June 30, 2012

More On Google vs. Apple Maps

I know this is supposed to be a blog about geocaching, but location-aware smartphones and their map apps have become such a huge aspect of geocaching (for better or worse), that this topic can't be ignored. Even by an old school, stand-alone GPSr device user such as myself.

This post on the Google Operating System Blog speculates on what features Google may have in store for its map app to stay ahead of the competition, which is especially important now since Apple's announcement that it will be using its own map app in iOS 6 rather than Google's. It is expected that Google's iOS version of its map app wil include features that used to be limited to Android devices, like vectorial maps, offline maps, navigation, integration with Google Places and new features like the "fly-over maps". It's possible we might even see integration of Google Earth and Google Maps on mobile devices.

Check out this short video showing some of the 3D imagery coming to Google Earth for mobile, featuring a cool tour of my home region in the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area:

In other mapping-related news, presumably in light of the mass exodus of online mapping providers using the Google Maps API (like Groundspeak and Foursquare), Google has drastically lowered the price it charges developers, from $4 to $.50 per 1,000 map loads.

Cache On!

June 16, 2012

"Standalone GPS Devices are Dying"

Lots in the news this week about Apple dropping Google Maps and replacing it with their own mapping service in the next iOS release. This article in PC Magazine goes as far to suggest that this change will "kill GPS devices". Apparently this guy has never been geocaching.
True, Apple's move could hasten the demise of stand-alone, in-vehicle navigation devices, but this will have absolutely no effect on how I use my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx device; nor will it impact my decision to purchase another one, should I ever need to.

Cache On!

June 2, 2012


I admit it; I'm not much of a bookworm. I spend most of my time outdoors or in front of a computer screen. But my family bought me a great book a while back as a gift. It's called, Maphead, and was written by Ken Jennings, who is better known as the all-time reigning Jeopardy! champion. I think my family got me the book because I'm somewhat of a geo-nerd. What they didn't know, and what turned out to be an added bonus, is that there is an entire chapter of this book dedicated to geocaching.

In chapter 10, Mr. Jennings does a great job summarizing the history of geocaching, and provides some very interesting insights through interviews with Dave Ulmer (hider of the very first "geo-stash"), Jeremy Irish, along with top-cachers; EMC of Northridge CA, and Alamogul. It includes some interesting tidbits about how Ulmer was not a fan of geocaching.com at all for many years, and a discussion of what might have prompted the world's most prolific cacher at the time, CCCooperAgency, to suddenly just walk away from the sport in 2009, never to cache again.

So if you are a fan of maps and cartography, you will really enjoy this book. And, if you also enjoy geocaching (and who doesn't?), then you'll love this book; especially chapter 10.

Maphead is available on Amazon: Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

Cache On!