I typically write product or service follow-up reviews months after posting the first one but I will have to make an exception in the case of KMaps.
Since my initial review at the end of July KMaps has been (and continues to be) updated frequently and it’s already evolved to a stage where it’s almost a completely new application. Actually, as the developer – Ivan Mitrovic – pointed out to me his intention is to transform KMaps from a mere ‘application’ to a platform’ that individuals, businesses and other developers can use to create KMaplets and also perhaps KMapGuides.
The latest version, KMaps 1.2.1, already incorporates many of the enhancements that I had suggested in my initial review but then adds many other innovative ones that I hadn’t even begun to dream about – all of which open some very exciting future possibilities.
For starters, you can now save and store maps to your SD card for later offline browsing and there’s also a full PIM integration where you can:
- Save Address to Contacts
- Save to Contacts/Add Note
- To Do On This Address (Add Task)
- Remind Me Of This Place (Set Calendar Reminder)
All KMaps location searches saved to Contacts are automatically filed under a new category called ‘On The Go’. For example, when setting up a meeting you can search the location, set a Calendar reminder with the date and time (the address is automatically added), save the address to your Contacts and finally save the map (and soon also directions) of where you’re going so that you can go back to it on your way to the meeting.
The second set of new functionalities is based around ‘Location Services’ which includes:
- Attach Note to This Place (You write your input)
- Notes Around This Place (You read others’ input)
- I Am Parking Out of Here
- Parking Places Posted Around
- Collaborate (Available Soon)
Both ‘Attach Note’ and ‘Notes Around’ open to a sub-section containing:
- General Note
- Restaurant Review
- Public Restroom Review
- Emit your Dating Profile
- Emit your Social Profile
- Celebrity Sighting
Some of these may currently be a little ‘silly’ and of no immediate use but they nonetheless offer a good feel for where these Location Services might lead us in the future. For example, as Ivan ran me through a demo, I was extremely amused by the Dating Profile option whereby a man or woman in a specific location could let others know that he/she was looking for a date – since people say that the best relationships are those with partners within 1 mile of home this might actually really take off…
Future Location Services options might include sections for Arts, Museums, Architecture, Work, Food, Shopping, Traffic and countless many others.
There’s also now an integration with Google Local and so you can select ‘Search Local To This Place’ – for example ‘Pizza’ – and it will bring up all relevant results which you’ll then again be able to view on a map.
Finally there are the KMaplets and KMapGuides which I mentioned earlier. The idea currently under development is to allow anyone to create specific interactive maps. For example, a real estate agent could create a map pinpointing the location, price and pictures of all the properties that he represents in a specific area. Another case might be someone creating an architectural sights map of, say, Chicago. At the moment we’re just scratching at all the possibilities.
There is undoubtedly still a lot of work to be done – particularly on the overall usability front – but if you haven’t already installed KMaps I would strongly suggest that you take it for a spin now. This is one application – I mean platform – that best demonstrates the wireless data capabilities of our Treo and which promises to become very big.
You can download KMaps (Free) at the Treonauts Software Store.
BTW: For those Treonauts who do not enjoy the benefit of an unlimited data plan I can strongly suggest using Reverse BT DUN if you’d like to download as much data as you want for free using your PC’s broadband connection – it works like a charm.
Treonauts want to hold the world’s maps in their hand…