Generation Smartphone heads for the mountains: Maps 3D feature offensive
May 24, 2012 in Navigation
[prMac.com] Wurzburg, Germany - Smartphones and social media are nowadays revolutionizing people's communication behavior and their everyday lives. With the smartphone, for the first time GPS receivers are finding their way into people's pockets and are changing the way they orient themselves, how they plan and go about their outdoor activities for the weekend or for longer vacation tours, and how they ultimately share these experiences with friends. Among smartphone users, the classic city or hiking map in 2D is thus usually left at home in favor of a more favorable app.
Just in time for the outdoor season, Maps 3D comes up with an update. Ranked as the bestselling outdoor app for months on the iPhone in Germany, Italy, Austria and other European countries, Maps 3D is kicking off a feature offensive with numerous intelligent and innovative enhancements: ReverseTrack, intermediate destination and a comprehensive trip export function. With the latter, users can post their recorded routes along with waypoints and photos with a simple tap of a finger, email them, twitter them or share them with friends on their Facebook wall. A link in the email or from the wall takes those interested to the route, which can then be displayed either in Google Maps or Google Earth, as they wish. The photos taken along the route can be displayed by clicking on them.
New feature: Follow tracks in both directions
The movingworld team developed the ideas for ReverseTrack and intermediate destinations as part of a weeks-long hiking and programming retreat in the mountains. With ReverseTrack, walkers, hikers, bicyclists or horseback riders can follow downloaded tracks in both directions - an extremely useful function that no other outdoor tool provides. "You can almost always take a route in two directions - so it's been annoying up till now when the route found ran in the opposite direction to your own," said movingworld's CEO Moritz Gaupp getting to the heart of the solved problem. Only Maps 3D now displays the stretch of the route behind you in addition to the meters of altitude to go - and what's more, in both directions.
New feature: Simplifying orientation with intermediate destination
With the intermediate destination function, movingworld is showing a new approach to simplifying orientation in the field - especially when there's no ready-made tour available. As before, you can set a destination which is led to by a line. The distance to it is always precisely calculated. Now an intermediate destination can be set over which the line is redirected to the destination. Thus, distance and direction to the intermediate destination are always available without losing view of the overall destination. Both destinations are visualized in the compass. "Thinking in waypoints is much closer to the real needs of day-trippers: you want to know how far it is to the next museum, the next apple spritzer in the bicyclist restaurant or to the peak, and in what direction you've got to keep going," says Gaupp about the advantages.
The technical hurdles have been lowered for everyday people
When the smartphone generation plans, they look at the destination region in advance on Google Earth, click their trip together or download a ready-made trip from one of the many free portals. "Lots of users upload their own trips and make them available to other users," explains Gaupp, adding, "Not too long ago this was just for techie nerds, but now completely new communities are growing around this. The technical hurdles have been significantly lowered, so that everyday people can find their way around the portals."
Mass compatibility due to worldwide standards and intuitive 3D-view
Something that's important for mainstreaming is the worldwide standard for trip imports: the files end in ".gpx" in which the trails are stored precisely. This allows anyone today to grab almost any route in the world, online and for free - from a sightseeing city tour of Berlin to a crossing of the Alps on foot to a ski tour in the US. With Maps 3D as the market leader among iPhone outdoor apps, there's an additional unique function that traditional paper maps can't offer: an interactive 3D view. For this, movingworld uses satellite data from NASA and developed an exact 3D model from NASA's terrain scans of the whole earth. The practical benefit: "Instead of having to tediously interpret contour lines on a paper map or a traditional GPS device, your own path is revealed - right into the mountains - three-dimensionally and thus significantly more intuitive," says Gaupp. In less than a year, Maps 3D has been able to win over 300,000 iPhone owners, 100,000 of which are in Germany alone. And the download figures in the last six months have once again markedly picked up speed.
600.000 volunteers contributes to the "Wikipedia of maps"
At least as important for the mass compatibility of map apps is the availability of free, high-quality digital map data. The OpenStreetMap (OSM), a kind of Wikipedia for maps which 600,000 volunteers around the world contribute to, is currently bringing about the breakthrough. "With the advent of GPS-enabled smartphones, the days of obscenely expensive GPS tools for pros are gone. From a quality standpoint, Maps 3D is the equal of traditional GPS hardware costing several hundreds of Dollars," says Gaupp. To keep the hurdles to entry low, Maps 3D can also be used with an iPod touch or a Bluetooth GPS.
Thanks to GPS-enabled smartphones, getting lost is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. As you move, a blue cursor on the display within Maps 3D always shows where you are. Even if you're only a few meters off the track or fog has limited your view, in the future, the smartphone will show you the altitude you need to reach and the rest of the path ahead of you. At the destination of the trip, all data can be reviewed and shared: distance and altitude, speed and miles covered.
About Maps 3D:
Since the launch of the iPhone app Maps 3D last year, Maps 3D has reached the top 5 ranking in the navigation category in apps stores in over 30 countries. In Germany it has leveled off between second and fifth place in the same category and now has over 300,000 users worldwide. Maps 3D is the comprehensive tool for planning, navigating, plotting and sharing of trips. When planning a trip at home, the outdoor fan first select the region of his/her choice at one of three zoom levels and downloads the data to their iPhone. Then with a few taps, the user transfers free trips either from the trip portal of his/her choice such as Everytrail, or from other sources.
In the planning phase as well as later in the field, Maps 3D helps with an intuitively graspable compass-oriented 3D map, which correctly assesses the difficulty of the trail and maintains an overview. Maps 3D displays various natural reference points along the way, such as mountains, lakes, rivers and other landmarks to make orientation even easier for the user. Selectable intermediate destinations, so-called waypoints, can be imported or created from scratch during the preparation stage. A compass and a direct connection between standpoint, intermediate destination and final destination help with orientation in the open field. Geocachers will appreciate the option of being guided to a fixed set of coordinates.
Maps 3D at a glance:
* Worldwide 2D and 3D maps in offline mode
* GPS orientation for all outdoor activities - hiking, cycling tours, horseback riding, skiing
* Track recorder with real altitude data
* Trip computer with all key data
* Maps from OpenStreetMap and OpenCycleMap, 340 skiing regions worldwide
* Download the destination region at home prior to your trip in the desired resolution via Wi-Fi
* Selectable Points of Interest (POIs) are place and street names, mountain peaks, lakes, beaches and other landmarks
* Import and create waypoints
* NEW: Waypoints can be linked with pictures within the app and published together with the trip
* NEW: Share routes with photos on Facebook, Twitter and by email
* NEW: Define intermediate destinations and use them as orientation points
* NEW: Take your tour in both directions using ReverseTrack
We would be happy to arrange interviews with Moritz Gaupp. If you would like to give Maps 3D a try, we will gladly send you a test code for the app.
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later
* 9.8 MB
Pricing and Availability:
Maps 3D - GPS Tracks for Bike, Hike, Ski & Outdoor 2.7 is $2.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Navigation category.
The man behind the development of Maps 3D is Moritz Gaupp, a former feature product manager at Garmin/Navigon, where he was responsible for the successful navigation system's map display until 2011. "We believe that users want solutions for better orientation outside of the car, particularly on their smartphones. This applies especially to all those who enjoy exploring the great outdoors. We want to drive this area forward with our app development centre, movingworld", says Moritz Gaupp, movingworld founder and head developer. Copyright (C) 2012 Moritz Gaupp. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.
TDUB Public Relations