This is the story of one of the most-loved products from the Google stable. Google Maps is an application for mobile to make mobile navigation easy. So how does Google Maps work? But first, a little bit of history.
Before Google Maps came to the picture, GPS or Global Positioning System was the predominant technology for mobile navigation. GPS system consists of 32 satellites rotating around the Earth. Each transmits encoded co-ordinate information. A GPS receiver installed in mobile handset must get signal from at least 3 satellites to estimate position. But GPS receiver doesn’t come in every phone. Such phones are usually expensive. Plus you need to have no obstacles above handset to get signal. For direction and routing purpose, you must have Data connection as well. GPS receiver drains battery faster as well.
So Google came up with easy solution for everyone. Google map doesn’t need a GPS receiver in mobile phone. Rather it uses Cells for positioning your device. Cell is basically an area served by a particular base station. Google has spotted each tower into their server’s database. Application sends unique ID of tower to server over a data connection and estimates your location.
If your mobile device is equipped with GPS receiver, Google Maps can combine both technologies for positioning. With powerful search, you could find whatever you are looking for around you. Routing with Google Maps is efficient and practicable. You can add your places and routing info, being open source project.
What about charges ? Google doesn’t charge a penny for this service. You just need to pay for data. EDGE or 3G data connection is recommended for fast routing and positioning. And what about accuracy ? Although tracking with Google Maps is not Â as accurate as GPS, being cell based, it’s fairly okay. It shows a circle of certain radius quoted on screen for My Location. That is the area in which you might need directions.
Planning a weekend tour ? No need of paper maps. Just install Google Maps on phone and tell it where you want to go.
Leaving home at 11th hour for a flight ? Let Google Maps route efficient and closest way to airport.
New features under Beta also include traffic updates for certain cities. It will warn you about traffic jams or heavy traffics. Lots of users, including me have found Google Maps to be finely accurate and handy. Recently when I got in Bangalore for a course, and got lost late night, Google Maps helped me to find nearest bus stop !
Google Maps is certainly the best application for mobile navigation, even for a mobile without GPS handset. Let’s never ever get lost again !