The Best of OpenStreetMap (Thus Far)

by Karoline on March 18, 2014

The OpenStreetMap is awesome.

From its hyperlocal detail to its catchy aesthetic, OpenStreetMap has single-handedly (with the help of the help of the thousands of contributions by map enthusiasts from around the world) raised the bar on what a map should, and can be.

So with that in mind, we just wanted to take a quick blogging second to go through some of the best aspects, uses and moments in OpenStreetMap history, thus far.

Malleability and Detail

We have said it before, and we’ll say it again, but one of the central tenants that makes OSM stand out when compared to other mapping services is not only the speed at which it evolves, but its detail.

A map is more than just roads and a compass rose. It involves everything from tree lines to ski runs. The great thing about OpenStreetMap is that it can be as detailed as users want to make it (as is on display here, for you Winter Olympics fans), which means it is arguably the most dynamic and adaptable map around. Meaning, it is a major success in the world of maps.

Mapping When It Matters Most

Another great aspect of the OpenStreetMap is its propensity for lending unique mapping insights and up-to-date information in times of need. In 2010, when Haiti was rocked by one of the most infamous earthquakes in history, maps of its terrain were rudimentary, meager and out of date, making rescue and recovery efforts incredibly challenging.

However, thanks to the dedication and know-how of map enthusiasts from around the world, OpenStreetMap was able to revamp Haiti’s map-scape in a matter of days, providing a more current and accessible map for rescue workers to reference.

Edits by the Masses

It’s hard enough to get two people to work together sometimes. So trying to get 1.5 million people (and growing) together to work on something is almost unfathomable.

That was until OpenStreetMap eclipsed that user threshold. The world is an ever evolving place, which is certainly easier to navigate sometimes with the help of those around you. Now sure, some cynics may say this is a romantic concept, but the fact is that OpenStreetMap with all of its users and voluntary contributors proves that this is not only the case, but an incredibly efficient and effective one as well.

{ 0 comments }

Last week we released a small GPS Navigation & Maps update (including Foursquare and Tripadvisor integration, new map material and many more improvements) for our Android users.

Unfortunately, some of you had had problems with the update and the app kept crashing. For all those impacted by this we have good news: the problem is fixed and today’s newly updated version should be working again just fine.

Still having problems? Feel free to contact our support team via mail – support@skobbler.com – they’ll be happy to help you.

{ 0 comments }

New Year, More Apps

by Karoline on February 24, 2014

Apps are our thing.

Yet, despite a particular fondness for those of the mapping and navigation variety, apps from around the ecosystem peak our interest in a special, geeky, way.

Here are few apps that are making headlines in the New Year that are both blazing new trails or redefining old ones, outside of the mapping and navigation sphere.

Facebook’s Paper

Always surrounded by buzz, Facebook recently released its new app Paper, and people are taking notice. Paper revamps Facebook’s traditional single News Feed, by breaking it into several sections that feature topics like Planet, Tech or just good old-fashioned Headlines that users can scroll through horizontally. Not only does Paper give Facebook a different aesthetic appeal, but also further diversifies the site as it tries to become more than just a “friends” site.

Vinted

A wise person once said, “one person’s trash may be another person’s treasure.” Vinted puts that theory to the test by allowing users to turn their old, no longer in use clothing into cold hard cash. Have a sweater that you’re not a big fan of anymore? Just snap a picture, post it alongside a description and find that perfect new buyer. Mobile commerce will never be the same, and your wardrobe may not be either.

SwiftKey

While a seasoned Android pro, SwiftKey made its long anticipated iOS debut in January, giving many beleaguered fat fingered typists (many of us included) a sense of relief. SwiftKey is pretty savvy with its typing forethought that makes taking notes or just fiddling around with the key board a cinch. Granted SwiftKey has its limitations given Apple’s third-party keyboard restrictions, but at long last typing on iOS back a little more of a breeze.

{ 0 comments }

We are very excited to announce that skobbler and Telenav have joined forces today. As one team, we will continue to strive for the best products and technology made for and based on OpenStreetMap (OSM). We will eventually post more information here.

For now, allow us to point you to OSM founder and fellow Telenav employee Steve Coast for his view on the acquisition and why it makes a lot of sense.

2014: The Year for Travel?

by Karoline on January 21, 2014

Another year of travel and adventure has come to an end, but luckily that means another new one has just begun. People from around the world love to get out and about and travel to new places or old ones (take the US for example, where over 94.5 million Americans were expected to travel more than 50 miles from their home in order to ring in the holiday season), so with that in mind we wanted to share some of the lesser known destinations travel lovers should keep in mind when planning their 2014 trips.

Manaus, Brazil

Amidst some of the world’s most treacherous jungle terrain, Manaus has a little bit of everything when it comes to travel (outside of cold weather). From great shops to architecture (check out the Manaus Opera House), Manaus is literally an urban oasis that has something to offer even the most docile of travelers. In addition, that fact that it will play host to a few World Cup matches this summer doesn’t hurt either.

Yosemite National Park

Looking to get in touch with nature during your 2014 travels? Then Yosemite National Park may be for you. Slightly “off the beaten path” (which is awesome if you ask us), Yosemite offers some of the best trails, wildlife and landscape all-in-one. Furthermore, Yosemite National Park will be celebrating the 150 year anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant by Abraham Lincoln, which set aside the park for preservation (the first area of land to be marked as such), so history buffs may find the park to their liking as well.

Riga, Latvia

One of the lesser known European cities for travelers, Riga is a cultural hot spot situated right in the middle of the Baltic Rim. From its towering cathedrals to its historic city center (which is a World Heritage Site), Riga offers visitors old world charm without the price tag of Amsterdam or Paris (not to mention some pretty great views).

skobbler’s Must Have Holiday Gifts

by Karoline on December 20, 2013

The holidays are finally here, and with it, the gifts.

Now sure there are a lot of great things about the holidays (family, friends, great food), but the gifts definitely give the holiday season a little bit of an added boost. And no matter if you are looking to add one final gadget to your personal wish list, or looking for that last minute item for the tech lover in your life, here are some of this year’s holiday season must-haves (or at least we think so).

Pebble

Smartwatches may still be relatively new, but with the category becoming more and more popular every day, there is arguably no better way to become a smartwatch trend setter than with the Pebble. Simple and sleek, the Pebble is a great compliment to any user’s mobile life. For example, tired of walking into people while checking texts? The Pebble brings your texts right to your wrist letting you stay focused on your route as opposed to that person you just bumped into. Want to switch songs quickly? The Pebble has you covered. Sure, the Pebble is still building out its “iOS-ness,” but with its awesome customization possibilities and straight-forward functionality, this one may be a must have for any watch (or tech) lover.

Fitbit Flex

Getting out and about can take some effort sometimes, and there is no better way to stay on top of your health than with a Fitbit Flex. Health never sleeps or takes a day off, and the Fitbit Flex helps users keep track of their hard burned calories (steps and sleep cycle for that matter) in a comfortable, lightweight wristband that syncs wirelessly with your device (and is great on battery). The wristband may not be as fashion forward as the Pebble, but it certainly provides that accurate information any health nut or outdoors type craves.

Google Chromecast

Streaming is all the rage, and Chromecast lets you get in on the action in a pint-sized way by allowing you to stream some of your favorite videos right to your television screen. The service does have some limitations when compared to competitors like Apple TV, but with such smooth integration capabilities and easy set-up, Chromecast is basically a budget-friendly streaming rock star.

Yes, we’re aware that an update of our iOS navigation app has been long overdue. But as you know, we really want to make sure that we provide you with an awesome and comprehensive update in the end, so these things take a little time. And with that in mind, we are pleased to introduce GPS Navigation, at last (which we hope will compensate for the latency at least a little bit).

From now on the new GPS Navigation 5.0 is available in the App Store – for all existing GPS Navigation users as a free update.

So what’s new? Well, from a visual perspective it’s basically a brand new app. And from a functionality standpoint, GPS Navigation also boasts a brand new map engine, NGx. What is it? In short, NGx allows you to zoom in and out and turn the map without any juddering or reloading (we absolutely recommend you try it out and let us know what you think).

Apart from the new design and engine, and the latest OSM map data and iOS 7 adaptations, there are some other great features we don’t want to keep from you:

  • Different map styles (Day, Night, Outdoor – suitable map look in any situation)
  • Street names as pop-ups during navigation (which looks way nicer and clearer)
  • Alternative routes (You choose the route you want to take before starting the navigation)
  • Avoid high ways and ferries (YES, finally)
  • Integrated Wikitravel guide (So when you’re abroad you not only have an offline map in your pocket but also an intuitive travel guide to find out interesting stuff about your destination while sightseeing)
  • TripAdvisor Local Search (Which Italian restaurant has the best ratings in your vicinity?)

In the end, we hope that we have fulfilled many of your wishes, as our goal was to provide you with a functional and good-looking package containing navigation, worldwide map material and a travel guide that can help you head-out and take on the world in (almost) anyway you deem fit.

Last but not least, here are a few pictures to underline everything that has been written:

Foto 1 Foto 2 Foto 5 Foto

We hope you like the update and are looking forward to your feedback.

*** UPDATE: We are searching for new beta testers again! Interested? You’ll find more information below. We are looking forward to all applications. ***

—————————————————

We’re currently giving our new update for GPS Navigation & Maps on Android the final touch.

After successfully finding so many great beta testers for our new iOS GPS Navigation version a couple of weeks ago, we now need YOU, our Android users! How so? We have a beta version of the new app ready approx. next week and we need people who test it and who tell us what works and what doesn’t. What’s nice and what isn’t yet.

Interested? Here is what you have to do:

Please follow this link and apply for a membership in our skobbler Android Beta Tester Google Group. Once you’ve done that we’ll be in touch with you and tell you what the next steps will be. When becoming a member please choose the option to get an email when new messages are posted in the group, so you’ll be always up to date.

Once the beta version is ready for testing, you’ll find more instructions in the Google Group and you’ll be able to download it from Google Play. It doesn’t matter which Android device you have, but it should have installed at least Android version 2.3 (or higher).

And the best thing about it: There’s something to gain, too. Each week we will give away a 250€ amazon voucher for the beta tester who has provided us the most meaningful input and feedback. We need your expertise and your input is very valuable to us.

We’re looking forward to you guys signing up to become the very first ones out there to see the new app. And please note, we need approx. 20-30 people testing the app. First come, first served. So join our group right now.

{ 5 comments }

The iPad Air Has Arrived

by Karoline on November 8, 2013

The moment has finally come.

After seemingly years of anticipation, a new OS launch, and two new iPhones, Apple has finally released its new, lightweight iPad Air and iPad Mini.

And while it may be a slightly trimmer version of the classic tablet, iPad Air (and Mini) can still pack a punch, that both consumers and ourselves are looking forward to.

Construction and Weight

A lot has been made about the iPad Air’s 20 percent size reduction. And yet, while not necessarily being a heavyweight, any time a product can be trimmed down definitely makes it easier for consumers from a usage vantage point. Now granted, it can fit behind a pencil, however, with its solid, Apple renowned build, users can look forward to a much more functional device, that doesn’t sacrifice sturdiness.

The iPad Mini’s New Punchy Picture

Think the iPad Mini’s display was dull?

Well not anymore, as Apple has spruced up the Mini with a brand new 2048 x 1536 display (that provides 163 more pixels per inch than its predecessor).

How good is it? Good. So good in fact that Apple believes Retina is so advanced that users can’t see individual pixels on the device.

Price, Price and More Price

While Apple has included a few new features into the Air, its new $499 price tag may be the thing that surprised most consumers and Apple enthusiasts. However, given the tablet space is becoming more and more dense each day with budget-friendly options such as the Nexus and Surface, a more competitive price isn’t as surprising as it probably would have been just a few years ago. In the end, although the Air is still near the $500 price point, consumers will still look to get their hands on it as soon as the November 1st deadline drops.

skobbler and iPads

Now to the best part: our products when it comes to iPads.

Everyday people turn to our apps, like ForeverMap 2 and GPS Navigation 2, in order to head out and find new places of all different shapes and sizes. And while users check out our mapping wits via all sorts of devices, many choose to do so on their iPad.

Much like with all of our apps, 3G version iPad Air users can look forward to using both our stellar online and offline maps, anytime, anywhere (unfortunately, our apps only work with 3G version iPads, as WiFi iPads lack GPS receiver integration).  So get ready to take on the world in style.

Why Crowdsourcing Is Awesome

by Karoline on November 4, 2013

You might have guessed by now that one of the greatest things for us out there is crowdsourcing.

With that in mind, we wanted to take a second to survey some of the great happenings from around the crowdsourcing landscape, and to highlight why exactly we think crowdsourcing is so cool.

Kickstarter

Each day, tons upon tons of great ideas are born but have no way to come to fruition given the tight monetary confines it takes to make a great idea a reality. With Kickstarter, people from all over the world are helping others make their cool new ideas of all shapes and sizes (like this cool key holder) into things that revolutionize the way we live. And given Kickstarter just passed the 50,000 successfully funded project threshold, it seems as if crowdsourcing is alive and well.

Answers

Sometimes you just have a question that even a Google search alone can’t answer. That is why sites like Quora and Wiki.Answers are so great. Sure, you may not necessarily get the answer that you need exactly, but with the wealth of knowledge that can be found on the internet paired with the intuition and intellectual curiosity, you will probably at least get pointed in the direction.

OpenStreetMap

You knew it was coming.

Everyday people are out and about, and whether you just happen to be in a different part of town looking for a grocery store, or in a completely different country, people need a reliable way to find what they need, when they need it. And OpenStreetMap does exactly that, giving people a living, breathing map resource shaped by over 1 million map enthusiasts from around the world.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of things a single person can do. However, sometimes when an obstacle presents itself, a helping hand or just a friend can help make accomplishing a given goal a lot easier. So here’s to crowdsourcing, for always lending that helping hand.

google_analytics_code