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Posts Tagged ‘Maps’

Dan Lyons wrote a terrific analysis of Facebook’s purchase of Instagram in Newsweek.

Bottom line, we live in a mobile world.  Zuckerberg recognized that we’re moving to an access world and rather than try to convince everyone to go back to the past, to keep surfing on PCs, he bought Instagram for a billion dollars, which has a great app (even though no profits) because he didn’t want to be left out of the future.

We live in an attention economy.  Where the most important element is access.  If you’re not available to everybody at a very low price, if not free, your destined for the scrapheap.  And in an era where we’re on information overload, only the incredible takes hold and survives.

Speaking of incredible…

Summertime will be here before you know it and many of us have started planning our annual motorcycle road trip/vacations.  But, before you head out I suggest you download National Parks.  Developed by National Geographic it’s a new travel app highlighted by lush photographs from the vast National Geographic archives.

The application content spans from Maine’s Acadia to Utah’s Zion, National Parks and features information on thousands of points of interest, all tagged with GPS coordinates and complemented by recommendations from National Geographic editors.  It includes global and interactive maps enable filtering by activity and seasonality, and travelers can share experiences via Facebook, Twitter and email while collecting custom-designed stamps for each park they visit.

Best of all its FREE and available for iOS.

We all know that National Geographic projects are separated from rival efforts by the incredible photography and this app doesn’t disappoint.  Information on each park is accompanied by a photo gallery including both contemporary and vintage shots, and the images are stunning, especially on the iPad.

And if you’re like me,  you’ll want to snap some photos of your own and, National Parks also offers tips and tricks from National Geographic staff photographers to help make that motorcycle adventure a picture-perfect experience.

Facebook Mobile illustration courtesy of Kelsey Dake.  Photos courtesy of National Geographic.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Greatest Road - iPhone App

Paper maps are essentially unmanageable on a motorcycle.  As a result many motorcyclists venture toward stand-alone handlebar-mounted GPS units that are easy to read and manipulate.  Then there are those who prefer to leverage their smart phone and Google maps.  Of course there is the debate about distracted riding of ALL kinds and whether anyone should be using GPS etc. while driving a motorcycle.

Then there are old skool riders who just hit the road and want to wander.  They wonder where they are and wander around looking for it.  To each their own because it’s about the adventure and freedom on a motorcycle.

Earlier this week I was contacted by the founder and CEO of Greatest Road Software who remarked about a couple of map/navigation apps I mention on this blog.  He suggested that I give their app a try.  I did and decided to blog about the results.

This post does not answer the question… which iPhone app is the best for use on a motorcycle?

Road Stretch Details

That is complicated.  Some riders are looking for a point A to point B mapping solution where others are looking to be part of a larger community with the intent to share route information and to rate the trip with comments and tips.  If you are in that last category then I think you’ll like “Greatest Road” as it was built to help bikers worldwide find, rate, share and comment on cool roads.   Essentially the app was designed to make the best motorcycle roads easy to find and provide routes with detailed information from other riders along with a map.

I tried the application on an Apple iPhone 3GS running iOS 4.1.

To be clear, I’m not a GPS nut or a certifyable map-aholic.  Sure I’ve used my iPhone to avoid rain and find my way, but it was to point me in a general direction.  Not for turn-by-turn instructions.

So, after downloading the small ~8MB app I open it.  Users choose a location on a map, and zoom in or out. Each road stretch has a user-generated star rating system telling you how enjoyable, twisty and scenic it is as well as what shape the surface is in.

Road Stretches - Map View

My first impressions: works well with northwest roads.  It’s easy to use and not confusing on how to set-up routes.  The user can move and zoom the map to an area you’re interested in, and the app shows road stretches nearby. You can save a complicated route in about 30 seconds and can view all other routes in your desired area… again with comments that others have uploaded.  What makes this application most interesting is the share-ability of the information, all your routes and comments are all in the same “folder” as other people have uploaded as well, for the location that you are interested in, all in the same easy digestible format.  Users can email directions to other bikers with iPhones, or send a GPX file to yourself or others to install the route on a dedicated GPS device.  Open-ended comments mean riders can share highlights or report on a hazard. In fact, most content – contributions, ratings and comments – are supplied by fellow motorcyclists.

The app is priced at $4.99 on Apple iTunes.  If that is too pricey for a full purchase commitment then I suggest the “try before you buy” section.

Look, I’m no lawyer.  I just like motorcycles and good roads to ride.  Here comes the disclaimer:  Use at your own risk as I’m not liable for the accuracy or how well the application works when you use it.

Photos courtesy of Greatest Road Software.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Screen Shot From Site - Bend Area (Cascade Lakes)

Whatever kind of motorcyclist you are — day tripper or world explorer — mapping software can help start your next adventure in the right direction.

Fortunately FX Development, Inc., a Seattle-based early stage startup recently launched myscenicdrives.com.  It’s a new website to help motorcyclists find that cool scenic drive.  The site offers cleaver features that will help riders find new things to explore. Each scenic drive provides an overview, interactive map, recommended stops, weather forecast, and GPS directions.

Initially the company was focused on the Pacific Northwest, but recently listed rides for Idaho and California as it expands.  The site provides both a rich, user-friendly web interface for PCs as well as a mobile web version which is great for smartphones like the iPhone.  Once the user selects a drive, phones with GPS capabilities and software (such as Google Maps) will easily get you on the road.

The website currently features more 40 scenic drives in California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho with more States coming.

An item I would find useful is something like what the “Directory Assistance” service does today for convenience by sending an SMS text-message to the rider.  If I’m on the road mobile users are eager to get information and directions on the go especially if there is limited web access in a remote area.  A text message of the route along with pertinent details saved via a text message would provide me the extra convenience and functionality that I like.  With virtually 100% of handsets in the US capable of text messaging, it would be smart to leverage this channel and deliver additional value.

One word of caution for the site builders… I’ve seen a number of these type sites fall victim of having a preoccupation and interest in $$, not riding, and therefore have put the focus on advertising at the expense of the consumer experience.  Don’t do it!!

Photo courtesy of myscenicdrives.com

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MAD Maps Inc.

Harley-Davidson marketing experts have consumption maps.

Basically it tracks how customers perceive the value of their products and they “map” out benefit-vs.-price along with a number of other purchasing criteria and behaviour dimensions when customers evaluate H-D products against competitors.

I’m not referring to this type tool.  Rather it’s the visual representation of what’s called a navigational map.

As motorcyclists we know firsthand about the value in a two-dimensional road map.  Especially if you’re directionally challenged like me!  Sure there are paper and digital versions and debating the merits of each has no value since they both serve a purpose.  Although some may argue that going on a road trip with a map is no way to roll.

Personally I like to have a paper map with me when I’m on a road trip.  In addition I have an iPhone and its navigation and weather applications have proved quite handy dodging rain storms.  But, now there is an iPhone app designed especially for Harley-Davidson riders by MAD Maps Inc.

In collaboration (read officially licensed product they paid $$ for!) with Harley-Davidson and tech partner Abalta Technologies, MAD Maps lets motorcyclists download electronic versions of scenic loops right to your iPhone. Users can purchase rides from a library of more than 1000 routes in the continental U.S. and rides are searchable by current location, city or state. These aren’t ordinary road maps. The company developed its maps with the help of local feet-on-the-street scouts who know the back roads.  This enables the maps to highlight the best roads, roadhouses, roadside attractions, and more which is oriented toward the motorcycle enthusiast.  Because it’s built with Harley riders in mind, the app lets you of course find the nearest H-D dealership – in case you need another black t-shirt – and the app also provides you the location of the nearest Best Western, where H-D riders get special 10% discount on overnight stays.

I down loaded the application (cost $0.99) and within moments was looking at a number of rides in and around the Oregon/Washington state area.  My first route was a Mount St. Helens ride.  You’ll be ask to set up an email/account to registered on the MAD Map servers, but it’s easy enough.  Being able to do all this from an iPhone is super convenient.  I can download a map on a moment’s notice, without having to plan ahead.  It’s important to note that with the purchase of this app it includes your choice of only five rides anywhere in the country. All additional trips/maps are $0.99 cents each.  Some of the reviews stated there are very few rides in their area.  I’m most satisfied with the rides in the northwest and see the value.

So whether you’re looking for a new adventure in your backyard or Sturgis bound and looking for a new Vanocker canyon ride, this app will have you covered.

Photo courtesy of Apple iTunes and Mad Maps Inc.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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