10 June 2007

Welcome to GPS for Macintosh!

GPS, Global Positioning Systems, is an interest of mine going back to at least to the year 2000 when I purchased my first GPS device, the now-discontinued Garmin eMap that I still use today. It's not my only GPS, but hey, it still works! I live in Canberra, Australia, which gives me great access to walking trails around the region.

I've also been an Apple user since I bought my first Apple II in the early 80s, and my first Macintosh in 1985. I've been frustrated with the lack of Mac support for GPS applications, and have been forced to use a number of PCs for the interfacing the GPS to the computer, particularly for using maps (Garmin's MapSource MetroGuide applications for Australia and Europe). Now there are a number of Mac OS X applications available, the most amazing being Google Maps and Google Earth (particularly the paid version with GPS support).

I've now moved all of the work from the PC to the Macintosh, except for TopoView Raster 2006, a PC only application that I need to get access to the NSW 1:25,000 series raster topographical maps of eastern NSW and the ACT from the New South Wales Department of Lands. I purchased the TopoView Raster 2006 DVD from The Map Shop in Newcastle.

Now that Google Maps has My Maps, I don't know whether it has all been worth it, since it is now so easy to do so much on Google Maps and at little or no cost. But I thought it would be a good idea to document what I've learned in case others are out there trying the find the information out for themselves.

With the imminent arrive of Apple's iPhone, the e911 and e112 regulations in the US and Europe, AGPS (or Assisted GPS) chips for phones, Garmin's announcement of support for Mac OS X, Location Based Services and so on, it's going to be an area of huge growth in interest over the next few years. This blog is about what I know about it.

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