The Google team dropped some new navigational apps today into the Android Market, and one particularly caught our attention. Intersection Explorer allows the user to use the touchscreen on an Android phone to explore the streets around them, or around a location they choose. From some initial tests, the concept is quite intriguing,
Naturally, Sendero has long been the king of programs which allow someone to virtually navigate a map. From Atlas Speaks to the recently-released Sendero Maps for the PC, they have released programs which allow the user to traverse streets, learn about intersections, and see what's nearby. Intersection Explorer is certainly no Sendero Maps, but it does offer basic functionality and is a convenient additional navigational aid when on the go or virtually learning about a new city.
Upon opening the app, your phone's GPS is used to place you at the nearest intersection. It will be announced to you, and can be repeated by tapping anywhere on the touchscreen. From this point, you can touch the various parts of the screen to see what other nerby intersections may be available. The simplest way of doing this is to start with your finger in the center of the screen, and then stroke to one direction. The top of the screen as you hold it is north. If you stroke this way and there is an intersection in this direction, it will be announced. Releasing your finger moves your virtual position to this new intersection, announcing it along with the distance traveled. You can hold down your finger to survey other directions before releasing it. If there is no intersection in a particular direction, the compass name, such as "east" will be spoken alone.
With some practice, I was able to quickly navigate around town, learning of streets as I passed them. If I wanted to go somewhere else, I could press the menu key and select the option to return to my current location, or to a location I typed in, for instance in another city.
For a new application, this is a great start. Naturally, we'd love some of the advanced info we're used to from the Sendero apps, such as the layout of an intersection, dead-end streets, etc. Also, it was surprising to not have an option to use your voice to speak a location, as is available in other Google navigation apps. That being said, Intersection Explorer is an excellent addition to the Android platform, bringing it one step closer to a full GPS solution.
Intersection Explorer is available for free from the Android Market.Source: Go to source
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.