We enjoy using the free navigation services available on our cell phone. Google and Nokia, for example, provide free mapping and routing services that can be a good way to find a route between locations. Cell phones equipped with GPS make the routing even easier. Using these services in your home country is a snap, but once you are outside of your home territory, the roaming charges that can apply to using these services can be amazingly large.
Garmin, who provides Personal Navigation Devices, has recently published a study of using a cell phone with a UK service area to make a trip in France from Calais to Paris based on mobile routing provided by Google Maps. The data roaming charges associated with the journey (185 miles) cost approximately $55 for the 12-13 megabytes of data required for the route. You can read the entire press release here. Garmin, of course, wants you to buy a PDA from them, but maybe that would be cheaper than using your phone for navigation services while abroad.
We have added a search bar to the maps on www.ThereArePlaces.com. As you may know, we overlay these detailed maps from Google with the locations of our recommended best places to visit around the world to help you plan your intinerary when traveling abroad. Recently, Google let us know that they had developed code that would allow us to embed a Google Search Box on our maps.
We thought this might be an interesting idea and played with the code until we got it to work just the way we wanted and were stunned by how useful this feature is for travel. Below is a figure showing the search box at the bottom of our map of Edinburgh, Scotland.
When you enter a search term in the box, the results show up in a list that is linked to symbols showing the location of the results on the map. For example, we decided to see where we could find shops offering kilts in Edinburgh – after all what better memento of Scotland?
We think you will like this feature, but the best way to find is to try it. The search box is particularly useful for finding stores, bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and other items of interest – or maybe even just looking for fun stuff to do when you are traveling (or to dream about when you are armchair traveling).