It’s no secret that I am directionally challenged. I have lived in New Orleans my entire life and I still get lost (in my defense the streets here have no rhyme or reason). Unfortunately, my car is not equipped with a GPS unit, but I know it would be wonderful to have one in this City. Much to my surprise, I learned that my new Verizon Palm Pre Plus can perform the function of a GPS unit! Now I can have a GPS on me at all times, even when walking around the French Quarter!
After opening the launcher, simply click on the shortcut to Google Maps which will automatically use GPS to pinpoint exactly where you are located. I have tried this at various points in the City and it is never more than two block off target.
From your starting point you can do several things:
1. Map directions to your destination. With the touch screen it is very easy to navigate around the map as well as zoom in for more detailed street names.
2. Check on traffic. Oh yes, this feature will tell you which areas on your route have traffic delays (marked in yellow) or are gridlocked (marked in red). I used this feature this morning and it was pretty accurate on my morning commute to work.
3. Find restaurants, shopping and gas. The map not only contains street names, but locations of restaurants, malls and gas stations. This would be very helpful while on vacation!
4. Look at the satellite view. Switching to satellite lets you see the street as it appears in reality. While the image is several years old (I can tell because in satellite view my neighboorhood is full of FEMA trailers after Katrina which have since been removed), it still allows you to see what the area looks like.
5. Get Public Transit and Walking Directions from your location. This is very helpful as we have several methods of public transit here in New Orleans.
I doing some research on the Palm Pre, I have been hearing that people are looking forward to the addition of Google Latitude which will allow you to search for your friends! This feature is not available at this time but sounds pretty neat!
I find that heavy Internet usage tends to drain the battery fairly quickly, but the GPS feature is wonderful and a definite plus to the Verizon Palm Pre! It has been useful in my own hometown, so I can only imagine how we will rely on the GPS feature when we are out of town in an unfamiliar City!