Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • June 25, 2017, 05:31:02 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Directional map functionality for navigation device or tablet with gps?  (Read 596 times)

ital2

  • Member
  • Joined in 2017
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Hi.

I have a question with regards to navigation devices. Modern ones come with gps functionality, meaning they know, more or less precisely, where the car is in which they are installed. They are used to get from point A to point B, so you enter the target address, and they tell you how to go there.

My intention to use such a device for a different purpose. Imagine you don't know some town which you visit, and you want to do some sightseeing, for example as a tourist, or you are new in that town and want to know that town better, after having relocated there or even before relocating there, for example in order to check in which precinct you would like to search for a flat, or what precincts to avoid.

That's why you would need different functionality than the one described above. In the old days, you would have taken a map with you, and you would have tried to identify your position within that map, which for most people, after some turns, would not have been possible anymore, the distance between your eyes and the map on the other seat being too big anyway.

Or even, you could have cut up the map in pieces rather large but tiny enough in order to glue them to your steering wheel, and, depending on the kind of the glue, it would even have been possible to turn the map piece around with every turn, in order to always have your current direction at around twelve o'clock before your eyes.

I've done this description in order to make me better understood in what functionality I am searching for within a navigation device, or with a tablet, Android or iPad:

- has gps, thus knows where you are, with more or less precision

- knows your direction from a combination of gps positions history checked against the street data in the map: streets assumedly taken - directions, lengths - I know this may not be entirely accurate since the device is in the car but not electronically relied to the car, so it does not know turns from your steering wheel but only from gps positions checked again the street data

- has some prefigured zoom level, as with google maps - it should be possible to change zoom levels quickly, in order to see every narrow lane, or in order to see where you are going within a big picture - perhaps 1 tap for zooming in, 2 quick taps for zooming out

- will shift the map to be displayed on the screen in accordance with your movement out of the map - assumes you want to see a maximum of map in front of you, and not so much behind you

- will turn the map with your turns, at least some time after your turn when by checking the new gps data against the map data, it then knows your new direction - will accordingly shift the map area, too - since with a 90 degrees turn, what had been sideways becomes front and should hence be enlarged, so the software would turn the map and step back, too

- a big red, wandering point will show your current position in the map, at far as the device can identify your position - in fact, that position indicator missing is the factor that makes you lose position when trying to cope with printed maps spread on the passenger seat

Does anybody know such functionality, inbuilt in a navigation device or as additional software - application - for a navigation device, or for a tablet, even in rudimentary form, instead of the elaborated version I've dreamed of above?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 07:08:25 PM by ital2 »

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,572
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Directional map functionality for navigation device or tablet with gps?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 06:15:08 PM »
Sounds like you just want the map to rotate so that it's orientated with respect to the direction you're facing/travelling.

Most SatNav devices/software offer(s) this, it's just a matter of setting an option, for example:

OsmAnd+ for Android
Screenshot_2017-01-21-11-03-54.jpgDirectional map functionality for navigation device or tablet with gps?

Tapping the compass icon will switch between Always North Up and Rotate Map according to direction of travel.

Same with Google Maps Navigation, IIRC, sometimes it will will an option in the Preferences somewhere.

Note that unless the device has an internal compass then the direction you are facing won't be available if you are stationary.

ital2

  • Member
  • Joined in 2017
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Directional map functionality for navigation device or tablet with gps?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 09:20:19 PM »
Hi.

An additional compass I had missed yesterday, was going to add it: Either a North arrow to the North direction (which of course could then point to anywhere near 6 o'clock) or, much better, a direction arrow for North, East, South or West but anywhere in the range of 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock - in practice, you probably will have a compass like in your pic, somewhere to the side, with all four directions, which is not as immediately comprehensive.

It's interesting you say that besides a gps, also a compass has to be integrated into the device. I hadn't thought of this, all the less so since I did some tries with several compasses, including car compasses, and all of them were heavily distorted from the electronics within the instrument panel. Only when I held them far away from that, with my arm behind my back, near the back seats, the showed the North correct again. Since navigation devices are fixed on/near the instrument panel, I wonder how a compass in them could be precise, from these tries.

From your description, I become aware that I did not clearly enough distinguish the different problems. When you are as a tourist in some other country, being online data-wise can quickly become quite onerous, especially if heavy data traffic (mapping) is involved. On the other hand, most navigation devices do not download their maps in real time but have them stored in the device itself and use some web services just for gps, or even get gps positions from some satellite, for free, so they do not need any web communication at all.

I admit I only superficially know navigation systems from some years ago, so I hadn't been aware of their map functionality today, which is different from their route functionality and which had been the only one I knew. So after reading you, I downloaded a manual from Garmin, and from TomTom each, and I found that map functionality, but without a manual turning function for the map and with rather bad or missing compass: No pic for Garmin, rather poor pic for TomTom, in both cases I downloaded manuals for rather expensive devices.

It seems - the descriptions were not precise, so I could be mistaken about this - they both automatically present the map in a way that your current route/street driving direction goes more or less up, not down the screen, but that up also can be just slightly up and decidedly to the right or the left instead, and there does not seem to be any manual way of turning the map, but zoom they have.

All of them function without web access, the maps are bought and downloaded into the device once and for all. The same for asmand.net for Android from your example, and which is free, and there seem to be lots of such apps for Android and also some for iPad.

Garmin/TomTom can be bought as apps, which frees you from the rather tiny screens of navigation devices, more expensive ones will be at risk anyway in the parked car, so it seems reasonable to buy a tablet instead, of 10" size, and to fix it near the steering wheel with some holder, then clip it out when you leave the car, ready to use it in a more general way then - I was going to buy some 7" mini tablet but that would be too tiny for maps in the car since when driving, the least fiddling around with the screen is best, so a bigger screen will be better, needing lesser fiddling.

As for the compass you speak of, I got some interesting info from some Apple help forum where they speak of electronic compasses which are in-built into iPhones, but not into iPads, according to them, and they say iPhone and iPad apps are different and not only different in screen size, as I had thought you could use the same Apple app on both which is not the case then, but, and here it gets interesting, they say some map applications (!) have an in-built electronic compass, which obviously means that an electronic compass is not a real compass which then transfers its data electronically to some app, but it's not a compass at all but just software which checks history of gps data and calculates the direction of the movement of the device from that, so if I'm not mistaken here, the problem with physical compasses will not be relevant anymore.

But if the device doesn't move, there is no recent history of different gps data, so you would need an internal compass, as you say, and you are obviously speaking of a real - magnetic - internal compass - or how would it be done otherwise?

As for google maps which you mention, I always use them on my pc - and I print out screenshots as get-there-maps and destination maps from them which I use in the car, so I'm thankful for red lights - so I don't know of their functionality on the move, but it seems evident from past searches on that matter that google maps need web access for heavy map downloading.

Considering prices only, I should very probably buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10,1 with a robust car holder, since it has got a resolution of 1920x1200 pix and seems to be reasonably fast, and then trial free and paid map software for/on it, iPads start at double the Tab A price, with some 30 p.c. better resolution and probably not being faster at their starting prices.

But an internal compass neither of them have, while the Samsung Tab 3 - but which is old and slow and quite bad, screen resolution a mere 1024x800, has got one, physically it seems, and lots of apps rely on that internal compass, googling "samsung/android tab compass" will bring discussions on problems arising from missing compasses, so, even without really getting why there is a problem, I think a missing compass could become a problem, according to the app, even on the move, so that criterion should probably not be discarded too early.

Anyway, thank you very much for your very helpful info, 4wd, which was new for me: It seems that my problem can be quite easily resolved with the right hardware and the right software, with some tablet and perhaps a paid map app, since to be frank I quite abhor the look of Openstreetmap. Besides, Bing Maps are really beautiful, so I use them more and more on my pc instead of google maps, at least for big, standard towns where they are precise enough, which is not always the case elsewhere.

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,572
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Directional map functionality for navigation device or tablet with gps?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2017, 04:13:52 AM »
An additional compass I had missed yesterday, was going to add it: Either a North arrow to the North direction (which of course could then point to anywhere near 6 o'clock) or, much better, a direction arrow for North, East, South or West but anywhere in the range of 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock - in practice, you probably will have a compass like in your pic, somewhere to the side, with all four directions, which is not as immediately comprehensive.

It's not necessary, North and South is all you need - East is right when facing North.  Besides which there are plenty of compass apps available and most navigation apps will report your heading/bearing in degrees.

Quote
It's interesting you say that besides a gps, also a compass has to be integrated into the device. I hadn't thought of this, all the less so since I did some tries with several compasses, including car compasses, and all of them were heavily distorted from the electronics within the instrument panel. Only when I held them far away from that, with my arm behind my back, near the back seats, the showed the North correct again. Since navigation devices are fixed on/near the instrument panel, I wonder how a compass in them could be precise, from these tries.

I assume you're talking about a standard magnetic needle compass, the electronic compasses used in smart phones and the like seem to be relatively immune to such things, (well at least mine doesn't suffer from have a strong magnet placed near it).

Quote
When you are as a tourist in some other country, being online data-wise can quickly become quite onerous, especially if heavy data traffic (mapping) is involved. On the other hand, most navigation devices do not download their maps in real time but have them stored in the device itself and use some web services just for gps, or even get gps positions from some satellite, for free, so they do not need any web communication at all.

It's not required to be online at all, there are numerous navigation programs that will let you download the data while you're connected to a WiFi network and then work completely offline, virtually anything that uses Open Street Maps, (eg. OsmAnd+ in my post above), works this way. As you mentioned.

Quote
As for the compass you speak of, I got some interesting info from some Apple help forum where they speak of electronic compasses which are in-built into iPhones, but not into iPads, according to them, and they say iPhone and iPad apps are different and not only different in screen size, as I had thought you could use the same Apple app on both which is not the case then, but, and here it gets interesting, they say some map applications (!) have an in-built electronic compass, which obviously means that an electronic compass is not a real compass which then transfers its data electronically to some app, but it's not a compass at all but just software which checks history of gps data and calculates the direction of the movement of the device from that, so if I'm not mistaken here, the problem with physical compasses will not be relevant anymore.

The device either has a compass or it doesn't, if it doesn't then it has to wait for movement before a heading can be calculated.  Regarding devices with no compass, there is no history to check, if you stop moving and turn in place 180 degrees, the displayed compass heading will still read in the direction you were last going, not until you move in a new direction will the compass display be updated.

Quote
But if the device doesn't move, there is no recent history of different gps data, so you would need an internal compass, as you say, and you are obviously speaking of a real - magnetic - internal compass - or how would it be done otherwise?

It's an electronic compass, it just senses the Earths magnetic field and bases it's calculations off of that.

Quote
As for google maps which you mention, I always use them on my pc - and I print out screenshots as get-there-maps and destination maps from them which I use in the car, so I'm thankful for red lights - so I don't know of their functionality on the move, but it seems evident from past searches on that matter that google maps need web access for heavy map downloading.

You can download sections of Google Maps for offline use, do it when you're at home or connected to WiFi somewhere.

Quote
Considering prices only, I should very probably buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10,1 with a robust car holder, since it has got a resolution of 1920x1200 pix and seems to be reasonably fast, and then trial free and paid map software for/on it, iPads start at double the Tab A price, with some 30 p.c. better resolution and probably not being faster at their starting prices.

I used Navigation for a long time, now I use Google Maps and/or OsmAnd+, (as well as other programs for offroad usage).

Quote
But an internal compass neither of them have, while the Samsung Tab 3 - but which is old and slow and quite bad, screen resolution a mere 1024x800, has got one, physically it seems, and lots of apps rely on that internal compass, googling "samsung/android tab compass" will bring discussions on problems arising from missing compasses, so, even without really getting why there is a problem, I think a missing compass could become a problem, according to the app, even on the move, so that criterion should probably not be discarded too early.

A compass isn't necessary for GPS based navigation, I've only had 1 or 2 phones with a compass, the other 4 or 5 and my tablet don't have a compass and they work fine.  My GPS receiver doesn't have a compass.

Quote
Anyway, thank you very much for your very helpful info, 4wd, which was new for me: It seems that my problem can be quite easily resolved with the right hardware and the right software, with some tablet and perhaps a paid map app, since to be frank I quite abhor the look of Openstreetmap. Besides, Bing Maps are really beautiful, so I use them more and more on my pc instead of google maps, at least for big, standard towns where they are precise enough, which is not always the case elsewhere.

See also the next few posts from this thread.

I got OsmAnd+ when it was on special for US$0.20 (App of the Week), besides using OpenStreetMap data it allows you to download Wikis relating to the map areas also.

ital2

  • Member
  • Joined in 2017
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Directional map functionality for navigation device or tablet with gps?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 06:17:54 PM »
Hi.

I just see that I inadvertently posted my answer yesterday in the thread you mentioned, http://www.donationc....msg404844#msg404844 Sorry - got it now.