In my recent annual trip back to Australia, my brother went shopping for a GPS navigation device for his car. It was interesting to see the plethora of available options these days, including the ones that "speak" to you telling you that you just missed your turn for example. Indeed, even my latest blackberry has a GPS built in to it and I use it when sailing Argo III around Lake Ontario.
One thing that bothers me though is that using them while driving could be a serious distraction - worse than using a cell phone I'd suspect. However, the folks at Virtual Cable came up with this neat idea that should make navigation easier - have your navigation system plot a line on the windscreen using HUD technology that shows you what direction to drive (via springwise.com).
It would be cool to extend this idea to boats. You could:
- use information from your Radar to show nearby ships, perhaps making the ones you are on a collision course with colored red and flashing
- superimpose land mass outlines (i.e. where the coast line is) for low visibility environments - at night or in fog for example
- show where harbours and channels are, based on GPS coordinates
- plot an indicator over significant landmarks such as mountains showing their name and elevation
- incorporate forward looking sonar feedback (imagine seeing a whale spouting or a submerged cargo container as the icon).