Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wayfinder Earth

Close on the heels of the initial rumours, we now have confirmation of the new 3D Google Earth-like application for Java-enabled mobile phones, called Wayfinder Earth.


Wayfinder Earth

The application supposedly uses a two tiered solution, with a Google Earth-like 3D interface for distant views, dropping to a 2D interface when the user zooms in further.

Of course this new application will probably be seen to be in direct competition with Google's recently announced Google Map Mobile, although that is strictly two-dimensional. So as with Google Earth, which seemed initially to be in competition with the more traditional map sites, but turned out in the end not to be, you have to wonder? Will a 3D interface make as much difference on a phone as it did on the desktop?

Of course the really interesting question has to be what sort of location based awareness will the application support, and how well will it integrate into your PAN and your phone's services? Will it allow automatic cell tagging or geo tagging of photographs, and will you be able to display them on top of the Earth interface? Will it have Bluetooth GPS support? If not, why not? Surely geolocating of data is the point of having the whole of the Earth on your phone, and in your pocket?

If this turns out to be yet another "a map on your phone" I'm going to be disappointed. The Wayfinder Earth site currently consists of a count down timer, with something just over 2 days left to run, they're definitely running in stealth mode. I'm hoping that for once this means they have something up their sleeve apart from their arms...

Update: Digital Geography is carrying a review of the beta release...