Ovi Maps-How it work

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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?”

helmut_lost_at_sea desert


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 smart2go 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 navteqacquired 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.


Why Ovi?ovi

“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?

 

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Lost my Nokia 5800 by today morning

Update: The all info has been updated and I was wrong at some points, read the updates in below part of the post.


Again felt that how helpless you might be … The same story happened as once with my Laptop. Lost my beloved Nokia 5800.
Really feeling helpless that technologies don’t work in the way you wish they should. Fault is ours that we should have been much more aware and careful. I always left Google Lattitude on over my cell sharing my location all the time, but look like that’s not sufficient as its showing only my location from some 30 days back, might be the day, when I might have pushed my location button in Google Maps on my cell. wasn’t that supposed to keep on updating my location all the time? If not so, then why does it ask every time I close Google Map that you wish to keep on sharing or not? Same with ovi maps. Useless!!!
Still just one hour back, when I lost it. Going to office. Will try more things from there, but I already try a few things in hurry at my room. No luck, so not much hope as my connection is prepaid and India is pathetic about such matters. There should be some way out for such cases….
 
Now, while I am extremely careful about the trial device Nokia N900, I found the flaw horrible, about which I wrote article just by last night. Google doesn’t provide Google map application for maemo and maemo haven’t made a workaround, thanks to no support for traditional Java. price is this, it wasn’t easy to find Lattitude over this cell, neither in hurry I found a way to see Lattitude on web. Will try, but not much hope left, getting late for office. In evening, was to go home to meet parents on occassion of Holi, wished to show them the new set. But …..


Update: I might had been kind of panic when posted the post above. After calming down, I tried to re-look my options again and sure Lattitude was working and sharing my location till last two hours (after that the person who has got the same has switched off the cell). I am placing the location live on the board, so that if he will put his phone on then could be tracked. As of now, I could summarize that the same person must have picked Metro from either Yamuna Bank, Metro Station or Laxmi Nagar, Metro station and switched off the cell at Mayur Vihar, Phase I, Extension Metro Station. The next metro station is New Ashok Nagar, Metro Station as you can see from the Google Map. The Map is available with my  Blogger’s Blog (WordPress is blocking the script as usual due to presence of frames I guess)

Note that the above mentioned map is live and showing the actual location of the person through Lattitude, if cellfone is switched on.

The following steps taken by me till now:

  1. I am not deactivating my number as of now though its a security risk, but security risk is already there due to my contacts on phone, which are in sync with Google Account. Although sync will stop once I change the passwords, but with that change also the tracking will be off.
  2. I have enabled history and other settings from Google Latitude settings here. Enabled SMS and Email alerts.

Google maps Vs Nokia Ovi Maps

This is the second post, I am typing from MaStory of Nokia N900. Sure, typing from Windows Live Writer is a much better and comfortable thing to do, but I really want to explore this beast Nokia N900 and really enjoying typing from its qwerty keypad.


Something I am kind of hating about Maemo is unavailability of Java Support with it as of now, although their wiki page for java suggest a lot of things, but still I find it frustating for a majority of users. Gmail and Google Maps client is something that people really gonna miss here and unavailability of these gonna be deal breaker even when OS has much potential, but ……

 

Nokia already provide their implementation of Maps and its free as well, then why one look for Google Maps?

There are many features that Google Maps offer you better than Nokia Maps. listing some of them below:

1. Quicker Locking of location: There might be arguments over this, but by personal experiences still gps find Google Maps quicker about this. Call it quicker and robust servers of Google of something else, but it is. May be the reason is that Google Maps get assisted by a service My Location from Google, which helps you out in finding your location even if your cellfone might not be having a GPS chip at all using your cellular network id. Sure, not exact though (diameter of 300-500 meters depending on nearest tower location). Although there is a my location icon in Nokia Maps, but I dont think it works that way. Working without GPS is sure something great (though not accurate)

2. Imagery of Google Maps is so much richer than Nokia Maps:street
Although Nokia still provides you satelite view, but I still dont see actual imaginary with it like the way Google Maps does. Moreover, recent additions of Street view makes it invincible in a kind. You get a real look over thing in place of looking over just pre-designed maps. Things like
street view could make you go crazy about the way Google Map put it.

3. Integration with other Google services like Lattitude and Buzz now:buzz1
Although it depends on you that what you use, but sure Buzz is here to stay and so Google Maps get one more reason. Lattitude gives you the way to share your location, so that your friends and your circle may find that where are you. Sure, Ovi maps have started the same, if I am right, but still …. Call it my own preference or I lived a lot with Google Maps.

I am not sure that there is any, but should be applications that which might be utilizing your location on more than one account like on Lattitude and Ovi, so that one would be able to see that where their friends are whether they are using Lattitude or Ovi Maps. This is highly crucial as one could find it by my instance.

4. Synchronization with desktop version of Google Maps:starred
If I am right then recently Nokia had tried to cover this issue by providing syncing the starred locations via their ovi accounts implementations, but still it can,t be compared with the level Google has brought it by My Maps. Here in India, we already started getting marriage invitations with routes defined in Google Map. Much convenient is to have the same into your cell.

 

 


So, this all was about Google Maps, but Ovi Maps have some dominating advantages and some solid reasons to be with it, specially after covering many flaws with ovi maps now. Let’s see how ….

1. Accurate locking:
Yes!! I said that Google Map seems to locking position quickly that too sometimes without availabilty of GPS signal, but how this actually work? It gets your nearest cellular tower and reports your destination with a good precision. While for actual locking through Satelites requires at least signal from two-three satelites. Nokia Maps might seem late in locking, but they lock you accurately in the same time or better than Google does.

2. What’s you care? Fancy imaginary or efficient navigation:
You might be confused that I am taking whose side? But I am talking about some facts here. Have you noticed the data usages by both the applications? Nokia does it offline and Google rely on live dynamic imaginary, sure fancy and detailed but ten times more costly than Nokia’s kind of offline ways. Checking your location that how it look like from satelite to show off is another thing and daily cost efficient navigation is something else.

3. Voice guided turn by turn navigation:
This is real deal breaker with Nokia Maps. Google’s voice guided navigation still not available for devices other than Android, while Nokia made it free for many of its devices which are sure in pocket of common man. More of that its so accurate and rich that you can imagine only on using the same. A perfect replacement for old GPS base navigation devices. Just put your phone on deck of your car and keep on driving or keep your headphones on and take a walk enjoying turn by turn witty navigation. While Google could provide you data-consuming text kind of navigation only not real time yet (even though directions and alternative routes might be innovative and dynamic, but all comes for a price in terms of data usages that too without any voice). Do one expect to look into cell all the time while driving?

4. Social side:
As I said, I dont see it a distant reality when sharing location could be unified means it’ll of no matter that you are using ovi or lattitude to share your location. If Google shares location live with lattitude then so does ovi with its own implementation and even with recent changes it provides option to share your location with Facebook. So, as Om Malik mentioned, “co-ordinates itself are of no means, but what matters with them is their social context.”

5. Synchronization:
After overhauling of their Nokia map, Nokia really faired enough about covering up many things. One was sync of things like Map locations. So, Nokia too have a solution with an ovi account of yours. Sure, till now No Buzz for ovi map, but who knows there might be apps out there to share your tweets with ovi maps someday.

6. More features are being added:
Though not of that mention, but Ovi stated adding other features like weather reports as per your location, finding nearest happening places etc. I am really looking for a twitter layer for Ovi Maps, it will put some spice in the game.

Conclusion:
So, I think I discuss enough basic points here. What I think Google Map has enough features for people having Unlimited data plans, but if you are asking about accurate and cost effective solution for navigation use then Nokia Map sure a choice. Note that google is not providing you offline maps means if you are low on balance for GPRS use, then forget navigation.

I wish to have more points, if you could offer about this comparison and would love to hear about moments you might have spent with both of these great apps.

 

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar