GPS navigation: Never get lost again!

Published: January 25, 2012
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Technology will cover everything from a small pan shop to 
the remotest wedding lawn. DESIGN: AMNA IQBAL

Technology will cover everything from a small pan shop to the remotest wedding lawn. DESIGN: AMNA IQBAL

KARACHI: 

The number of Global Positioning System (GPS) users is projected to increase 50% by 2014 and most of this growth will take place in the Asia Pacific.

Inspired with the very projection, TPL Trakker – a subsidiary of TPL Holdings – launched TrakkerNav, a navigation solution for Pakistan, here on Tuesday.

The new product, a joint initiative of Pakistan’s TPL Trakker and South Africa’s Digicore, will provide users with the most comprehensive and detailed map of Pakistan, say officials.

“From a small pan shop at PIDC to the remotest wedding lawn in the city, TrakkerNav will get you everywhere,” CEO of TPL Direct Insurance, another subsidiary of TPL Holdings, Saad Nisar said.

He said about 61 million people are using in-car or personal navigation devices globally, adding this number is projected to cross 91 million by the end of 2014.

There are hardly 400 people in Pakistan using such services, Nisar said, so there is a huge potential for growth.

TrakkerNav, which officials say will mark the start of a new era for road navigation technology in Pakistan, will cover more than 100 cities and major highways. The database also has 800,000 points of interest and will enable house address-based search in all major cities with 3D landmarks.

Sygic, a renowned navigation software provider in Europe serving six million users in 44 countries, is TPL Trakker’s navigation software partner for the product.

Since its soft launch in May 2011, the product has been running in English for in-car devices, portable navigation devices and downloadable applications for iPhone and Android-powered phones and devices. The Urdu version will be launched in three months, Executive Director of TPL Trakker, Ahsan Sarwar, said.

“By 2013, we would like to map every town and city in the country; launch the app in regional languages and add live traffic feeds to the device,” Sarwar said and added they also plan to launch connected navigation for real-time updates by 2013. Sarwar said the product will be available by February 5. Though the cost has not been finalised yet, it will be around Rs12,000. It is a licensed product with unlimited access – a onetime buy, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, TPL Holdings CEO Ali Jameel said there is nothing better than a company like Apple endorsing the product.

For the overall Pakistani downloads from Apple’s app store on January 23, Jameel said, TrakkerNav downloads were higher than that of Angry Birds, a frequently downloaded app.

He said their app remained number one for three weeks on top charts for iPhone apps grossing 8,000-10,000 downloads.

TPL Holdings also announced that it will soon launch two more companies, which are Financial Services and Centre Point.

Ali Jameel hinted that they have found a niche market for the product and the real bread and butter of the company is the insurance and security vehicle tracking services they offer.

“It’s a high-end value-added product,” said security analyst Norbert Almeida who tested the device before it hit the markets.

“I think this will work better for long runs and would work even better upcountry in Punjab where people travel frequently from city to city,” he said.

“It can be of greater use to authorities and I could see tourists using it. It can also be used in reporting crime and by the media to map out crime,” said Almeida.

Trakker Product Manager Mohamed Owais said, “We have people from the armed forces and authorities who have used it personally and have great feedback and we think that working with security authorities would be very lucrative but we don’t have any official agreements at the moment.”

The company claims to have a record of recovering 92 per cent of stolen vehicles fitted with their tracking devices.

In the past, thieves have managed to disable the system with jammers, but now Trakker says they have anti-jammers in the device and if someone tries to remove the device a tampering alert is sent and the car is immediately immobilised.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • khan
    Jan 25, 2012 - 5:30AM

    China has operationalized Beidou GPS system based on their satellites last december for commercial use while India has already placed 3 geo satellites for its indigenous Gagan navigation system currently used by military and civil airlines, and plans to add another 7 by 2015 after which they will have one meter accuracy in commercial GPS for entire subcontinent. Not to forget the superb indigenous Bhuvan satellite imaging software from India that provides similar resolution as Google earth and far more socially relevant data. Thats what I call progress. We are centuries behind these countries… even after 60 years we cant build simple engines for car and trains, forget GPS satellite.

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  • Econ 101 Student
    Jan 25, 2012 - 8:27AM

    can’t compete with google maps which is based I crowd sourcing. For a continuously current system you need to constantly updated system.
    I commend TPL for trying but this is a waste of time in front of Google.

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  • mentelisco
    Jan 25, 2012 - 2:33PM

    promotional story!

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  • A.Khan
    Jan 25, 2012 - 2:34PM

    @khan: If we could not proceed in one technology does not mean that we cannot in any other. Pakistan is far better in communication systems than in manufacturing

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  • Acorn Guts
    Jan 25, 2012 - 2:37PM

    Would like to see how they’ve done the door-to-door routing (if any) given the lack of a unified postal code based addressing protocol within Pakistan. Oh and …

    …By 2013, we would like to map every town and city in the country…

    Yeah, good luck with that.

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  • Lobster
    Jan 25, 2012 - 3:09PM

    @Econ 101 Student:
    tell this to Garmin and TomTom, you need internet access for Google.

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  • Haider
    Jan 25, 2012 - 3:18PM

    what a waste of time! smaprt move is to make use of exisiting system while doing some innovation! till now we cannot launch a simple satellite into orbit from our space, from our own SLV! Today USA stops GPS for our F-16s and there we go!

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  • AK
    Jan 25, 2012 - 7:56PM

    Just because you have a GPS doesn’t mean you should let your common sense go to sleep as well. A lot of cars have ended up in a ditch because “GPS told them so”. Please always keep your eyes on the road and watch carefully where the GPS is leading you.

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  • farrukh
    Jan 25, 2012 - 9:00PM

    @Lobster:

    Yeah yeah: you can cache maps on google maps android app. Pakistan smart ban raha hai ? ap kab ban rahey ho? :P

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  • Asif Nizamani
    Jan 25, 2012 - 10:56PM

    @A.Khan: We are far better in communication systems?? India had 3G network 2 years ago, we are yet to have it. India ranks 3rd in internet users, Pakistan is 15th. Both China and India are way way ahead of us.

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  • Ahsan J
    Jan 26, 2012 - 4:48AM

    I use garmin xt on my nokia 5800. why would i pay for this TPL when i can im already using it for free. And how can it be BETTER than Garmin! or Tomtom the leaders in GPS Nav

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  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Jan 26, 2012 - 8:03AM

    @Asif Nizamani:
    Not that I am disagreeing with you but what has the ranking of internet users got to do with being a head. Does that not depend on population ( 1.4 billion Vs 180 million) ? 3G network is soon coming to Pakistan too. Find other reasons

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  • abid
    Feb 1, 2012 - 1:07PM

    @Ahsan J:
    Trakker NAV has comrehensive coverage and turn by turn navigation with house addreses and above 800000 point of interest with 99% accuracy while other application have either poor coverage or oldest maps.
    You can see the difference while using it atleast try once time you will be surprised.

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  • cheebz
    Mar 8, 2012 - 3:49PM

    progessive citizens support local companies… the competition is definetly tight.. however if the local has a competitive solution, then why not support local company?

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