New mobile Apps that caught my attention

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 03 Oct 2009

This past two weeks I came across two applications on iPhone which really impressed me in terms of their concept. The first is Waze, which is basically a crowd sourced mapping service that is built on open source software. The basic idea is that instead of using expensive map distributors like Garmin or Navteq, users can build maps themselves just by running the Waze application on their phone. When many Waze users ride a similiar route, naturally it will mean that a road exists in that area. Users can then go onto the Waze site and edit roads that they have driven on.

Once these roads are built, Waze tracks users of the service in real time, and these users can contribute to the service in the form of reporting cops, speed camera, slow traffic etc. Despite Waze saying that it is a worldwide service, they clearly are US focussed at the moment. Hopefully that will change soon enough. The service is also available on a variety of mobile platforms including Windows Mobile, Symbian and Android as well. The idea is brilliant, lets hope it pays off.

The other new app I came across is Cyclopedia, which is augmented reality app that relies on geotagged Wikipedia posts. The application relies on the iPhone 3GS's GPS and compass, and then impose Wikipedia posts over your current camera image. The concept is once again brilliant, but it relies on the services (read: number of geotagged posts around you) in order to be effective. The user can set the radius of posts around him/her which should be displayed. So far I have found it quite effective, especially when going to new places and trying to find your bearing and find interesting things around you. The app is however very buggy and crashes often, but an update is probably on the way.
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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.