Taking GPS Tours to New Heights

by Scott Rock - 10/19/07 9:22 PM

Scott Rock, Mark Rowlands, and Randy Waldman

Mark Rowlands is taking GPS tours to new heights. Mark uses GeoTours Web to create GPS tours that he then downloads to his Garmin nuvi. But here's the kicker--rather than taking his tour in a car or on foot like the rest of us, he takes it in his helicopter! Mark already rents his Robinson R44 helicopter for movie shoots, aerial photos, training, and more, but he hopes to find a new niche for his helicopter--GPS tours over Los Angeles and surrounding areas. During a recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to meet up with Mark and take an aerial tour.

We put a quick video together showcasing the GPS tour here:

Mark found the Geovative.com site a while back after seeking a solution that would allow him to create and give GPS tours on his Garmin iQue 3600. GeoTours iQue was a perfect fit for him. After creating a tour and trying it out on his iQue, he quickly came up wtih the idea of giving GPS tours from his helicopter.

Since then, Mark has upgraded to a Garmin nuvi 350 and uses the Garmin TourGuide feature. Along with the TourGuide feature, Mark also uses the nuvi's MP3 player. "I like being able to play background audio during the tour and have the tour location audio cut in when we pass the location," says Mark. The helicopter has an auxilary audio input which Mark plugs the nuvi into so all occupants can hear the audio.

Because the nuvi is an automotive unit, it still has its quirks when being used in the air, such as "snapping" to the nearest road or displaying "Driving South" even though you're in the air, but these issues are easily overcome by changing the nuvi's settings. The other tweak mark has to make is setting the proximity to a much larger distance than would be used for a driving tour.

We at Geovative Solutions wish to thank Mark for sharing his story with us as well as for the sample tour. We wish you luck on your endeavor, and thanks for using GeoTours!

Have your own innovative idea for using GPS tours? Let us know and we may showcase it on our blog!

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Location Proximity

by Scott Rock - 10/17/07 1:35 PM

In a recent blog post, we announced the ability to set the proximity in which a Garmin TourGuide location triggers. We initially put this setting at the tour level. Since then, we've had requests for a more granular approach to setting location proximity. A simple example is if you have a tour that includes a mountain peak in the distance and a restaurant. You don't want to use the same proximity for each location. Instead, you'd want to use a smaller proximity for the restaurant and a larger proximity for the mountain peak.

Thus, we have recently added support to set the proximity on a location-by-location basis. You'll still see the same proximity field when creating a new tour. However, the meaning of this field has changed. It now serves as the "default" proximity distance for all locations in the tour. When you add a new location to a tour, the default proximity distance will be auto-populated in the Proximity field on the Add Location form (you'll have to click "More Options" first). If you wish to make that location's distance different than the default value, go ahead! Only that specific location will be affected.

If you want to change a location's proximity in the future, simply click the Edit Location button and you can easily change the location. Want to change the default tour-level proximity? Then simply click the "Edit Tour Settings" option in the Tour Options drop-down menu.

In adding this new feature, we set the proximity for each location to it's current tour proximity distance, so you should see no change in your tour's performance.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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