Who Wants a Free GPS for Their Shadow?
You heard right, Free as in Beer. We’ve talked about it in the past but now is as good a time as any to rehash the concept. Many of you are aware of Google Maps’ ability to triangulate your location using Cell Tower information. Many times this accuracy ranges from 500 meters to 5000 meters. Most of the time this is unacceptable. Additionally there is no way to share this information with other location based programs. Most of our readership lives in cities and have some sort of access to the internet be it through a data plan or wifi access. This is an important part of how this free GPS works so keep reading for the details.
The ‘07 Shadow and the ‘09 UMA Shadow both lack a proper GPS. While one can use a Bluetooth GPS with them, it can be tedious to do so. I know many were disappointed that the UMA Shadow was released without 3G and GPS but we do have a viable solution. The UMA Shadow does sport the ability for better calling in the concrete jungle using the wifi to place UMA calls with a seamless transition to Cell Towers and it is this Wifi access that enables us to dial in on a better location. Using Wifi points, regardless of being able to connect to them or not, this Free GPS will triangulate your position rapidly and effectively.
I’m talking about Navizon. It is software based and uses a database of known cell towers and wifi access points to triangulate your position. It does include its own mapping system and features buddy sharing, and different map views. The Pro version even allows for tracking and a desktop browser interface for viewing your location (or someone else’s). Of course you can choose not to share your location. The Premium version also includes the ability to hold a local version of the database on the device if you don’t want to use data or if you might be traveling in areas without much coverage.
The program comes with plenty of options that include being able to choose which port to send the data to. This is useful for programs such as Google Maps and Live Search (Bing). I chose COM8 as the virtual port and it seems to work well. Be sure to choose that port in Google Maps or whatever location based app you are using. You can play around with it to see which works best for you. I did experience trouble with ActiveSync as long as Navizon was running.
If you misplace or lose your phone a lot then take advantage of MobiFindr. You can enable it in the Options menu and set a passcode. Basically if you send a text with the passcode in it to the phone then Navizon/MobiFindr will send the location back to you so you can find your phone. Very handy for the forgetful.
If you have other friends using Navizon then you can share your location live with them. This is similar to Latitude on Google Maps. But if you are using Navizon as a Virtual GPS and routing that information to Google Maps then you already have this covered.
Navizon also include Satellite and Hybrid maps along with local search and directions. I had a few connection errors when using local search and the directions were spot on but were not formatted for the screen. There is a list view for directions that does work well with the Shadow’s screen.
In the end I would recommend Navizon to anyone with a Windows Mobile device and no GPS. It is a rare app with plenty of features and helps bridge the hardware gap by using software to solve problems. Additionally, if you have a Bluetooth GPS and want to make some money you can use Navizon and map out unknown Cell towers and Wifi Access Points with your Bluetooth GPS by just driving around. So if you don’t have a Bluetooth GPS download and install Navizon. It’s free to use and very useful. The Premium version is $9.99 and includes some very useful features as well. I give it 4 out of 5 Shadows.
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