Mar 24 AT 6:02 PM Christopher Earle 3 Comments

a2b: Point to Point Directions for Android Handheld Users

Have you ever been staying at a hotel in an unfamiliar city and wanted to go exploring without worrying about finding your way back? Have you ever walked by a shop or restaurant and thought “Wow, I’d really like to come back here?” Do you walk or bike and sometimes wonder whether you might have turned left when you should have turned right?

If so, a2b from Froogloid is the package for you.

Now where did I put my car keys?

Now where did I put my car keys?

a2b is a GPS mapping and direction package for the Android based T-Mobile G1. It is incredibly simple to use. It is also an incredibly powerful GPS mapping tool that integrates well with the G1’s Google mapping and direction application. If you want to send a location to someone else, it also works well with the G1’s email application. Locations can even be sent out using Twidroid.

The app’s power comes from its simplicity. On opening the app, you have two options: Store Location and Find Location. To store a location, your hotel, for example, simply touch the large Store Location button. Three tabs across the top allow you to attach a photograph or a voice note to the record of the location that you wish to store. a2b puts a thumbnail of the image next to the address in the Find Location list, so it’s a really good idea to take a quick snapshot for visual reference. Touch the Save My a2b Location at the bottom of the screen to save the location.

Once you have a saved location, it is really easy to find your way back to that location. If you can’t quite remember how to get back to your hotel, start a2b and touch the large Find Location button. Select the destination location. Your present location is indicated by an “A” on the screen. The destination is shown as “B.” A line connects the two points. A handy compass in the top left of your screen shows the direction you are facing. Another arrow in the top right shows the direction of your destination. A very handy feature for people on foot or bicycle is the distance between the two points shown, in both metric and imperial units, at the top right of the screen.

Getting From A to B was Never Easier.

Getting From A to B was Never Easier.

If you’d like walking or driving directions, pressing the Menu button brings up the option to get directions from the native Google Maps app. You can also send the location via the “email location” selection. You can also select either Map or Satellite display from this menu. Satellite might be handy if you didn’t take a picture of your destination when you saved the destination location.

Although the native Google Maps app is very powerful and quite handy, this acts as a very powerful extension of your phone’s built-in GPS. For travelers, people who bicycle or walk for transportation, or anyone curious to see the relationships between various points in a city, this app is a definite must have.

Christopher Earle has been working as a freelance writer since 1987. He currently lives in the Denver, Colorado area with his wife, son, and their two cats. He has been a fan of open source software for many years.

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