Satellite navigation has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. It (mostly) doesn’t tell you to turn left on bridges, take you the wrong way up one way streets or plan your daily commute via Bradford (unless your daily commute is to Bradford, you poor things). Devices also pack in a mass of additional functionality these days such as audio and video playback, but nothing manages quite the coolness of the latest Navman feature.
Dubbed ‘NavPix’ and fitted to the new iCN720 and iCN750 models, it is a breakthrough technology which enables navigation by digital photography. Holy megapixels Batman, however does it work?
The answer is two fold. Firstly, both Navman models have a built in digital camera and since GPS systems track your location you simply snap a photograph of any place that interests you (be it a landmark, great looking restaurant or bar, perhaps even a property for sale) and the photograph is stored along with the location for retrieval at a later date.
Secondly, Navman has created an online resource to tag any photographs you may own with longitudinal and latitudinal information so they can be uploaded to the device or put online to share with other users. Furthermore, Navman itself has created a huge NavPix global database with thousands of geographically tagged images of famous landmarks and interesting places to download.
Prash Vadgama, Navman’s Consumer Navigation Group President, spelt out the thinking behind NavPix, “Images are an obvious and unmistakeable way to identify a destination. For example, if we wanted to enter the Eiffel Tower as a destination within a current navigation device, how many of us would know the actual address? Not many, but we all know what it looks like. With NavPix, you simply view the NavPix images on your Navman, touch the NavPix you want to select, and go.”
With such a heavy emphasis on images, the new Navman’s also feature enlarged 4in high resolution widescreen touch screen displays. In addition, a built in trip computer provides details on distance travelled, time taken, average speed, maximum speed and even time spent stationary (a depressing stat when getting around London). The iCN720 has pre-installed maps of the UK and Ireland while the iCN750 contains maps of 17 Western European countries. Navigation can also be done via a full postcode search and a regularly updated speed camera database is available from the Navman site.
The iCN720 and iCN750 find their ways to shelves (naturally using the most practical and time efficient routes) in May and will retail for £399 and £549 including VAT respectively. An optional ‘traffic pack’ which displays live traffic information in the UK, Germany and France and provides automatic journey re-routing is an optional extra which can be downloaded for £100.