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This article reviews the author's experience with fully-featured GPS software for the Blackberry. "Fully featured" ... BlackBerry GPS forum

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    nrcapes's Avatar
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    An (almost) complete guide to GPS applications for Blackberry

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    This article reviews the author's experience with fully-featured GPS software for the Blackberry. "Fully featured" means that the software calculates a route from an origin to a destination, interfaces with an external Bluetooth GPS receiver to provide turn-by-turn directions, and optionally issues voice prompts to indicate when a turn should be made. The following applications are not reviewed, because under the above definition they are not fully-featured GPS applications, either because they interface poorly to an external GPS receiver and/or do not provide live turn-by-turn directions: Blackberrry MAPS, Google MAPS.

    The success of using a Blackberry device with an external GPS receiver will depend on a number of factors: the Blackberry model, the external GPS model, the GPS mapping application, the data communications setup on the Blackberry, the car in which the GPS unit is mounted, the view of the sky available to the GPS receiver, and others.

    The test environment used in this article is the following: Holux GPSlim236 external Bluetooth GPS receiver (www.holux.com) on windshield suction mount; Blackberry 8100 Pearl with T-Mobile OS v 4.2.0.64 in a BES environnent; used in a Subaru Outback in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN with very good sky view and few very tall buildings.

    Another problem is that both of the GPS software applications are setup for a screen aspect ratio for certain smart cell phones, not for the Blackberry. As a result, parts of the screen are not visible at certain times.

    One should also be aware that both of these applications require access to a data network to download maps. Practically, you must have a Data Plan or you will be paying a lot of money. Also, you must be in a geographic area where a reliable data signal can be received. Unlike stand-alone GPS units, there is not enough memory in the Blackberry to permanently store maps.

    With the above in mind, here are my impressions of two GPS applications: Mapquest Navigator and Nav4all.

    1) Mapquest Navigator: the official site (http://www.mapquest.com/features/mai...bile_navigator) states that Mapquest Navigator is not available for any carrier except Sprint and Nextel. However, I was able to download the application ota from the following link: http:\\mqnav.telmap.com/mqota/cliens/Sprint/8703e/mqn.jad. The "S" in "Sprint" must be capitalized. Once downloaded, a click on the Mapquest Navigator icon brings up a screen with the following options: Navigate, Find, My Places, Settings. Moving the track ball to Settings and clicking brings up a screen that lets the volume of voice prompts be set,the system for distance units (miles/feet or km/meters); the backlight mode (Normal, While Navigating, Always On; and Daylight Savings Time (On or Off). Clicking on the Navigate button of the main screen starts the software to immediately try to connect to the GPS unit that has been paired with the Blackberry. The GPSlim236 takes about 42 seconds to get a position fix after turning it on. At that point, the blue Bluetooth LED on the 8100 will be blinking. The Mapquest Navigator gets a positon fix within about 10 seconds. Under Origin, the words Position Fix will be displayed. The Destination can then be set from a keyed-in address, a search of Points of Interest, Recent Locations, or My Places (previously set). The application then attempts to find a route to the destination from the origin by accessing a server over the T-Mobile EDGE network. Depending on the complication of the route, it may take 10 seconds or more for the route to download to the Blackberry. When this happens, the application says (through the speaker) "All route data has been downloaded." Once a reliable GPS position fix is established, the software will provide turn-by-turn voice prompts in real time. The voice prompts include the distance to turn, direction to turn, and road to turn on (for major roads). You can select the screen to show either a moving map or maneuver maps (arrows to show direction of turn). Maneuver screens show both the street you are on and the street you are turning to The turns are predicted well in advance of the actual turn at car speeds up to 65 mph (highest speed tested). If you decide not to follow the pre-calculated route, the software re-calculates and downloads another route based on your current location. This only takes a few seconds. There is also an option to select a Route Overview which shows a map with the entire route; Route Details (distance and estimated time to destination); Itinerary (a sequenced list of the turns to be made); Night Mode (a black screen rather than a white screen); Mute Sound; Settings; GPS Status; Main Menu; Back; and Exit. From the Main Menu, clicking on Find lets you search for the current location; a keyed-in address; Points of Interest; Recent Locations; and My Places. Once the destination is reached, the destination may be saved under My Places. Overall experience: this is an excellent, fully-featured GPS application. The only real problems are that the screen is set up for smart cell phones and it takes quite a while to get a GPS position fix. Even though the screen is not fully visible, exiting from the application presents no problems. An extra bonus is that a Bluetooth headset may be used to place and receive calls while navigating without causing a problem with the software.

    2) Nav4all: (www.nav4all.com/install) downloads ota to the Blackberry but the Browser Configuration under Options>Browser Configuration must be set to emulate the Blackberry Browser. IE Explorer emulation does not work. During download, the software will ask you to set the language to be spoken (a great variety including U.S. and U.K. English). Once downloaded, clicking on the icon brings up a splash screen with a beautiful (probably German) blonde who is obviously excited about the software. Pressing any key brings up the Start Menu, which has the following options: Photo (presumably to replace the blonde); Continue Navigation; Navigate To;View Route; Map; Where am I?; Flag It;POI; Settings;Plan from A to B; Compass;GPS Information; Remember my Location;Remember my Parking Space; Driving Style; World Cities (demo); Tracking and Tracing; and Exit. Clicking on Navigate To lets you set a destination address from: Home (previously set); Office (previously set); My Nav4all Addresses; Address Input (key in);Favorites; Previous Destinations; Address Book; POI; Coordinates; Map Point; and GPS Position. I have not explored all of these options. Assuming you click on Office, a confirm screen comes up. And here is where the significant problem with Nav4all becomes big: the screen is configured for a cell phone so the Next and Abort buttons are not reliably accessible. Sometimes the application thinks that no button has been selected and locks up, requiring a battery pull to get rid of it. But assuming that you roll the track ball to the Next and it works, and the GPS is turned on and properly paired with the Blackberry, the distance and direction to the first turn is displayed. Distance can be set to miles/yards or km/m. However, the current street and the street to turn to are not displayed. A voice prompt ("to the left" or "to the right") comes through the speaker as the turn is approached. However, the turn is not always declared enough in advance to avoid missing the turn. Also, I find the "yards" estimate meaningless (how do you picture "yards" in a car moving at 45 mph?) If you press the Escape key, the software brings up an options screen with:Stop the Navigation; View Route; Display Map; Alternative; Block; Flag-it or Start Menu. Pressing View Route lets you either get a time and distance estimate to the destination; a turn-by-turn list; or a map showing your current location The map can be zoomed in and out. If you miss a turn or decide not to follow the calculated route, the software recalculates a new route very quickly (faster than Mapquest Navigator). Overall experience: the application is good, but has flaws that make it second behind Mapquest Navigator. The primary flaw is the screen setup, which as discussed above somtimes hangs the application. It is set up primarily for a European user, and consequently has many options that a casual U.S. user might never use (and which I have not tested). On the other hand, it can also be used when walking or hiking, because the Compass feature shows the general direction and distance to the destination. Trying to use a Bluetooth headset to place a call while Navigating does not work. The maps are not as clear as in Mapquest Navigator because of the color scheme used: it is difficult to read the street names.


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    Re: An (almost) complete guide to GPS applications for Blackberry

    If you use 7130e it looks better on the pearl.

    http://mqnav.telmap.com/mqota/client.../7130e/mqn.jad

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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    Did you copy this from somewhere? Or is it yours?
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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    Wow! Thanks, that is awesome. Very helpful.
    Any thoughts on TelNav?

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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    http:\\mqnav.telmap.com/mqota/cliens/Sprint/8703e/mqn.jad

    This link doesn't work.

    Please assist.

    Thank you.

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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    Try this ...

    http://mqnav.telmap.com/mqota/client.../8703e/mqn.jad

    Quote Originally Posted by phone_caller
    http:\\mqnav.telmap.com/mqota/cliens/Sprint/8703e/mqn.jad

    This link doesn't work.

    Please assist.

    Thank you.

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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry


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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    Quote Originally Posted by I7oobie
    Did you copy this from somewhere? Or is it yours?
    This is my original post.

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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    Quote Originally Posted by phone_caller
    http:\\mqnav.telmap.com/mqota/cliens/Sprint/8703e/mqn.jad

    This link doesn't work.

    Please assist.

    Thank you.
    The S in "Sprint" must be capitalized. Also, it is /clients/Sprint, not /cliens/Sprint

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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    Quote Originally Posted by teleberry
    Wow! Thanks, that is awesome. Very helpful.
    Any thoughts on TelNav?
    I was not able to test Telenav because their software does not work with the GPSlim236 receiver.

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    Re: USEFUL: an (almost) complete guide to GPS software for Blackberry

    Quote Originally Posted by 67Mustang
    Some of this software is for UK not US. Others are not free. My review was for free, full-featured software for US users.

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    Re: An (almost) complete guide to GPS applications for Blackberry

    hey guys, i just downloaded mapquest navigator to my phone, which is an AT&T Pearl using the Sprint 8703e option on the download but the size of the screen is way off? i can see 3/4 of it but the other 1/4 is off to the right, so its not the right size. does anyone have any idea about which download to use that will give me the proper screen size?

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    Re: An (almost) complete guide to GPS applications for Blackberry

    That doesn't nearly cover 10% of all GPS applications that are available for the BlackBerry

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    Re: An (almost) complete guide to GPS applications for Blackberry

    I constantly get a network error when starting mapquest navigator on my t-mobile pearl. I gave it all permissions, but I'm still getting this error almost instantly.

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

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    Re: An (almost) complete guide to GPS applications for Blackberry

    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~i have 8703e with telenav and I love it, never gives problems, only one time could not find address, otherwise excellent software, I pay 10 a month for it. Worth every penny.

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