Car Security







Mapping Mania at CTIA

Why splurge for a dedicated GPS mapping system when you can get the driving guidance you need in your cell phone?

NEW ORLEANS -- Could GPS mapping be the killer app for data-enabled cell phones? Judging from a proliferation of products and services at the CTIA Wireless 2005 show here, a lot of people seem to think so.

The contenders in the burgeoning cell phone (and connected PDA) market for mapping, directions, and other location-based services range from mighty America Online, whose Mapquest subsidiary introduced both location and traffic information services, to smaller and less familiar companies such as Televigation and ALK Technologies.

Maps and directions are, of course, nothing new for Mapquest: Its previously launched Mapquest Mobile service lets you get Mapquest maps on your cell phone for about $4 a month.

At the CTIA Wireless 2005 show, however, Mapquest announced its first service for a GPS-enabled phone (right now, only certain Nextel phones can play). Called Mapquest Find Me, it will identify the phone's location on a map, allow you to share that information with others, and let you search for businesses (such as restaurants or hotels) based on proximity. You can store locations for future use, and get turn-by-turn voice directions from your current location to a stored location or nearby business.

Mapquest Find Me costs $4 a month if you already have a data plan with Nextel, or $6 if you don't.

Mapquest's other new service, Mapquest Traffic, is aimed at commuters who can benefit from real-time traffic information. The $3-a-month service provides both text about potential traffic problems in some 90 major urban areas, and maps showing their location.

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