Since the dawn of time, Man has needed a method for finding his way around the Earth, without getting lost in the process. His efforts have progressed from simply strategies, such as marking trails and following stars, to the use of complex man-made devices like compasses and, more recently, global positioning systems, or GPS. Originally employed by the U.S. Department of Defense, the GPS Operational Constellation, which consists of twenty-four satellites set into orbit around the Earth, is now used by everyday folks, for everyday purposes.
I’ve been using GPS in training for my first marathon. My Timex Triathlon watch, which I use to measure the distance of my long runs, as well as my speed and time, comes with a Garmin GPS that feeds the information to the watch. It’s helped me improve my pace and mileage. And lately I’ve been using the new Bluetooth GPS receiver from EMTAC Technology Corp. in conjunction with my Palm Tungsten T handheld and Mapopolis software as a means of navigating the city I live in — Atlanta, Georgia. Haven’t got lost since.
The EMTAC CRUX II Wireless GPS is surprisingly small and lightweight, only 2.2 ounces. In fact, slip it into its leather case and fasten it to your belt and you just may forget that it’s there. It’s so tiny, it makes my Sony Ericsson T68i cell phone seem large.
It’s also surprisingly easy to use. Simply plug it in and charge up its lithium-ion battery, then turn it on. The green GPS and blue Bluetooth lights begin to flash — signaling that it’s looking for GPS satellites and other Bluetooth devices. When you launch Mapopolis on your PDA, it searches for Bluetooth devices, quickly discovering the EMTAC Bluetooth GPS. Select it and it connects with absolutely no fuss.
It may take a couple of minutes to get a fix on the necessary three satellites the first time you use it, but after that it takes less than 15 seconds. Once you’ve got a fix you can launch a map (I used a map of Fulton County, Georgia, which includes much of the Atlanta metropolitan area). Your location displays as a circle on the map. (EMTAC claims accuracy within 10 meters.) Mapopolis can also generate turn-by-turn directions to a location you’re trying to get to and provides your latitude, longitude, direction, elevation, speed, and satellite strengths on its GPS information screen.
Transplant Computing is offering the EMTAC Wireless GPS Bundle for the Palm OS platform. It includes the EMTAC Bluetooth GPS and a new version of Mapopolis’s Platinum Edition navigation software, designed to take full advantage of the ARM-based OMAP1510 processor in Palm’s Bluetooth-enabled Tungsten T handheld. Mapopolis offers maps for most U.S., Canadian and European cities. This bundle will also be available soon under the Socket brand name in retail locations.