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Apple seeks patent on "podmaps" concept

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
A new software concept proposed by Apple Inc. would merge visual maps and spoken driving directions into an advanced form of on-demand podcast known as a podmap, a recent company filing has revealed.

The software-driven concept would consist of four core components that would let users request directions from a starting location to a destination location and have the results of that request returned in the form of a podcast media file that includes visual maps and spoken step-by-step driving instructions.

The GPS alternative of sorts would function as such: users would request a set of driving directions, which would then be sent to a remote map server. In turn, the map server would return textual based directions and pass them through a text-to-speech conversion engine that would return audible equivalents.

According to Apple's filing, made January 2007 and published for the first time on Thursday, the textual and audio directions would then be sent to a "podmap creator" which would piece them together alongside visual media items (map images) into a video podcast file that would then be stored on an RSS server.

"In this regard, the application server can reply to the client program to notify the client that the requested podmap is now available from the podmap RSS server. The client program can then interact with the podmap RSS server to retrieve the requested podmap," Apple said.



"Furthermore, once the client program includes the requested podmap, the client program can transfer or copy the podmap to the portable media device," the company continued. "In any event, once the requested podmap is resident at the client or the portable media device, the podmap is able to be played on such devices. Due to their support of media playback, the client and the portable media device can also be referred to as media playback devices. When being played, the podmap presents to the user of the device the voice directions and the corresponding images so that the user is able to successfully navigate from the start location to the destination location. It is particularly useful to play on the portable media device because it can be easily carried or transferred by the user."



Each podmap, Apple adds, would likely be segmented into "episodes" or segments, where each step in a set of driving directions could be accessed separately, paused, played, or repeated.

The filing is credited to company employee Ellis Verosub of San Francisco, Calif.
post #2 of 20
People fumbling with their iPods while driving? I like this idea already.
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by arithmerock View Post

People fumbling with their iPods while driving? I like this idea already.

Sounds more like an addition to Google Maps for the iPod Touch and iPhone to me. I really like the idea as my only issue with Goggle maps for finding a location is that it won't speak the directions.
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post #4 of 20
It's an interesting idea, but really a non-starter when compared to true GPS functionality. I suppose it won't hurt them to have the patent anyway.

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post #5 of 20
Maybe they will use it for their rumoured car navigation system.
post #6 of 20
This sounds EXACTLY like what the step by step directions feature on an iPhone does ... without the voice output.

*Yawn* Must be a slow news day.

Now, if the new virtual GPS triangulation system in the most recent iPhone update were set to auto-update every so often (say, every 30 seconds) so it would always give a rough approximation of one's position, then this would be a really cool feature.
post #7 of 20
This could also be used at a smaller scale, say touring a museum, or even for a driving tour of a historic area. The technology is a really good idea.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DestructoTex View Post


Now, if the new virtual GPS triangulation system in the most recent iPhone update were set to auto-update every so often (say, every 30 seconds) so it would always give a rough approximation of one's position, then this would be a really cool feature.

Yeah. The verbal instructions would be pretty useless unless they were given
at the appropriate times, based upon location.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DestructoTex View Post

This sounds EXACTLY like what the step by step directions feature on an iPhone does ... without the voice output.

*Yawn* Must be a slow news day.

Now, if the new virtual GPS triangulation system in the most recent iPhone update were set to auto-update every so often (say, every 30 seconds) so it would always give a rough approximation of one's position, then this would be a really cool feature.

Navison already does this:
http://www.iphoneatlas.com/2008/02/0...tion-tracking/
post #10 of 20
Anyone know anything about a Google Map download for the Ipod touch? I have been trying to figure out a way to download areas of maps for use offline and no one seems to have any idea if this is possible or why not.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuneman07 View Post

Anyone know anything about a Google Map download for the Ipod touch? I have been trying to figure out a way to download areas of maps for use offline and no one seems to have any idea if this is possible or why not.

It's not possible. The interface for Google Maps is written by Apple but it's pools the data from the Gogole Map servers upon request. There is no mechanism for multiple maps likes there are for multiple Mobiel Safari pages. You only have what you last searched for while connected to the internet.

You're only workarounds are to go to maps.google.com to setup area maps on different Safari pages, email the Maps to yourself or sync then as snapshots you took from your computer. If you really need Maps while not connected to the internet a GPS may be what you need. I personally love my Tom Tom.
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post #12 of 20
At first I thought--just another patent. Not going to become a real product. (Though it would add SOME value to a plain old low-coat iPod/Nano - and advancing to the next "step" would be no harder than skipping a song, which people do all the time while driving--sometimes right from their steering wheel controls.)

But they I realized you could choose custom theme music for driving through different neighborhoods! Cool!!!!!
post #13 of 20
But directions will not be real time. It would be dead offline thing
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's not possible. The interface for Google Maps is written by Apple but it's pools the data from the Gogole Map servers upon request. There is no mechanism for multiple maps likes there are for multiple Mobiel Safari pages. You only have what you last searched for while connected to the internet.

You're only workarounds are to go to maps.google.com to setup area maps on different Safari pages, email the Maps to yourself or sync then as snapshots you took from your computer. If you really need Maps while not connected to the internet a GPS may be what you need. I personally love my Tom Tom.

I just dropped 400 on a Ipod touch I don't want to drop more on a GPS. I really just want easy access to maps when I am driving around. It would be so nice to just look at where I am going on a map. I can't believe there is no way to cache data like my computer does ( I can access all maps I looked at online even when offline) and my computer actually has less available hard drive space than my Ipod touch.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuneman07 View Post

I just dropped 400 on a Ipod touch I don't want to drop more on a GPS. I really just want easy access to maps when I am driving around. It would be so nice to just look at where I am going on a map. I can't believe there is no way to cache data like my computer does ( I can access all maps I looked at online even when offline) and my computer actually has less available hard drive space than my Ipod touch.

I would expect that someone will make that kind of an app for it if the SDK allows it.
post #16 of 20
And what happens when you turned into a wrong street??
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooleye View Post

And what happens when you turned into a wrong street??

I do not think it will give some real time update... you missed the turn go back to PODMAP and replay the the POD
post #18 of 20
In reading this release, I don't see how this device would allow for missed turns or other driver error. I think the only real solution is a true GPS.

Garmin announced the Nuviphone to be released later this year. (http://www8.garmin.com/buzz/nuvifone/) This has the potential to be the best implementation of portable GPS around. I have a Garmin Nuvi 660 and love the thing. I travel the US extensively and after using it for the last 2 years, I can't imagine life without it. I'm a satisfied iPhone owner, but if Garmin can replicate their usual accuracy and ease-of-use in a phone form factor, they'll have my business.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BocaBoy View Post

In reading this release, I don't see how this device would allow for missed turns or other driver error. I think the only real solution is a true GPS.

Garmin announced the Nuviphone to be released later this year. (http://www8.garmin.com/buzz/nuvifone/) This has the potential to be the best implementation of portable GPS around. I have a Garmin Nuvi 660 and love the thing. I travel the US extensively and after using it for the last 2 years, I can't imagine life without it. I'm a satisfied iPhone owner, but if Garmin can replicate their usual accuracy and ease-of-use in a phone form factor, they'll have my business.

Of course GPS is the only real alternative to a physical paper map. The Google maps on iPhone thing is a bit of a joke really.

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post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Of course GPS is the only real alternative to a physical paper map. The Google maps on iPhone thing is a bit of a joke really.

While I have no intention of arguing that a GPS implementation would be better, calling Maps on the phone a joke is so far from the truth that... well its a joke. If you can read street signs and know how to turn right and left then maps on the iPhone is invaluable. It is even more so with the addition of 'Your Here' functionality. Just get directions from 'Current Position' to your destination and you're off.

The other thing I prefer on Google Maps over the GPS's I've used is the search function. The Google implementation seems much more complete. If I'm looking for a given hotel - e.g. Raddisson or such Google seems much more reliable.
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