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Saturday, February 7, 2009

GPS voice navigation for the iPod and iPhone

Link for iPhone and iTouch users here

Link for iPhone and iTouch users here

I have been playing around with software related things the last couple of days.

I decided to upgrade the iPod Touch 1G to firmware 2.2.1 (the video above was taken at firmware 2.2) and I also upgraded the iPhone 2G to 2.2.1.

Unfortunately, I had some problems with both the iPhone and iPod getting stuck at the Apple logo screen after having re-installed/synced AppStore apps on them with iTunes.

So that's why I ended up upgrading the iPod to 2.2.1 (after it got stuck at 2.2) and downgrading the iPhone again from 2.2.1 to 2.2 (after it got stuck at 2.2.1). I think the Apple firmware has a fundamental flaw in the way it boots, trying to rebuild the SpringBoard application list which takes a long time and eventually times out, freezing the iPod/iPhone at the Apple logo screen. I searched online to see if there were any fixes, but none of them worked, so I ended up restoring both the iPod and iPhone.

It looks like things are working again now as I haven't gotten stuck at the Apple logo (I have removed most of the AppStore apps that I had downloaded though and did a reboot after every single package I installed with Cydia).

I also installed the latest beta version of Xwaves' xGPS software to see what had changed in the period I was gone.

There have been quite a lot of bug fixes and additions to xGPS. You can track the development roadmap here. The major new additions for version 1.2 are:
  • A first beta version of voice navigation in English is now implemented and the speech engine does a pretty good job of pronouncing the directions (see the first video above). It will need some future tweaks to correctly pronounce abbreviations (like Rd, Blvd, Pkwy, N, E, S W, slashes, etc), but other than that it does a very good job. It would also be nice if the user could set the distance(s) at which voice directions are given; they are currently set at about 400m and 20m before the next turn.

  • GPS coordinates are now accessible under the GPS settings menu. It would be nice if they could also be displayed in the bottom menu bar of the map view, similarly to the Google Earth application.

  • A Night Mode view is now available under the User Interface settings menu. Night Mode can either be manually enabled or automatically through a timer from 8pm through 7am. The timer is currently fixed, but will be fully customizable in a future release.

  • You can also have your iPhone/iPod play music at the same time when using the xGPS application. The voice directions will be played through the music (see the second video above). It would be nice to have the music fade in/out when there is a voice direction.

According to the roadmap, the next official release is scheduled for February 20, 2009. I am sure you are all looking forward to it.


wolx said...

It looks pretty good from here, and where I stand is in the community.
Good Job and lots of luck in the developing process.

Planverlust said...

Can i get the beta somehow?
Or is this only for developers and beta testers? i am CURSIOUS! ;-)
I wanted to use the iGPS360 for geocaching, and found out, that literally NO other software than xGPS works with the module (there is a "" but it seems to be a dead project not runing on the latest firmware)
So all my hopes are on xGPS, that it will have a compass and i can somehow enter the target coordinates directly someday.

Anonymous said...

@Planverlust: I don't have the 1.2 Beta, but entering coordinates was already possible in the old version. Just enter it in the format "N dd mm.mmm E dd mm.mmm" in the normal address field.

Unfortunately all you get is a blue pin at the target coordinates. There is no compass. So this will get you pretty close to a cache, but won't help you for the last few meters.

Planverlust said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the Hint!!
Actually, the compass is targetted for the next release! At least that's what the Bugtracking system says here.
GREAT, let's go Geocaching :-)

koRnolio said...

man... this is sooo good!! :D
Can't wait to get the new version of the xGPS Soft!! those guys are really amazing!

keep it up!

GAMA Gallo said...

your GPS module is very good and it works perfectly with xgps!
but a question for you:
I can also use other applications that use GPS with your module?

GPS said...

@Planverlust: we have received the source code for the from Simba and will port it to 2.x, but it will take some time to do.

@GAMA Gallo: you can not use any AppStore apps yet as Apple doesn't allow access to the dock connector. We are trying to circumvent this by hooking into the MobileSubstrate platform. Besides that, the module will work with a third party app from Cydia if it accesses the serial port for GPS data.

Anonymous said...

see this pls

Anonymous said...

I have got it! and I am very ipressed. Folks please remember to donate, well deserved!

Nico said...

Hi, I just bought the gps module but I can't use the applicaction: when I launch xgps an error occurs: Can't open serial port and it asks me to check if no other GPS application is running.
All the applications are closed so I really don't understand...I reinstalled the application and still the same error...

Thx for help