Wednesday, January 14, 2009

iPhone vs Magic Map

Back from my global wanderings, I'll kick off the proper posts this year with some copy I had meant to release as a semi humorous post in the run up to Christmas but which I never got around to posting:

Maps on iPhone: I have been the proud owner of a 3G iPhone for a couple of months now and, of course, have been interested in the maps capability. It has the potential, if someone produced the app, for being the first mainstream mobile device which can be used to see where your contacts are in real time (if they also have iPhones too). This obviously has huge potential for game playing, picking up kids for school, arranging a meeting at a conference etc. Like many technologies, it has been in existence in fiction for a while before making it into reality, the best example of which I know of is the 'Marauder's Map':

Although the software to enable this kind of use is only just appearing I thought it would be fun to review the Marauder's map (MM hereafter) and the iPhone map (IP hereafter) which is linked to the iPhone's GPS :

  • User interface: IP wins, in terms of usability, having to say a spell to turn on the screen is very annoying.
  • Screen size and portability: MM wins hands down, larger screen, paper thin and much lighter.
  • Battery: Again MM wins, it seems to have no power needs at all.
  • Readability: A draw, while MM is a reflective screen which is easier to read in bright sunlight, IP is transmissive so it can be read in the dark without need for another light. However, if you are already armed with a handy wand and you know a light producing spell this wouldn't seem much of a problem.
  • Tracking: MM wins, no need for your contacts to have a GPS enabled device to follow them.
  • Screen Design and look: IP wins as the display is in color and the MM looks, well..., SO dated.
iPhone vs a normal paper map: More seriously, I had an interesting conversation with a psychologist contact of mine who has been involved with a navigational test involving an iPhone-like device compared with a paper map. People tend to think the iPhone map is always better but in fact he showed that when testing speed of navigating over small trips the paper map won because people wasted time working out how to use the iPhone, turning it on, waiting for it to get a GPS fix etc. etc.

More posts coming soon, I had a lot of time for thinking about the GeoWeb whilst I was away.

No comments: