My search for a good GPS app ended on Google Latitude

GPS-app  Hi folks I am Udayan a regular reader. I wanted to share my experience with various GPS Apps with MobiGyaan Readers so I contacted Puneet and he agreed. So here is my first Article on MobiGyaan – Need some encouragement from you guys so please post your comments

The urge to explore location based applications or GPS applications started last year when I bought a Nokia E-71 (mainly, for its looks).From then, I m a big E-71 fan. It is the best phone I have ever used till date ( Past includes low end Nokia, Samsung, Classic, Micromax  and LG phones to high end phones like Nokia N 91,E 71,E 63,BB etc. Thanks to my friends)

Nokia provides 3 months subscription to use Nokia maps. Unfortunately, Nokia Maps cover few metro cities and so I was not able to explore it completely. But for the  time I used it, it was simply great. Maps were detailed and GPS positioning was also accurate. Voice guidance was worth praising. I really liked it.

But, I needed a GPS software which would guide me in my city. I googled it and found ‘wayfinder navigator’. It was a paid software for around 1500 bucks (approx) for six months subscription. The only drawback of this software was that it required GPRS to work. The Non-GPRS version is priced at for 3500 Rs (approx.) with some other navigation software (This cost was too high for me). So, I purchased the former one. I used it for a month or two .I personally didn’t like it. User interface was not really cool. Also, GPRS availability is not always available in rural areas. At such times, you are left alone :-(

Few months later I found was not a navigation software but a tracking software. The software resides in your handset and with the help of GPS and GPRS , tracks your location on their website. You can keep your location viewable to all or just yourself. You can keep the track of yourself on maps. This was a very new concept for me. I used it for few days but the concept of publicly showing your present location was a drawback. I mean, I just wanted to share my current location with few of my friends and not the world.

Now my tech hungry mind was searching for a mobile software which was  a combination of navigation + tracking. And finally I came across Google latitude which is a combination of both navigation + tracking. great, isn’t it? The best part is, it can locate you by cell tower triangulation i.e.,you do not need to have GPS receiver in your handset. Although GPS receiver can give you more accurate location as compared to cell tower triangulation.( GPS doesn’t works indoor whereas cell tower triangulation works wherever your phone receives the signals.)

The latitude function allows you to invite your Gmail contacts to view your location on their computer or mobile screen. Your privacy settings can easily be configured.

Recently Google latitude launched location history and location alerts. The location history maintains your location history whereas alerts lets you know when your latitude friend is near you or visits a new place via SMS or email. I have tested location history and it works perfectly fine. Although, I will be using location alerts soon once my friends agree to use Google Latitude.

Oh, did I mention, Google latitude is free!!!

But there are some drawback
  • First is that it needs GPRS connection
  • Secondly, Google Latitude doesn’t works on low end phones. It doesn’t works on many Sony Ericsson and Samsung high end phones even. Well, you can view requirement on the website itself.
  • Third is that It doesn’t support voice instructions.
Do you also use Google Latitude or other similar Mobile App? Do post your comment about the GPS App you use on your mobile. (Those who do not use any GPS Application can also comment  )