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3/20/2008
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Mobile Navigation Gets A Double GPS Boost

MapQuest, Rand McNally enhance location and traffic services for GPS-enabled mobile phones.

Just like in real estate, new services for mobile phones have become all about location. In separate developments, Rand McNally and MapQuest said this week they're working with partners to exploit the GPS capabilities in many mobiles that help direct users to their destination.

CDMA network operator nTelos is launching Rand McNally's Navigator wireless application, which offers voice directions from mobile devices for easy navigation. The Rand McNally application was developed by TeleCommunication Systems, which also supplies nTelos its E911 capabilities.

TCS said subscribers can select a variety of navigation views, including turn-by-turn and map views. They can also save their favorite and recent places, airports, and other locations. GPS also enables the service to display users' exact location in real time, TCS said in a statement.

Under the contract, nTelos also bought Xypoint Location Services and Location-Based Services Roaming from TCS to ensure customers have precise location mapping and nationwide roaming. This provides nTelos with the infrastructure to rapidly implement and support future location-based applications from multiple vendors, TCS added.

MapQuest said Wednesday it's working with traffic information provider Inrix to offer views of traffic flow and incidents along major roadways in more than 100 U.S. markets. The "Traffic" feature is available on MapQuest.com and MapQuest Wireless, the company said, and is delivered via MapQuest Navigator 5.0, a voice-guided, GPS-enabled wireless application launched last November.

"Our extensive customer research shows that traffic is one of the most requested features from our users," said Christian Dwyer, senior VP and general manager of MapQuest, in a statement. "After evaluating alternatives we decided to incorporate Inrix traffic across multiple MapQuest offerings to provide the best coverage and highest accuracy for trip planning and navigation."

For desktop users, MapQuest has added a toolbar with one-click access to real-time traffic information that's updated every five minutes.

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