updated 12:45 am EDT, Thu July 7, 2011
Turn-by-turn GPS plus augmented reality
Turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps are a common tool found in the App Store; however, TapNav looks to build on existing standards by incorporating augmented reality. Unlike other GPS applications, TapNav forgoes any built-in maps and instead uses a live feed from the iPhone's camera. Large AR discs are placed on top of the video feed, providing users with a visual path to follow. Standard voice directions are also featured, along with a fully tap-based interface and customizable gadgets.
While TapNav is far from perfect, it does look to address the need for improved navigational tools in an interesting way. Following maps in unfamiliar areas can often be difficult, especially at night or when visibility is low. The visual disc system employed by TapNav allows users to see exactly which way the roads will bend or curve, reducing the need to guess based on a drawn map.
The developers, mSonar, have also shown great interest in further developing the software, with the promise of several new features including lane departure detection that can warn a driver when they stray out of their lane; an improved interface; voice recognition for user interactions, and a number of social elements.
TapNav can be purchased in the App Store for $3. Current buyers will receive another 60 days of service without charge by updating the app to version 1.0.1; the routing and navigation services will continue to be free for the life of the product, though turn-by-turn and voice navigation will eventually require a subscription.