G.P.S. Units With More to Say
By ROY FURCHGOTT The New York Times October 24, 2007
MANUFACTURERS of global positioning system receivers have seen the future, and it has little to do with maps.
"Most people know where they are going," said Julie Ask, a wireless analyst for Jupiter Research. "They spend 95 percent of their time driving around their towns. What do you add on so people use G.P.S. driving around their hometowns? Directions just aren't enough."
One answer from manufacturers is "dynamic content," a fancy way of saying that future G.P.S. units will get up-to-the-minute information by Wi-Fi or a cellphone data service. That means drivers will be warned of traffic slowdowns as they happen and can get detailed information about "points of interest" - not just where to find a gas station, but which has the cheapest fuel.
The most advanced attempt at dynamic content is currently being made by Dash Navigation, whose portable G.P.S. device not only receives positioning signals from satellites, but also collects driving speed and road data from cars that use it and anonymously report this information to a database.
That data would let Dash know the actual speed at which traffic travels at different times of the day, so that it could route cars more effectively than current systems can. The Dash will be available in the first quarter of 2008.
But for the Dash to build the database, it needs many drivers to buy the things and use them.