May 022006

A virtual globe for your phone..
I’ve just downloaded Wayfinder Earth to my mobile phone. It’s a beta version, mapping application that zooms from a globe overview down to city street level, and links to a GPS to provide a phone-based satellite navigation system.

The globe is nicely rendered and pans smoothly. I was quite impressed. Providing that you have an internet connection, the transition from globe to the maps (provided by Tele Atlas) is seamless and rapid. The maps themselves are hardly beautiful, but are nevertheless functional and detailed. It can be a little disorientating at certain zoom levels with a lcak of named locations with which to get your bearings. The maps are rendered very quickly, especially by phone standards, and they take up very little memory.

If Wayfinder Earth remains free to use, then I’d say it’s an essential mobile application. I noticed that when I tried to link Wayfinder Earth to my GPS it wanted to go to an internet shop and upgrade. At this point you are buying into the existing Wayfinder Navigator sat-nav system. I’ve used Wayfinder Navigator for a while and really like it. It’s has just been improved with a nice visual makeover. As a sat-nav program it’s quite easy to use, has a postcode look up, gives very good directions and clear visual instructions and even warns of some (but not all) speed cameras. The Wayfinder website gives more information, and there’s a generous free trial period. You need a suitable phone and a bluetooth GPS.

What WayFinder Earth is not, is any kind of mobile Google Earth. As a mapping program for your phone, it’s brilliant and will work all over Europe and North America. You will want to buy a GPS and upgrade once you’ve tried it! I don’t know how much it is to purchase and use as a fully featured sat nav program , however I’m guessing it will be the same as Wayfinder Navigator, (99 Euros).

Thanks to Ogle Earth for spotting the release of Wayfinder Earth today

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