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Phone for Direction

At one point during An Event Apart Boston—for which I finally uploaded my few pictures, to add to the much larger pool—I observed that Boston, like parts of New York City and most European cities, is a place where maintaining a relation to the cardinal compass points is almost impossible.  Thanks to its centuries-long Organic Growth Syndrome, finding one’s way can be next to impossible, even when you have Google Maps giving you directions on your iPhone.  (Not my iPhone; I don’t have one yet, which makes my posting of the perfect ringtone deliciously ironic.  But certainly on whoever around you has an iPhone, which is put-near ever’body, these days.)

Of course, the soon-to-be-released 3G iPhone will have true GPS capabilities, I said, and that’s when it hit me: someone should take the iPhone SDK and an insanely high-resolution copy of the Safari logo and put them together to create a 3G iPhone compass.  Hold it level and watch the needle find true north!  Genius.

So somebody get on that, okay?  Thanks much!

13 Responses»

    • #1
    • Comment
    • Tue 8 Jul 2008
    • 1432
    Jason Armstrong wrote in to say...

    Dare I say, brilliant?

    I am very excited about the new iPhone 3G.

    However, I am immensely excited about the App Store and the genius and elegant apps that are sure to be created. Based on the mere glimpses we’ve had so far, the possibilities astound.

    • #2
    • Comment
    • Tue 8 Jul 2008
    • 1508
    • #3
    • Comment
    • Tue 8 Jul 2008
    • 1522
    Eric Meyer wrote in to say...

    They’re partway there, Jordan, but are missing the real key to this, which is to use the Safari icon. Seriously, that’s integral to the proposal. Maybe the Safari team will do it for us? I can but hope.

    • #4
    • Comment
    • Tue 8 Jul 2008
    • 1652
    Michael Salmon wrote in to say...

    Sorry to disillusion you but GPS can only be used to determine position, to get direction you need 2 positions which usually means that you need to move. Maybe the motion sensor can help once your direction is known.

    • #5
    • Comment
    • Tue 8 Jul 2008
    • 1739
    Jeff Skinner wrote in to say...

    Google’s upcoming Android platform has something even better.

    Compass + Streetview

    • #6
    • Comment
    • Wed 9 Jul 2008
    • 0913
    Bridget Stewart wrote in to say...

    Yep. That’s definitely an idea alright.

    If only I knew how to implement the ideas I get…

    • #7
    • Comment
    • Wed 9 Jul 2008
    • 1355
    Karen Ann wrote in to say...

    I also do not have an iPhone… but it should have a clock with hands application right? (Afterall, my plain old cell phone has one)
    Use the compass /slash/ watch method…. on wikihow scroll down to Watch Method, Northern Hemisphere.

    • #8
    • Comment
    • Wed 9 Jul 2008
    • 1636
    Matthew wrote in to say...

    Wow that compass is such a great idea. So ironically archaic and simply futuristic at the same time.

    • #9
    • Comment
    • Wed 9 Jul 2008
    • 1908
    mdja wrote in to say...

    Firstly, maintaining a relation to the cardinal compass points in most European cities if you grew up in Europe and hence have a natural understanding of how towns and cities grow and develop in relationship to the landscape and environment around them. It’s only grid-dwellers who struggle.

    Secondly, those who live in cities don’t really need to know the cardinal compass points, they only need to know where they are and how to get where they are going (in London, “down street X” or “on tube line Y”).

    • #10
    • Comment
    • Thu 10 Jul 2008
    • 1856
    John Dowdell wrote in to say...

    I’ve never bought from them, but their assortment looks quite attractive:
    http://www.brasscompass.com/

    (If an electronic device knows its position and orientation, then that could help with augmented-reality implementations.)

    jd

    • #11
    • Comment
    • Wed 16 Jul 2008
    • 1034
    Lou wrote in to say...

    As mentioned above, the iPhone unlike the unreleased Android does not know it’s orientation. The accelerometers/tilt and other sensors have no clue what direction it is facing.

    • #12
    • Comment
    • Thu 24 Jul 2008
    • 1152
    Hugh wrote in to say...

    Or, for $3 or so you could get a pocket compass…

    • #13
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    • Sun 3 Aug 2008
    • 2030
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