After rising bright and early we set off from Europort to the city. I don't know Amsterdam very well and there were some places I wanted to visit. Fortunately I had a plan.
I was going to use my Nokia 770 (a neat little web-terminal thing that I bought cheap a week or so ago) and its matching sat-nav, which was fully loaded with Netherlands maps and had all my destinations carefully favourited. All I had to do was kick the thing into life when we arrived and never be lost. Well, that was the plan.
On the bus as we approached the city I fired up the 770 and the GPS device. Because of the rather stupid software it seems you have to pair the GPS device and the 770 each time you try to use it. On first attempt the navigation software found a Bluetooth device called "Dave" and then crashed. After a reset, and with the faint inklings of foreboding I tried again. This time I found a veritable plethora of Bluetooth partners who all wanted to talk to me. One was called "Land Rover". I looked out of the bus window and sure enough, there it was in the traffic alongside us. Of course the GPS device was nowhere to be found.
By now we had arrived at our dropping off point. My plan was to add this as a favourite so we could easily find our way back to the bus, but things were not going well. The GPS device finally paired with the 770 and told me I was standing in a canal before losing the signal. Not good.
I tried to find my favourites and set the destination, but of course I couldn't see the screen in daylight and the stylus was a pain to use. By now the patience of number one wife was starting to fray a bit. We started walking in order to try and get a better signal and now the direction indicate pointed back the way we'd come and it started to rain on the screen. So that was game over for Mr. Satnav. As I put the whole thing back in my pocket I heard a muffed "At the next intersection turn left.." We bought a map (price 2.5 euros) and used that very successfully for the rest of the day.
The good news is that the GPS device happily paired with my Smartphone and works a treat with Live Search (but I was not going to pay roaming GPRS prices to find my way around Amsterdam).
I'm going to upgrade the Nokia software first chance I get, with a bit of luck this should improve things.
Of course, I'd taken the cameras.
There are more pictures on Flickr.
I think I may have been a bit harsh on the 770 SatNav. Everything happened in the order I described, but I don't think you have to do the pairing thing every time. I tried it again and it just worked.
Testing with Live Search navigation on the Smartphone has left me thinking that for foot navigation a GPS is not as good as for car. In a car the software knows that you are on a road, and can make deductions using direction of movement about where you are. The fact that you are moving at speed probably helps remove some of the noise from the location values. On foot things get a lot more tricky, particularly if there are buildings around which block the signal. Having said all that, if I go anywhere in the UK I will now take the GPS puck along with the Smartphone, and probably the 770 as well.