Here Come Location Based Services

The Engadget Interview: Christian Bubenheim, Magellan Consumer Products

How accurately do the GPS devices pinpoint your location?

We support an augmented GPS system that is accurate to within one meter, or three feet.

How would Magellan devices be useful for us city slickers?

In addition to the map, there’s also a Point of Interest database pointing out restaurants, bars, museums, hotels, parks, parking lots. Also, when you park your car, you can leave a marker to remember where your car is. You can then have the system guide you back to your car.

What does the future hold in store for GPS devices? Does Magellan have any plans to extend beyond GPS into other markets or services?

There are a couple of things that will emerge over the next couple of years. The main one is the classic consumer electronics drivers: As volume goes up, cost goes down, innovation becomes more rapid. The price for GPS chips is dropping dramatically. All mobile devices will be able to integrate GPS very cost-efficiently. Cell phones will be the most important driver of GPS adoption over the next couple of years. As the carriers roll out services and provide information based on location, that will be a major new segment that is opening up.

GPS capabilities on cell phones will be the initial platform for rollout of location-based services. These services will rapidly transform into a pervasive 'information overlay' or 'metadata layer' enmeshed with our physical environment. This metadata layer of location information will necessitate a head-up display. The information needs to be overlayed onto your regular field of view in order to have the most value. If you're touring Rome or somewhere, you don't want to keep looking down at your handheld to see information that may make your tourism experience richer. It defeats the whole purpose of being somewhere new and interesting to be pulling something out of your pocket and moving into the shadows so you can stare down at some device and have its display be readable. Location-based services are the precursors to consumer augmented reality. I will be watching their development closely...!