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KMaps Revisited

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
  • Sale
  • 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.

Also read Mobile Google Maps: First on Treo with KMaps

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


Posted by Andrew on August 10, 2005 at 04:12 PM

Treo Software | Mapping

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference KMaps Revisited:

» KMaps - A Must-Have for your Treo Smart Phone from Conneva Weblog
I first read about KMaps several months ago on the Treonauts blog. Having gotten hopelessly loss recently while traveling out of town, I decided to hunt it down and get it fired up on my phone. KMaps brings the power... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 22, 2005 9:30:50 PM

» KMaps - A Must-Have for your Treo Smart Phone from Conneva Weblog
I first read about KMaps several months ago on the Treonauts blog. Having gotten hopelessly loss recently while traveling out of town, I decided to hunt it down and get it fired up on my phone. KMaps brings the power... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 22, 2005 9:32:17 PM

» KMaps - A Must-Have for your Treo Smart Phone from Conneva Weblog
I first read about KMaps several months ago on the Treonauts blog. Having gotten hopelessly loss recently while traveling out of town, I decided to hunt it down and get it fired up on my phone. KMaps brings the power... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 29, 2005 8:28:57 AM



Comments

1
by Doug | Aug 10, 2005 5:36:33 PM

I have been using KMaps for about a month now and find it invaluable. This newest version is another leap ahead. If you need a map in a hurry this is the application. I've always liked Google Maps and now they are even better on my Treo. The best part about it is it's free. I would suggest that you help out the developer with a PayPal donation so he can continue to provide support for an excellent product.

2
by Roel | Aug 10, 2005 8:07:17 PM

I've looked at KMaps and would find it a great application except for the fact that Google doesn't support maps anywhere but in the US but the looks of it. I've posted a message to the developer of KMaps to find out if it would work with other services with some modifications but haven't heard back yet..

I think its an excellent idea and would think people outside the US would love to get their hands on it. Certainly here in Australia there is a huge interest already.

Perhaps the KMaplets will support services like YellowPages which here in Australia provide online maps.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

3
by Ivan | Aug 10, 2005 11:55:54 PM

As long as I know Google Maps are supported in USA, UK, Canada and Japan... I guess they'll add more countries soon... Here are some links of KMaps being used in Japan...

http://earthhopper.seesaa.net/article/5787192.html

http://blog.so-net.ne.jp/ryo-n/2005-08-09

4
by Ambar | Aug 11, 2005 12:57:56 AM

I can't seem to load pimops.prc. Any ideas?

5
by Roland | Aug 11, 2005 11:13:17 AM

I like the program, but it is so slow, not only downloading the maps, but just accessing my contacts. Any suggestions? I'm using this on a Treo 650.

6
by Andrew | Aug 11, 2005 11:25:59 AM

Roland - maps should not take more than 30secs to download. I recommend perhaps reducing the number of map tiles in your settings.

Yes, accessing Contacts is very slow at present but Ivan is working to improve this shortly with a different type of integration.

Cheers, A.

7
by A. Davis | Aug 11, 2005 12:15:17 PM

I'm always a bit reticent to waste valuable memory on my precious... errr, I mean my Treo (sorry... watched all three Lord of the Rings last night). I'm also a bit sketchy on installing new softwares... ones that haven't been around for a few releases/versions. And lastly, I'm definitely always reticent towards JVMs as most everything Java is slooooooooowwwwwwww and memory hungry. Thus, when I saw the first post about KMaps, I waited.

Today, I bit the bullet, made about 300 backups of my precious and went for it. What can I say? Nothing bad. Java installed w/o an issue once I shutdown Chatter and GoodLink. KMaps installed fine. I've since moved KMaps to my SDCard and launch it with PowerRun. No issues there... runs just fine, though I wish I could move Java over there too. :(

I use GoodLink for my corporate email and Chatter for personal mail. GoodLink changes the pathing for the local Contacts which breaks a few things... namely, if using either Snapper or Chatter, I cannot lookup emails from my contacts since they can't access the GoodLink Contacts. I was very interested to see how KMaps handled this. I got a small delay, then an "Oops! java.lang.IndexOutOfBoundsException". In English this translates to "yada, yada, yada". :) Pretty much what I expected. I keep hoping that GoodLink will make some change that will allow apps that are looking for the stock Palm contacts to be able to read out of the GoodLink contacts. The kewl thing about KMaps, though, is that it didn't freeze up and require a reset. It hit the OK button and looked up a map a different way.

All in all, its pretty good. In 30 minutes of testing, it only froze up once. I get EDGE connections around my office, so its really fast there, a bit slower around my home.

The only thing that bothers me is the size. I can't seem to get it full screen. :( All the screenshots above show it in full screen, yet after a standard search with most defaults set, on my 320x320 screen, I get what looks about like a 120x120 image in the upper, left corner. Anyone know how to change this?

I'd really like to see some YellowPages integration, something similar to Directory Assistant. For example, I think it would be awesome to be able to search for "Genvault" (or perhaps Genvault, Carlsbad, CA), have it query YP.com (or similar location), return the address, have you confirm the selection, then pull up the map for it.

8
by A. Davis | Aug 11, 2005 12:39:40 PM

Make that 2 resets in 1 hour... crashed while searching local traffic.

Another really nice feature would to check traffic conditions from point A to point B. Right now, you can only check them for a certain address. But being able to go through the from... to steps, then request traffic conditions in between would be almost invaluable.

9
by Chris Gripp | Aug 11, 2005 12:51:54 PM

I haven't tried KMaps but in response to A Davis' post regarding traffic from point A to point B I use a nice website called www.beatthetraffic.com. It lets you set a route and will then display the traffic betwwen your begin and end route points. Very nice for my commute from San Diego to Orange County, CA which almost always sucks. One feature about it I really like is the "current drive time". It gives the normal estimate and then the new estimate based on conditions. I've found it to be pretty accurate.

10
by Ivan | Aug 11, 2005 1:16:40 PM

If Contacts lookup is slow, take http://alealea.com/ivan/maps/KMaps.prc that I have just put and it speeds the Contacts lookup up quite a bit... As for the traffic report, I take it from Yahoo real-time Traffic feed which is region based. If you know of better one, I would be interested to integrate it. For the initial size of the maps, go to Help->Settings and adjust the number of the horizontal and vertical tiles you want to download in one network gulp. By default it is set to 1 X 1 which is low for users that have faster connection and gives the minimal map on screen there is. Try to set to 3 X 1 or something like that to get the bigger map initially... cheers

11
by Ivan | Aug 11, 2005 1:24:08 PM

Davis, I did search for
"Genvault, Carlsbad, CA" in KMaps and it returned the data fine 9address, phone etc.) and was able to Map it...

12
by A. Davis | Aug 11, 2005 2:19:55 PM

Chris - How's that for a small world? I live in Carlsbad and commute to OC all the time. Thanks for the traffic site link. I just wish they had a mobile optimized version of their site. Unfortunately, I'm getting a pop-up just off their main page and the images are too large to load up on my 650.

Ivan - For the contacts, its not a speed issue (perhaps for others it is). For me its GoodLink which overwrites something related to the contacts and causes any app that then tries to read from the Contacts to generate an error. I've emailed GoodLink as requested a fix as a future feature. I'm not holding my breath.

For the Genvault search, you are correct... I initially just searched for Genvault. I didn't actually search for "Genvault, Carlsbad, CA". I should have.

For the number of maps/images... I had made that change before, but it didn't seem to work. I just did it and was forced to change it, save it, exit KMaps, then start KMaps again before it worked. For some reason, changing it, saving it, then immediately pulling up a map left me with the 1x1...

Thanks for the suggestions and the excellent product. :)

13
by Hoovs | Aug 11, 2005 5:57:05 PM

I posted this on the other blog but I'll post it again.

I downloaded 1.2.1 and when I try to get traffic info it freezes on the hour glass. The Treo is not frozen, just the app--apparently. I only downloaded the K-Maps prc. DO I need either of the other prc files for traffic info?

Thanks again.

14
by Steve | Aug 16, 2005 4:56:37 AM

A. Davis: Could it be that you're only seeing one tile? Do the non-map parts of the screen have a brick pattern? If so, try walking the little guy around with the cursor pad or tapping on the empty areas (which will move him to where you tap) and it'll load the missing parts of the map.

Now if only this could be made to talk to my Bluetooth GPS receiver...

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
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