Trimble debuts outdoor adventure GPS apps

Discovering, sharing trails comes to mobile devices using GPS, topography

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
November 21, 2011
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Most innovators launching new mobile applications are vibrant young startups, flush with new capital, but one outdoor adventuring site has been a pioneer in the industry since 1978.

Trimble, names after its founder Charlie Trimble, launched  Monday mobile phone and tablet aplications for it GPS-based service to aid in planning trips and otherwise navigating the great outdoors.

Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) has introduced the world to multiple marine and land-based products to help travelers stay on course and now wants the same precision for those carrying mobile devices.

The new suite of free applications from the Sunnyvale-based company is available for Android-compatible phones, iPhones and iPads and are all free and can share trip-planning information between devices if authorized.

"Our new ecosystem of apps and digital maps covers a full range of navigation needs for outdoor enthusiasts—from planning a trip at home or in the coffee shop to finding remote forest roads or campsites while in the outdoors," Rich Rudow, general manager of Trimble Outdoors, said in a statement. "The new apps offer best-in-class topographic and aerial maps, and tools to answer the specific demands of hikers, off-roaders and other outdoor enthusiasts."

How do the apps work

The iPad app is best for scouting trails, parks, viewing backcountry, mapping out campsites and other outdoor trip planning.

The app is called Trimble Outdoors MyTopo Maps and allows users to search through more than 10 million trails, lakes, rivers and towns.

The mobile phone application, called Trimble Outdoors Navigator, works especially well for finding popular trails, updating routes and tracking your hikes or movement.

By using the application, one can discover new trails or paths near them and see photos that others have taken on the route or at certain markers of interest.

One benefit of this app is that no cellular or data signal is needed at all times, which is a concern in rough terrain. Instead, the app will still show the rout you chose, the distance you have traveled, the elevation gain or lost, and the speed you traveled.

Then once you gain you cell or data signal, you can upload pictures, audio or video, create personal notes and upload your trip to Facebook or YouTube.

What's refreshing

It is great to see such an established technology group including mobile applications in their business. Trimble is best known for developing physical products such as GPS receivers and chips for laptops and PDAs.

Over the last year, Trimble has a acquired several smaller technology and mapping companies, such as Dynamic Survey Solutions, MyTopo and Yamei Electronics.

While many of its physical products are best known by avid outdoors people and surveyors of land and sea, these new applications could help make Trimble a more well-known name for the everyday consumer that likes to explore the terrain on the weekends, and could introduce them to some of their physical GPS products.

Trimble's stock (NASDAQ: TRMB) opened on Monday at 42.60.


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