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Have you ever woke up dreaming that you are alone in some desert? You go right, you go left, run forward, come backward, just to find sand everywhere. May be you are just half a mile from the way out, but which way?
Similar has been theme of many horror flicks, where a group get lost in desert or sea and then bad things happen … Have you noticed that such movies started loosing their effect now days? Because when we might be watching them in full ‘tension’, then some kid of our family jumps in to shout on screen “Don’t any of you all have Nokia with you?”
Sometimes enabling the invention to reach the masses becomes much bigger than the invention itself, same is with Nokia/ Ovi Maps otherwise we were hearing only stories about Jack’s compass 😉
How this all started?
It was path breaking move, when for the first time time Nokia started giving Smart2Go for free in February 2007, after acquiring German Route Planning Software Company Gate5 in August 2006. That time, it really made the statement that soon high charging navigation companies & gadgets will be out of market and normal users, who might have heard of it in flight navigation like big things only, will have their piece of cake right into their hands. Being the largest cellfone manufacturer of world and known for longer life batteries, it was expected to be a real life thing and it became the same.
With Smart2Go, Nokia was using Tele Atlas NV, but later, the rival full time navigation giant TomTom acquired the same and before it could hurt Nokia, Nokia acquired Navteq (which earlier was powering Google Maps) to keep this lovely child within their own hands (it still operates independently under Nokia) and Smart2Go became a core part of Nokia Product line with the name, we been familiar from long Nokia Maps, which later on after association with Ovi Services and Ovi Suit renamed to Ovi Maps by public beta on August 28, 2008. So, this was the story behind Ovi Maps as we see it today.
“Ovi” is a Finnish word that stands for “Door” and it really opened the door for so many possibilities. Ovi Sync, Ovi Store, Ovi Maps, Ovi Mails, Ovi Share, Ovi Files, Ovi Player etc. It really changed the way, a normal user was using the Smartphone. Personally myself loved the way, I kept my contacts synced on all my Smartphones.
How Navigation devices work for mobiles?
This all started due to regulation encouragement for mobile phone tracking that was associated with E911 then (Enhanced-911) and lots of mobile phones started having built-in receivers with varying degrees of coverage and user accessibility.
There been one class of mobile devices, who works on A-GPS means wont work once out of range of their carrier’s cell towers and the another class that works worldwide on satellite GPS signals like dedicated GPS devices. Even the third class has been introduced as hybrid positioning system, which usages other signals like wi-fi spots etc.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is actually a constellation of 27 Earth-orbiting satellites (24 in operation and three extras in case one fails, though I am not sure about the numbers actually). The U.S. military developed and implemented this satellite network as a military navigation system, but soon opened it up to everybody else. Later many others joined the same like China, like Google with its own Satelites and its became an open world, when GPS tracking is concerned.
Each of these 3,000- to 4,000-pound solar-powered satellites circles the globe at about 12,000 miles (19,300 km), making two complete rotations every day. The orbits are arranged so that at any time, anywhere on Earth, there are at least four satellites "visible" in the sky.
A GPS receiver’s job is to locate four or more of these satellites, figure out the distance to each, and use this information to deduce its own location. This operation is based on a simple mathematical principle called trilateration. Trilateration in three-dimensional space can be a little tricky, for those interested in details, can check always amazing HowStuffWorks link or also the other link to know that how at least 8 satellites are always in line of sight or each position on earth still due to a number of factors, its always mentioned that the accuracy should be taken up to 15 m to 20 m .
What makes Nokia’s Ovi Maps different and better?
Nokia made it possible to reach this technology right into hands of common people, not only that but Nokia used Free Hybrid Vector design specially made of mobile usage and provides offline Maps (No Network coverage required, though if available then will assist in locking the location fast). Moreover, the coverage of over 180 countries make it best maps with best global coverage that even go up to street level navigation for 74 countries in 46 different languages (must be more by now).
When I am talking about Languages, then yes!! not only text, but Nokia started providing Voice based turn by turn navigation for many of its devices. I have used it several times (regularly you say) and always been fascinated by its accuracy. I really wonder sometimes that it knows my city and even street much better than any person living here from years. Yeah!! though these maps get updated only twice a year (might be the frequency increased by now), so there are limitation about quick and shot-lived changes, but even then you must give them credit for devising such a great system that much available to you.
I personally praised Google Maps a lot like Google’s other services, but still I must accept that Google stands behind when the actual usability for mass is concerned. Yes!! Google is excellent about coverage, about searching addresses and about other innovations like Street View and so clear satellite view, but what are you paying? Google’s Maps are always rendered online means they are of no use once you out of coverage (leave the data charges aside and draining of battery aside), moreover, still Voice based turn by turn navigation reached to only Android 2.0 devices (none of them below 25k I guess), while Nokia is providing you turn by turn voice guidance for life time free on devices costing around 10k.
Google might be great about Route Planning before start your travel and it would be quite handy to keep a route instruction generated by Google Maps including local landmarks etc, but you never know what network reception will you get while on the way, so Ovi Maps does matter a lot.
High Data Charges, Inability to serve without Network coverage and Non-availability of Voice based turn-by-turn navigation for low cost devices, there are the three points, which keeps Google still behind when it comes to actual mass and keep you fascinated that how Nokia actually does it?