One thing there is no shortage of at the BREW conference in San Diego is GPS and LBS offerings. Meet six companies who want to make sure you never have to rely on a gas station attendant for directions again.Just for my own gratification, I have to ask: Has anyone ever received good directions from a gas station attendant? I certainly have not. While my case of Directile Dysfunction (lostus oftenus) isn't too severe, I admit I've had to resort to that oft-reviled source of misinformation, the gas station attendant. Too often the 'directions' were no good and sometimes flat-out wrong. Promising to cure my affliction are a handful of companies at BREW who are happy to lead the way to wherever it is that you happen to be going.
Autodesk: This company offers a host of different GPS-based services for carriers to take advantage of, such as Family Minder to help keep the tabs on the kids, and Insight, which helps businesses keep track of their mobile assets in real-time. The Insight product is great for the enterprise that needs to keep a watchful eye on a mobile workforce. Not only does it provide driving directions for workers behind the wheel, it also lets managers make smart dispatch decisions based on real-time mapping.
deCarta: deCarta is all about powering things behind the scenes. Its hosted Web services lets developers location-enable their applications with features such as fluid maps, routes and driving directions, address lookup and local searches.
Garmin: Since Yao Ming isn't available to hand out dedicated GPS units to every couple that gets lost, Garmin has created a mobile phone version of its navigation service. Once users punch in their destination, Garmin does the rest. It formulates the quickest route and provides voice prompts to get you there.
Networks in Motion: NIM may not be a household name, but it sure helps you find directions from your house to anywhere else. It also offers location-based geocoding to pictures taken with cell phones for mobile photo journals, as well as a Family Finder program to make sure grandma hasn't wandered off again.
Tele Atlas: Tele Atlas is another under-the-hood provider of mapping services. Most of the other services listed in this article probably rely on Tele Atlas maps. That's because Tele Atlas has 22 million points of interest, real-time and predictive traffic information, and 64 countries mapped into its database.
Trimble: Trimble Outdoors is a suite of GPS applications for cell phones that work as well off the beaten path as on. Not restricted to the nation's streets and highways, Trimble Outdoors works for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts with its off-road navigation, GeocacheNavigator and AllSportGPS products.