Why the world needs OpenStreetMap

by admin on January 27, 2014

An excellent piece by emacsen:

…why do we need a project like OpenStreetMap? The answer is simply that as a society, no one company should have a monopoly on place, just as no one company had a monopoly on time in the 1800s. Place is a shared resource, and when you give all that power to a single entity, you are giving them the power not only to tell you about your location, but to shape it. In summary, there are three concerns- who decides what gets shown on the map, who decides where you are and where you should go, and personal privacy.

Who decides what gets displayed on a Google Map? The answer is, of course, that Google does.

How can we map for OSM using our phones (if your phone has a built in GPS chip)?

iPhone: GoMap!
Blackberry 10: Nogago Tracks.
Blackberry OS before 10: GPSLogger II.
Windows Phone: SimpleOSM.
Android: Vespucci.
Symbian S60: PyS60Editor.
Nokia Internet Tablets N800/N810/N900: OSM2Go.
I
n case your phone doesn’t have a GPS chip, you can always use something like the Columbus V990. (This page is in German, you can use some online translation service to read it).

These are only some of the tools that I have experienced myself. There are many others. Just look around and find one that you prefer using. Some of these apps, like Nogago and GPSLogger II help in recording gpx trails and waypoints which you must import into OSM editors like Potlatch/JOSM/iD etc to create maps. Apps like GoMap! and Vespucci allow you to directly add waypoints and other information on OSM.

Map responsibly and understand the security concerns involved.

Gionee E6

by admin on December 2, 2013

Gionee-Elife-E6

I finally got my hands on a Gionee Phone. An E6. Gionee is a Chinese brand which has recently ventured into India. The phone runs on Android. Its easy to make an Android Phone work with a Mac.

The phone itself has good build quality, a display which is not only very responsive but also carrying excellent colour and contrast, and a design I prefer over some of the rival Android phones. The unibody construction feels good to hold with nicely rounded edges, and the display is nice, not all horribly reflective like a certain popular Android brand. All at a great price.

The first thing I tried was to use the phone without a Google account. Its very much possible, and Hotmail works well, so do the contacts and calendar. Since my contacts and calendars are on Hotmail, they transferred in a breeze. You can also export all your contacts from Apple AddressBook as a vCard, import that into your Gmail account, and setup that account on your Gionee E6 to bring your contacts to your phone.

Another way to transfer contacts is : Go to Apple AddressBook (called Contacts in Mac OSX 10.9 Mavericks) -> Preferences -> Accounts -> Add Account (Its the + plus at the bottom of the dialogue box)-> Google.

For Calendar -> Preferences -> Accounts -> Add Account  (Its the + plus at the bottom of the dialogue box) -> Google.

However, the moment you want to use the Play Store, you need a Google Account.

Since the phone has a pretty good GPS chip, so I thought of trying it out for OSM Mapping. On the Android, Vespucci is one of the best options. It works wonderfully. OSM Mapper Helper is another useful tool. DoubleTwist is one of the many apps that promises to sync with your iTunes.

 

Nokia Lumia 820 and Mac

by admin on December 1, 2013

nokia-lumia-900-white-front-and-rear-header_original

I have been a big fan of the Windows 8 Phone. I was able to get my hands on a Nokia Lumia 820 and used it for a couple of months. My main phone as of now is a Blackberry Z10.

Note: To use the Lumia series one must have a Hotmail/Outlook account. Else one won’t be able to use their Store.

Move contacts from your Mac to your Windows 8 Phone: There seems to be no way for the Lumia 820 to communicate with the Mac (OS X 10.7.x). All my 3000+ contacts are in my Apple Address Book. How to get them to the Lumia? I didn’t want to route this via Gmail. Luckily, I had a Nokia 5233. I searched for Apple iSync online and donwloaded/installed it. Then I synced the AddressBook with the Nokia 5233 via iSync + Bluetooth. Next, I used Nokia’s Device Switch app to transfer all the contacts from the 5233 to the Lumia 820. Syncing the Lumia 820 to my Hotmail account seamlessly transferred all my contacts to Hotmail. (Note: I cleaned by Hotmail contact list first before syncing my Windows Phone 8 and Hotmail).

Alternatively: Go to Apple AddressBook (called Contacts in Mac OSX 10.9 Mavericks) -> Preferences -> Accounts -> Add Account (Its the + plus at the bottom of the dialogue box)-> Google. Adding the same Google Account on your Windows Phone 8 will transfer the contacts.

Email: The emails work perfectly fine on the Lumia 820. Hotmail, Gmail and my company mail.

Maps: The Nokia Here maps are fabulous. No problems there at all.

OneNote: The Microsoft OneNote is a fabulous cloud synced note app which can be used to make numbered lists, check boxed lists, general notes with text, audio pictures etc. Its simple and works well.

MS Office: The built in MS Office Suite is complete in itself.

Update: Much after I got the phone, Microsoft released the wonderful Windows Phone App for Mac. It syncs and/or moves media between your Mac and Windows 8 Phone.

BlackBerry Z10 : The Essential Tools

by admin on May 9, 2013

I have been using the BlackBerry Z10 for over two months now. My sentiments have been from returning it on day three to kind of starting to like it. My previous phone was a BB 9900 Bold Touch.

The BlackBerry Link software is useless. It does nothing to sync my contacts, calendars, notes etc. Its just used to sync documents, media et, something that I have little use for.

For syncing the essentials (Contacts, Calendars, Mail etc), I used the iCloudBB Sync as detailed here.

(I personally moved my contacts vi BB Protect, Calendars via iCloud).

Once the basic essentials are in place, I looked for the next: Maps. Blackberry gives away the detailed, turn by turn voice guided,  awesome MapMyIndia Maps for free. The BB Z10 already has a fantastic office documents suite for viewing and editing. For messaging there is BBM as well as WhatsApp. There’s Skype as well.

One must also get the free BlackBerry Travel for World Clock, Currency, Flight Status, Weather etc.

The BB Z10 doesnt have a note taking software. So I got Evernote.

For GPS tracking, I got OnTrail. Recording GPS tracks and waypoints is something I have been missing ever since I moved from the Bold Touch 9900 (which had support for the eMacBerry GPS Logger II). I am still not happy, since the tracks recorded do not have adequate time-stamps, hence are rejected by OpenStreetMap.

For international news, theres the fabulous New York Times and The Guardian apps.

For task management, there is Remember The Milk.

These got me going!

 

Update: I found Nogago Tracks a much better, and perhaps the best alternative yet, for recording GPS Tracks and adding waypoints. You can then email a .gpx copy of the tracks to yourself for adding to OSM.

 

 

The Blackberry 10 is here

by admin on January 31, 2013

We love the BB. Always have. And the much awaited BB10 on the Z10 is here. Cant wait to get our hands on one.

BBZ10And we loved the ‘Remember’ app.

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VLOG for Symbian for editing Maps

by admin on November 10, 2012

(text from the vlog website)

Now you should not search for a map before going to an unknown city.
The program will load maps through the Internet worldwide.
The source of maps - openstreetmap.com. On this site any owner of the GPS-receiver can draw maps of his own district.

The program is written under Symbian (version 9.2 OS, Series 60 3-rd Edition Feature Pack 1)
and checked while only on my phone Nokia N95.
Therefore I can say nothing about compatibility with other devices

Plans:
1. Add mapping POI (Points Of Interest) – drugstores, shops, the gas station etc.
2. Add routing.
3. Write version for Windows Mobile.
4. To make interaction with a site gpslog.org on record, storage, an exchange of tracks and coordinates, and also to tracking objects.

0.0.2 released download from vlog website

PhoneCopy : sync your phone to your Mac

by admin on October 30, 2012

PhoneCopy is a great free App for transferring contacts from your phone to your Mac. It offers backup, synchronization, history of changes and remote web acces to your data (contacts, calendars…)

 

Claimed supported devices are

  1. •Mac OS X
  2. iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
  3. •LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Siemens, Sony Ericsson…
  4. •REST API for 3rd parties

     

    Get PhoneCopy from the App Store.

Some Photography Apps for Blackberry

by admin on August 4, 2012

Simple Depth Of Field Calculator

Simple Depth Of Field (DOF) Calculator for photography.
Calculates Depth Of Field, Near Depth of Field, Far Depth of Field and Hyperfocal distance.
It does not require a keyboard.
Multiple camera formats supported. Send an email to get any specific camera model added.
User can just select the values using a slider.
Micro-adjustment buttons for precise input.
Very easy to use.
In case of feet unit, output shows the inches part separately. e.g. 3ft 2.4in
In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.
Hyperfocal distance is a distance beyond which all objects can be brought into an “acceptable” focus.

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Wunderlist Task Manager for Blackberry

by admin on May 14, 2012

Wunderlist is an extremely elegant, easy to use and very productive task manager.

Wunderlist runs on Blackberry devices using OS 5 or above. If you’re using a Bold or Curve, you’ll need an SD card. It’s available for touch and non-touch devices, so we’ve got you covered whichever device you use :)

To get started now, visit Blackberry App World on your Blackberry device and do a search for ‘Wunderlist’.

 

More details here