decided the mapping is an important feature, and the 8100 Pearl is the first Blackberry to have BB Maps. You need to use the Blackberry Browser to download it over the air (not Opera or any other browser). The application can be used with a BT GPS puck or without.  You can see maps and get directions without it, but you need the GPS device to track where you are.  BBMaps is now available for the 4.1 OS system BB's with color screens at www.blackberry.com/maps.  The application uses Tele Atlas' map data and scalable vector maps to provide driving directions via an external Bluetooth puck.  Scalable vector maps are smaller data hogs. Scalable vector images convert the graphical information on a single image that is downloaded once and then uses mathematical equations and geometry to describe the map.  If the map service uses bitmap images the device must download additional bitmaps as you zoom in and out of different areas.  The BB Maps application offers the ability to find directions to a location from where you are currently and the ability to map to an address in the address book, which is a nice feature, but you have to have the country in the address (US or Canada).  What BB Maps does not do is provide dynamic directions.  Once the locations are set you can see where you are and you have written directions at the bottom of the screen.   Integration with the BB is very good.  You can zoom in and out using I or O, and if you use the trackwheel you get a Google like scroll bar.  Panning is a breeze with the keyboard button.  You can toggle information at the top of the map with the U key.  You can also email the location points to anyone in your address book.  You can easily switch views using the space bar between GPS (track your movement), Map (location of a place) and Route Preview.  You can save locations to favorites and they display on the maps.  You don't get voice instructions and if you go off course it doesn't reroute you. 

 

Here is my current location with the U key pressed so that the info bar at the top shows.  Another press of the U and it goes away like in the following two screen shots.  Notice how if the GPS is active you see a satellite and it also tells you which view you are seeing.  If you click Pan in the menu, you get instructions on how to pan using the keys.  You can also pan up and down with the trackwheel or right and left by using the trackwheel with the Alt-key.  If you click Zoom, you get a Google like zoom bar that is activated with the scrollwheel and it works really well with the vector maps.  You can also use I and O for shortcuts. 

 

  

 

Below are two screen shots of the full menu.  You won't get a GPS view unless you Start GPS.  You can have the application Go To location you type in or map a location in the address book.  If you have a home and work address you will be given a choice.  If you have the GPS on, you can choose from Center of Map to a Location you define.  Zoom to fit is used with routes to see the entire route, and Zoom to a Point zooms to a location on the map that you have moused over.  See the cross hairs below.  You can also get details on any part of a route or a destination. 

 

  

 

In the screenshots below you can see the two views of GPS and Route Review screens (the Map view is above).  In the GPS screen, black street letters indicate it's the street that you are "currently on" and red street letters with a + is the street that you are "coming up on."   You can see your current direction and speed, plus an arrow showing you where North is.   If you are connected, you see how many satellites you are connected to, and the view you see is listed at the top information bar (U toggles this on and off).  Space bar toggles between the views of Map, GPS, and Route Review.  In the second route review below, I "Zoomed to Point" and instead of showing me the starting point marker (red balloon with the 1), it takes me to the red arrow which is my current location.  Note that in GPS view the map is a bit compressed, but zooming is the easiest and quickest of all of these applications.  To start directions from your current location, when you begin to enter the directions use the Trackwheel to select "Use Map Center."

 

   

 

Note that these Route reviews are no longer present in version 1.1.32.  They are shown on a separate screen and I have not updated the screen shots. 

 

 

 

The options screen is pretty basic.  You pick a GPS device and you tell it if you want the backlight disabled.  This is different than Telenav which gives you the option to turn the screen on a turn approaches.  Enable Track Up allows the direction you are headed to be at the top of the screen.  In the menu you can change that to North if you like.  You can also see your data usage for those not on an unlimited plan.  Shown below is also the email location screen and the help screen which comes through the browser. 

 

  

 

Here is a tip from Steve at BBF on how to use BBMaps effectively with Google Maps by exporting a location from BBMaps to Google Maps. 

If you are interested in using Google Maps to locate businesses in the area in question or whatever reason you might have go between programs.

In BBMaps, wherever your cursor is, you can click for the menu and select "Copy Location" in order to save the information to the clipboard. Then go to Google Maps and use "Find Location", "Enter an address" and paste the clipboard contents in. Google Maps can't use it as-is, so edit out the URL information and leave Latitude and Longitude coordinates separated by a comma.

 

For example:

 

http ://maps.blackberry.com?lat=43.04588&lon=-87.95956&z=1

 

Becomes:  43.04588,-87.95956  (Important - don't forget the "-" if there is one).  Now, you use Google Maps to locate a business, such as Pizza, if you are hungry after a tour at Harley-Davision HQ in Milwaukee.  Once you have found the location, you will now need to click on Find Business and put in the type you want, like "Pizza."

 

You can download the BBMaps guide here.

 

New features coming in the version for the 8800 include the ability to search for POI's, bookmark locations, and the following views.  I will update this page if they materialize.  BBMaps version 1.1.32 does not have these features and that is what is on the 8800.  This is so even though the manual says the following features should be present. 

 

Map view:

You can view maps, location markers, routes, and points of interest.

Directions Dashboard view:

You can view location markers, routes, text directions, and points of interest. You can also highlight and move between directions.

Directions List view:

You can view a list of all text directions.

Locations List view:

You can view a list of location markers and location information.

Locations Map view:

You can view routes, location markers, and points of interest on a map.

Navigation Dashboard view:

You can track your movement and view routes, location markers, and points of interest. You can also view other navigational

information such as upcoming streets, your speed, and your compass direction.

Navigation Map view:

You can track your movement and view routes, location markers, and points of interest.

 

If you don't like BB Maps, go into Options,>Advanced Options>Applications, and then delete LBS.  You will also need to delete the following modules, and then do a hard reboot: 

The four modules are:

net_rim_bb_lbs
net_rim_bb_lbs_api
net_rim_bb_lbs_int
net_rim_bb_lbs_res

 

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Google Maps - Keep this Application Handy

 

Google Maps is a great program for finding points of interest and locations and seeing detailed maps.  You can also see a satellite view and navigation is a breeze.  You can search for a business, and call one too directly from the application.  You can also find locations.  When you find a business you can obtain directions to and from your business or location, and save it as a favorite spot.  For some places you get a detail screen that you can access by holding down ALT and rolling the Trackwheel.  With version 1.5.1 you can use GPS to find your current location (just push 0) and search for businesses at that location.  After you start the application if the GPS is on it will automatically update your location.  See the screen shots with the red around them. 

 

     

 

    

 

Mark a favorite with a star and return to it easily by pressing *.   Your favorites are stored on your BB in something called the Content Store, so be sure to do backups with Desktop Manager.   Press # to see traffic information and call a business you have found.  Zooming in and out is easy with the I and O keys, and moving around is also easy.  U is up, J is down, H is left and K is right, all on my 8700 of course.  Below is a screen shot of traffic on the SF Bay Bride and a satellite view of the SF Wharf. 

 

   

 

 

Routing shows you your start and end point in green and red and you push numbers to advance and get turn directions.  In areas where there is traffic information you get the traffic delay in minutes too.  Pushing 1 and 3 moves you to the previous or next direction.  You can overlay traffic too and your route is shown in purple. 

 

 

  

 

Since Google is using NAVTEQ they have an extensive database of businesses and locations.  If you are going to use Wayfinder below because you like the onetime fee, you need to have a good mastery of Google Maps too.  The About screen in the Help menu has some interesting info like data used and the version.  I recommend that people read the help sections.

 

 

 

If you are having problems connecting (usually if you are not on BES - corporate servers), make sure you can otherwise connect to the internet (sometimes you have enter TCP and APN settings), and try resetting your firewall for Google. Options>Advanced Options>Applications>Google Maps>Edit Permissions>Reset Firewall Prompts

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Wayfinder - Great in Europe

 

Wayfinder is a great program for driving directions and points of interest.  I really like this application and it far exceeded my expectations in terms of usability.  I found it easy to use with plenty of detail and great accuracy. 

 

When you start it up, you see the following screen with the options menu if you click the Trackwheel.  The choices are Find, Route Planner, Show Map, Close-2-you, Favorites, Options and Services. 

 

  

 

You can see your current satellite information if you are wondering about your GPS coverage. 

 

 

If you choose Find ("the magnifying glass"), then you can find items by address, company, category or directory (Eniro is a leading directory for the Scandinavian countries only).  Wayfinder is a Swedish company.  They hope to add a US directory.  Note that searching by company will not find a local Starbucks.   For 2007, they are now going to pull POI's from InfoUSA and push them onto the Tele Atlas maps.  If you don't find your POI, this is where Google Maps comes into play.  One day I looked up a Best Buy and a Honda dealer.  I put their address in under search by address and when it was found, I saved it as a favorite.  After I found my way, I deleted them from the favorites.  Ideally Wayfinder's new POI source will enhance their US effectiveness. They also currently provide traffic in Europe, and will in the US when they find a supplier.

 

 

 

You can also use Wayfinder to find places that are Close-2-You by either using your GPS position, the find tool, your favorites, or a position on the map. 

 

 

You can save favorites for use in routing and discover details.  From the favorite menu you can select one and set it as the start or destination and other choices as shown in the menu below.  The synchronize feature allows you to enter favorites on your PC at your Wayfinder account and then they are added to your application when you start it up.  This is a nice feature for planning a trip. 

 

 

The heart of the application is the Route Planner where you get your driving directions.  You have four icons to choose from:  graphical turn by turn, the navigation map, the route on the map, and the detailed route description.  The Route Planner main screen shows the estimated time and the distance for the entire trip.  That is the total estimated time and distance.  The time or distance on the detail screens is usually to the next turn.  The four choices are shown below.

 

 

     

 

The turn by turn map is great as it shows you the street you are on, your destination street, what your next two turns are and how close you are to the next turn with the blue bars.  Your ETA and speed are shown too.  The navigation maps shows where you are the direction you are pointed along with a close up map of where you are driving.  If you use Wayfinder in the turn by turn view (they call it the Guide View), or the navigation map view then as long as you were in an area with internet coverage when you created the route you will still be routed to the destination if you drive out of a coverage area.  The only problem would be if you go off track as you then need to be re-routed.   The navigation map is drawn by the application, and can be set to automatically reroute if you are in a network coverage area. 

 

 

  

 

The route on map screen shows you the big picture map along with your next turn and the distance to that turn.  There is also a satellite strength meter.  The detailed route description shows each turn and the description.  Note that if the amounts were less than a mile then meters is used to show the distance.  Again the Swedish influence hasn't been fully adapted to the US yet. 

 

The best feature is hit # and you get to move through these different views.   

 

The Options screen below includes turning the sound off, certain routing choices shown in part below, GPS setting and your account communication. 

 

 

The announcement of upcoming streets is now adjustable to Normal, Less and Mute, and you can adjust the volume (the screen shot above is before this feature was added).  I recommend this program for those who like the one time fee and not a subscription.    

 

 

bbTracker for Sports and other Activities

 

This is going to be a popular little program.  The program is great for sports and other activities.  You get three views right now of your current track, elevation and speed.  You can select how often it samples, and they have plans to add a summary screen that summarizes: 

 

·       Total Distance

·       Total Elevation Gain

·       Max Speed

·       Ave Speed

·       Total Time

 

This trip was below was across the SF Bay. This is a great little application.  Go to the download page and install it. 

 

http://www.bbtracker.org/wiki/Download

 

More information can be found at http://www.bbtacker.org and a BBF Forum Thread.

 

After installation, select your options.  Pretty straightforward if you ask me.  The only one that really made me think is the Startup Action- you have choices of Do Nothing, Initialize GPS, Start New Track and Open Track Screen.  You can see what I chose, as this gives me time to get prepared to take off, but I am ready to go when I do.  I am using a Blackberry 8800 with built in GPS by the way.  

 

 

Once you have done this go back to the menu and start your track.  The results are below. 

 

 

Track View - shows coordinates, speed at current point, degree heading, elevation, total distance, and number of track points.   Roll the trackball to view the points. 

 

 

 

Speed View  - shows coordinates, speed at current point, degree heading, elevation, total distance, and number of track points.   Roll the trackball to view the points.  

 

 

Elevation View - shows coordinates, speed at current point, degree heading, elevation, total distance, and number of track points.   Roll the trackball to view the points. 

 

The elevation view was a little problematic as this trip was over the Bay.  I am not sure I ever really got to -141 feet, as I never had that drowning sensation.  I am sure there is a good explanation for this. 

 

You can export your files to both .gpx and .kml formats for viewing in GPS programs and Google Earth or Google Maps from a PC.  In fact if you save your .kml file to the web you might even be able to view it on your BB by entering that web address in the location entry dialog for Google Maps on your BB. 

 

 

 

SPOT for Blackberry - A Geocaching Program

 

Spot provides positions information, waypoints, WMS maps, and elevation information.  Spot is available for $49 for most Blackberries including the 8100.  This application is not primarily a driving direction application.  This is a mostly a geocaching, hiking program that can occasionally be used with a street map to show where you are.  The application can center your current position and will therefore move with you, but it can't really keep up in a car.  It's really for hiking and other outdoor activities.   Centering your position is similar to BB Maps but no turning directions are provided, and like I said it can't keep up in the car, and as map will keep trying to update, the screen will go blank as the needed data isn't pushed from the server fast enough.  This can happen when you are moving too fast or zoom in too much on the map.  However if you are walking you can use either street level maps, or in more remote areas (that have a cell signal) with maps composed of satellite photos or topographic maps.  Once cool feature of Spot is that you can they say you can load any maps that are based on the WMS specification.  Spot maintains a list of WMS maps but I had a hard time getting them to work correctly.  In fact their standard maps were not reliable.  I think the best use of Spot's routing feature is for navigation to a waypoint.  Spot can give you information on the distance, estimate time of arrival and so on. You can add waypoints/POIs (Point of Interest) to mark you favorite locations or download them from the internet. They will be visualized on the map and will show your orientation to wherever you are.  You can save .loc files from www.geocaching.com after posting them to a website.  After saving them to a site, put that site's URL in Spot and they are imported as a waypoint.  Spot can then look up the details of the cache and then download them to the application.  This a great feature for geocachers.  To my knowledge, this is the only application that can be used for geocaching on a BB.  A built-in tracklogger draws a red line showing where you have been on the map. The Elevation screen will visualize the elevation profile of your track.  On the 8700, you use 2 and 8 key to zoom by a factor you set by pushing the spacebar to be either 2x, 4x, or 8x.  The 5 key toggles between zoom and pan, and the choice of auto center is set in the global settings.  If auto center is on you can't pan.  If you are panning the 2, 4, 6, and 8 keys are for panning. 

 

Spot 1.4.1 adds the ability to save waypoints and maps to the microSD card for the BB 8100 and 8800.  Brief instructions on maps can be found here. 

 

Here is what it looks like in action.  The icons were added in version 1.4 and are a nice addition.  Also added in 1.4 was the green indicator that your GPS is locked on and available. 

 

    

      Menu Screen with choices                  Position information screen. 

  

 

Topo Map in route high zoom                  Topo Map in Route lower zoom

 

The red line is trackback route, and the blue box is the current position.  The shots above are with the Terraserver Topo map and I found that one to be the most consistent of the choices. 

 

Version 1.4 added some nice features, including the menus items seen below.  You can also see the green ball in the upper left that indicates you are getting a GPS signal.  The ball is red if there is no signal.  Note that the new menu items let you choose a zoom level and some standard maps.  These are nice but are not consistent.  For example the Topo 1 map you see above would not load at the Zoom: Street Level so you had to go to the City level then zoom in as explained above.  If the maps don't load you get the WMS error seen below.  I always got a WMS error on Topo 2 and sometimes on the Street Level map too.

 

  

 

   

The Layer manager allows you to choose what you will see.  In the Topo map example above, I have the red line (Tracklog) showing plus the Waypoints (there were none saved from this view), and scale info which you can see in the lower left of the screen shots above.  The WMS choice screen is shown above right from version 1.3 (in 1.4 you get US Street Level as a choice instead too), and the screen shots above are with the Terraserver Topo map.  You can see the US Street Level examples in the menu shots above.  Note that I never did successfully use a custom WMS map.  The geographynetwork choice shows street level maps.  Changing the options requires a lot of Trackwheel clicking which as many of you know isn't my favorite thing to do.

 

 

    

The Waypoints menu lets you add new ones, import them from the web and assign categories.  If I deleted a category and still had a Waypoint in that category I got a warning message.  I did have some java errors trying to use categories. The Browse Waypoints screen shows you all of your waypoints but you can't really display the list by categories so I am not sure how useful they are.  The Route to screen is useful in directing you to your waypoint.  I am going to give this a try geocaching. 

 

The Browse Waypoints menu shows ones that I saved from the Waypoints menu above.  The second one is from www.geocaching.com.

 

 

These shots show elevation and the satellite positions and strength.  For whatever reason, the ferry boat seems to be underwater at a negative elevation.   I am not sure what is happening but it seems like the elevation readings are off a 100 feet or so. 

 

 

 

Here are the Global Settings choices and the Settings menu.  You can change your key configurations and reconnect to your BT from these settings. 

 

So SPOT is really the only program out there for hiking (assuming you have signal) and geocaching, but the program is inconsistent and not reliable, and there for I think it's way overpriced.

 

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Mapquest Navigator for Blackberry by Telmap- Currently in Testing for Spring 07

 

 

Telmap provides the GUI interface for Mapquest (an AOL company).  While supposedly only available for Sprint and Nextel subscribers for 9.99 per month after a free trial, these screen shots are courtesy of MrKyoo at BBF on his T-Mobile 8100 Pearl (running BB OS 4.2) which connected to his GPS puck automatically on build .85.  He installed the 7130e version of the software.  Read this thread about the service which has links to the .jad files for OTA downloads.  This service is sourced through Telmap, and you can find the manual here which explains the features and screenshots below.  On my 8800, I am testing a version to be released in Spring 07.   Their POI's come from Navteq and InfoUSA and they have a web interface at www.telmap.com/planner. 

 

    One the distinguishing features of Telmap is that their navigation system uses a unique technology called " Route corridor technology", this is a patented technology they developed to avoid the famous " ping effect" you get with other apps.  Say you are driving along your route, you make a mistake (or just stop to get some gas), since other apps only download the information about your specific route, it has no idea where you are when you make a mistake and need to re-calculate (ping...), Murphy's law would have it that at this specific time you would be out of network coverage, on the phone etc.. therefore the system would not be able to recalculate and you would make another mistake (ping...).  What Mapquest  does is download a little but more data (corridor) around your route, that way the program can:

 

a. Do an automatic re-route without contacting the server (out of network coverage, on the phone etc.)

b. Recognize IMMEDIATELY when you make a mistake (try it!)

 

If you do go out of the route, it will try to reroute through the server. 

 

I will say that the Night Mode shot below has a cool factor to it.

 

 

 

    

 

        

 

        

 

      

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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