A version of Navizon Virtual GPS is now available for the iPhone.
For those of you who are not familiar with this stuff, Navizon is a positioning system that triangulates signals from Wifi access points and Cellular towers.
It is based on a collaborative database where users who have a GPS device can contribute data on Cell towers and Wifi APs locations that will let other members of the community simulate a Virtual GPS on their phone.
If you don't have Installer.app installed on your iPhone, here's a tutorial (for dummies) that will tell you how to install it.
You can also download the zip file directly.
Once Navizon is installed on your iPhone you will need to turn on Wifi (you can connect to a Wifi network if you want but that's not mandatory). You will also need to create a login. And that should be it!
Just click on the "Locate Me" button and see where Navizon puts you on the map. If you want to increase your chances of getting a good position fix, it is recommended to try twice (at least on the first attempt) since the Wifi scanner takes some time to be fully operational.
This application will be fully functional for 15 days. If you like it, you can purchase it for $24.99. But for those of you who of you who may wonder what this money is used for, it isn't going in our pocket. It is used to pay the ones who do the hard work of collecting the data without whom this service wouldn't be possible. So by purchasing the software you are helping them make the service better. All of this is explained here.
But if you want, you can easily be one of them and start collecting this money. Just connect Navizon to a real GPS device (doesn't work on the iPhone since it cannot be connected to a real GPS. but it works on almost any other phone or laptop) and start driving around.
Update: if you have any comments or technical questions, please post them on the forum since this blog doesn't support threads and makes it very hard to assist anyone having technical issues. Many thanks in advance.
Update 2: If you want to be able to use Navizon, don't update your iPhone Firmware to 1.1.1
Keywords: WiFi Positioning, Cell Tower triangulation, GPS, iPhone, Cell phone masts, Wifi Geolocation, Cellular geolocation
Many of you have been asking how they can use Navizon with Google Maps Mobile. Other than the obvious answer "well, did you know that there are great maps built-in Navizon that can be accessed simply by hitting Go to maps?" here's a more detailed tutorial of how to use Navizon with Google maps.
- If you don't have a GPS, just select NO GPS for your GPS:
Navizon will get your position using Wifi and/or Cellular Positioning
Then you need to select an Output Virtual Port where Navizon is going to spit its data.
That's the port that Google Maps Mobile (GMM) will be looking at. The figures below show you the configuration to enter whether you have a GPS or not.
If you see one light blinking (Phone, WiFi or GPS) it's a very good sign.
It means that you have a positioning fix and that you will see your position on GMM.
2) Open gmm. Click on Options -> Track Location Settings.
There you will see the screen below. Just select the Output Virtual Port that you entered in Navizon.
3) Hit "Track Location"... et voila!! You have your position displayed on GMM.
And if you don't have a GPS you just made Google Maps Mobile work with Cell Tower triangulation and/or Wi-Fi triangulation.
4) If you really like this and want to use Google Maps without having to start Navizon, just go back to Navizon, go to Options -> GPS and select "autostart".
That will start Navizon automatically when you start your phone so you will just need to start GMM and you will be able to get your position right away.
We just released a new version of Navizon on UIQ phones. After Windows Mobile, Series60, Blackberry and some Java phones, the addition of this new version makes Navizon's cell tower and WiFi triangulation capabilites available on more than 150 phones. Navizon is also available on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS with the desktop version.
A big Bravo! to the entire Navizon development team for achieving so much in so little time.
It is 1 PM in New York City. Still 5 long hours to go before the release of the iPhone and some people are clearly very excited about it. Here's a picture I took on my way to lunch:
People are already lining up in front of the AT&T store, some of them probably since early this morning! And again it's only 1PM!!!
Those people will probably be happy people tonight. But will they still be in a few months from now? I'm afraid they won't and here's why:
- Over the past few years I have tested many phones. I cannot remember one instance where the first generation didn't have some bugs. Many bugs... I was one unlucky customers who got the MotoQ right on the day of the release. After a couple of weeks I realized it was full of bugs: the battery wasn't charging well, the Bluetooth stack was slow and buggy etc... Motorola addressed these problems a few weeks later but it was too late for me to exchange my phone. And remember the iPod nano with the scratchable screen?
Maybe the iPhone will be more stable, but the risk taken by buying it now is pretty high.
- The iPhone is a closed platform: you cannot install applications on it. Right now, people can still live with it: if it does phone, web, camera, music and email, why would I need more, right? But when there will be a new killer app like... hmmm... let's call it Navizon... that will be released, you will wish that you could install applications on it.
Anyway, lots of luck and happiness to the new iPhone owners. Personally I will pass for now.
Yesterday, I was in the subway and like many people, I need to keep myself busy during my commute. So I started playing with my phone and when I started Navizon, I noticed that the phone light was green. Even though there is not enough signal to make a phone call, I figured that Navizon might receive a tiny signal from an outside cell tower, enough to get a position fix.
So the next day I switched Navizon to "local mode" (in order not to require an Internet connection to get my position), synchronized my data and took the subway again. And... bingo!! I was able to get my position during my entire commute. Pretty cool especially since there is no other alternative method to get your position when you are underground: Navizon can be an alternative to GPS when you are outside but in an underground environment, there is no way GPS will work, so it might very well be the only working solution.
So what do you need to reproduce the experiment?
- an HTC smartphone: I am using an imate SP5m but there are other devices that would do the trick like the T-Mobile Dash
- the latest ROM update for your phone: it started working only after I installed the latest ROM update for my phone as it looks like it makes the cellular reception a little better
- Navizon running in local mode, with the data for your home area synchronized on your device.
Why an HTC smartphone? Simply because on these phones, Navizon can triangulate signals from many cell towers. And it looks like it is able to still receive a little bit of signal in an underground environment.
So I don't if this thing can be useful to someone, but I figured that first responders or underground municipal workers might like the idea. There is also this app that I have had in the back of my mind for quite a while: I always thought it would be cool to have the traffic map for the subway, just like you have for standard traffic. With this app, one would be able to know when the subway system is congestioned, and probably be able to save the precious half hour waiting for the train during rush hour.
I hope you haven't missed me too much.
Since the last post, we have been working our hearts out to bring you new cool stuff and there are so many new things that have happened that I don't know where to start...
So stay tuned to hear about all the goodies that have been released or will be in a near future.
Since many of you requested this feature, it is now possible to view all the cell towers locations in your area for any given phone carrier.
In order to view that, just go in your user section, hit "Coverage" then select "Cell Towers" and you will have a dropdown with all the operators.
Just select your favorite one and you will see all the towers than have been mapped by you and/or other Navizonians in your area.
My name is Kris Kolodziej and I am a Navizon fan from day one. I wrote a book on Local Positioning Systems, about Wi-Fi based positioning systems like Navizon, among others. My interests in Navizon are in its location-based services (LBS) capability and its applicability to mobile search.
For starters, I have written two LBS articles about Navizon:
Navizon is also a central focus in a Mobile Search study. Navizon plays a key role in mobile search because it can furnish the mobile application with automatic location.
To be continued...
In case some of you are getting tired of my silly posts, this blog is now open to other contributors that may have more interesting things to say than I do. So starting today, the same people that you've seen regularly on the forum will be free to post on this blog whenever they feel like it.
So join me to welcome Bredita, Kris, Marek, Ramond and Stefano as new authors of this blog.