I may be a dreamer(1) but I for one feel what OSM is doing now to private map editors is quite the same as what Wikipedia did to the other encyclopedias some years ago.
While I am a quite mild contributor myself, I am definitely considering moving from my present turn-by-turn, ordinary GPS device to one that be OSM-based.
I am quite open as concerns the platform: I understand most OSM-backed softwares now run on smartphones or Apple/Android pads for instance -getting a compact pad instead of a dedicated GPS wouldn’t be a concern for me.
To nuance the above, let’s add I prefer to stay away from the ‘almost monopolies’ Apple and Google systems, which leaves few candidates indeed.
So, my question is: which hardware device would you propose in order to completely replace a turn-by-turn GPS?
There are things I’m ready to drop, like if needed voice guidance, one I must keep: the capacity to handle lots of POIs, separate from the map (like a countrywide list of campsites for instance), and of course recording tracks would be a plus.
I have been following Nokia open-source developments until their recent switch to MSWindows; I saw the rapid death of the german Wetab; I am currently looking at the Blackberry Playbook (which looks for now quite empty as concerns OSM applications, but somehow already announces a version of “Ultimate maps” that would do the job…)
I am ready to invest more than the average “private GPS”, for many reasons you probably share, plus an economical one: not paying the yearly map updates
Skobbler has one of the best apps - with turn by turn voice directions for both Apple and Android, but those companies are both in the “almost monopoly” category. Smartphones can of course record tracks with the appropriate application. I don’t know of any GPS hardware that is sold with ready-to-go OSM GPS.
Not only Europe, the whole world including Antarctica. Ever seen a commercial routable map of Antarctica? So the conclusion is simple: OSM rules!
Any device with GPS connectivity (either built-in or via bluetooth/serial/etc.) will do. There are OSM navigation apps for nearly all platforms; Android, Windows, Windows Mobile, iOS, Linux, MacOS, Meego, Maemo, Symbian, J2ME, BlackBerry, etc. and all major cpu platforms; x86, ARM, MIPS, Sparc, PowerPC.
So, really there is almost no ecosystem without OSM inpact, the only thing that is lacking is a commercial vendor that sells a seamless integrated hardware, operating system and OSM navigation application in a fancy blister packaging. I think Garmin comes closest to this situation (although somehow they don’t advocate it, strangely enough) followed by the various mobile platforms with their super-easy app-stores.
One major thing that is blocking such a development is the lack of housenumbers imho. Geeks will manage without, but normal users nowadays expect their navigation app to deliver them to the doorstep without having to think for themselves just one second.
Thank you MikeN and Lambertus for your very detailed info!
Mike, when you say ‘you don’t get the OSM POIs and address searching’ do I understand I won’t be able to ask, for instance, ‘go to Paris’ with ‘Paris’ being an OSM POI, but still I’ll be able to manually handle personal POIs, separate from the OSM data?
I am not this far on the anti-monopoly crusade, it’s just I try to start outside them, and if I can’t, I won’t cry and just will go on. So I am going to scrutinize Skobbler
I believe there is an alternate way to search by city, but I haven’t played with it. I only know that OSM addresses are not included.
Skobbler has wrestled with the addressing problem also. In the US at first, they were using OSM addresses only; as a result, users were very unhappy. Then they switched to some external source to get closer to the target, but now it misses new roads that OSM has, as well as missing more accurate OSM addresses. They may come up with a combination of the best of both worlds in the future, with OSM addresses being assumed to be accurate and overriding the external source when found.
I appreciate the almost philosophical level of these two answers.
That Skobbler renounces to fresher OSM updates in favor of street numbering is a concern for me (I’d prefer the other way), but whenever I’m set on a device I’ll definitely give them a try.
On the topic of ‘fancy blister packaging’, I’d be more nuanced: I believe ‘more and more integrated solutions’ are useful for us, even if this means bringing in more illiterate contributors.
I don’t say we need all the facebook crowd editing, but when we’ll have a package that by default allows one to review last hour’s track on the map, and with some clicks add that lane there or this restaurant here, I feel it’ll be very efficient in accelerating OSM development and update.
And I must admit, in spite of my personal non-monopoly preferences, this must happen first on iPhones and Android devices