The way in which individuals navigate and obtain directions has evolved drastically since the advent of the smart phone and personal navigation devices. These devices allow users to pinpoint their physical location to within a couple meters of accuracy depending on the signal strength of their device. The software then transposes their location onto a map which grants the user a visual depiction of where they are located. This visualization helps individuals by allowing them to see their proximity to other stores and services they may wish to utilize. Navigation technology has impacted the way individuals carry out their everyday lives. Activities ranging from planning a road trip all the way to finding the closest fast food restaurant have been affected by this increasingly impressive technology.
There are numerous components that encompass the navigation system found in a smart phone or navigation unit; however, there is one key component that supersedes others in importance. The software found in these devices is what allows individuals of all backgrounds to use the technology with simplicity and ease. Wayfinding software is a relatively new form of software that has become increasingly popular given the explosion of Smartphone sales. Strictly speaking this type of software is any kind of software that helps individuals navigate their surroundings. This can range from large scale wayfinding such as what is seen on Google Maps or a navigation program for your local mall and anything in-between. These software solutions are allowing individuals to locate the quickest route to their destination without the hassle of pulling out a map or stopping at a kiosk to ask for directions. Additional advancements in software are allowing more complex route planning which takes into account a variety of environmental factors.
One of the more recent developments in navigation software is the inclusion of real time traffic conditions. Traditionally speaking efficient navigation involved picking the route with the shortest overall distance between your startling location and your destination. Unfortunately this type of route planning fails to account for a variety of factors such as; construction, traffic congestion and weather delays. Advancements in navigation software are currently working toward including real time traffic updates. These updates will feature alternate routes and more accurate arrival time estimates. This would greatly benefit both users as well as emergency first responders who are dispatched to handle accidents. By diverting individuals away from high traffic areas it is hopeful that occurrences of traffic accidents will be reduced. Additionally individuals who respond to the incidents such as police officers and fire fighters will be able to navigate to the incident more expeditiously due to the reduced amount of vehicle traffic. The first responders will also be safer on scene as incoming traffic would be reduced. This is of great importance as traffic is a severe hazard for first responders once they are on scene.
Overall improvements in navigation combined with the ever increasing popularity of smart phones have the capacity to improve the way individuals get from point A to point B. Additionally they can provide reduced response times and increased safety for emergency responders.