Exploring the geoWeb

TOUR GUIDE: Garmin's device taps GPS data for locations, and the Web to let you know what's going on there.

IN THE LOOPT: This service lets you tell your friends where you are but overwrites with each entry, so no one can go back and establish a trail.

OpenStreetMap

A free, user-generated wiki world map, created and updated by users around the world. Coverage is spotty ' London is pretty thoroughly mapped, for example, but only a couple of streets are identified in Boston ' and the toolset is limited.

http://www.openstreetmap.org

Garmin Nuvi680

A car navigation system from Garmin uses Global Positioning System data to plot your route and direct you to your goal, but it also connects to the Web via MSN Direct to give you constantly updated information about everything from movie times to the price of gas at various locations.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=137&pID=8579

Leica Titan

Although the interface for Leica Titan, from Switzerland-based geospatial vendor Leica Geosystems AG, looks similar to Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth, Titan focuses on providing channels for data sharing that the other applications lack. With the program's Instant Messenger utility, users can join others' worlds to access data they have published. All data is stored on the owner's computer rather than on a central server, and each publisher controls access to his or her world.

http://gi.leica-geosystems.com/LGISub1x447x0.aspx

Loopt

Offers a cell phone-based Web service that lets users track one another and share information about locations. You can set the program to alert you when a designated friend comes within a certain geographical range, and you can broadcast your location to friends to join you.

http://www.loopt.com

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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