Today is the second installment in my Business Apps series – Navigation Assistant needed. The first one in the series, Personal Assistant needed, can be found here.
In my busy business day, I average 240 miles a week. With so much traffic, construction and confusion, anything that assists and/or guides me is a must have in my book.
Two navigation apps that are a part of my everyday business productivity are:
Navigation Maps – Google Maps & Waze
At home, Google Maps has always been my source for getting directions. Google Maps went live in February 2005 and later that year came to mobile phones. As phones became smarter and smarter, I finally adopted using my “smarter” phone instead of a GPS-enabled device like Garmon. Unknown to me, Waze came into being in 2008. I found it at the end of 2012. In June 2013 Waze became part of the Google Family.
So Why Waze?
Waze is a different type of navigation app. What Facebook did for communication, Waze is doing for online traffic. Waze is a community-based traffic app that is GPS-enabled, much like a Garmon system. Where Waze differs is in the real-time communications that happen with the help of its consumer base. Wazers, a user of the Waze app, communicates any problems and events as they happen. Notifications about road hazards, traffic jams, accidents, police car sightings, gas prices, roadblocks due to parades/festivals, etc. and saying ‘Hello’ to another passing Wazer, can easily be done with the Waze app.
What hooked me immediately was the Points system and Road Goodies. A points system was implemented to reward active users. Who doesn’t like a little competition? Currently, I am a Waze Warrior – I am in the top 10% of high scorers in my state. I think that’s pretty sweet! Examples of events you can get bonus points for include:
Reporting problems and/or events, such as ‘Your first (accident, road hazard, etc.) report’, ‘First report of Map Problem’ or ‘Drive 500 miles within a week’. As you gain points you can see your Rank online.
Shortly after I joined, there was a major map update. To my surprise and delight, the map was filled with Holiday icons. I found when you drove over them you get additional bonus
points rewards. It was like playing Pac-Man in my vehicle. LOL! The wonderful consequence was that, while I got caught up in discovering the Road Goodies, I discovered some new areas in my neighborhood.
Waze has several features I had not discovered until I wrote this blog. Here are some of its best features:
Support for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone
Event Notification – Form to advise communities of events that will include road closures
Live Maps, World Availability & Languages
Waze Map is constantly in a state of movement/action, not stale for a moment. Much like Google Maps, you can use the Live Map online. Because of its immediacy, there are maps in every country, with approximately 13 countries considered to be fully mapped. The other countries will become fully mapped as Wazers are “born” in those Countries and become active users.
This makes one of the best features a standout, the ability for users/Wazers to edit the maps, drive/record new roads, log major construction that affects all commuters. Along with this is Event Notifications Form – let the world know that your street will be closed down for a BLOCK PARTY (get a block party image.) To assist the many many Wazer, Waze is also available in many foreign languages, with more being added.
Waze app is currently available for the 3 big mobile platforms: iPhone, Android, and Windows phones.
Because Waze is community-driven, it wouldn’t be complete without the Waze Community Forums, Waze Support, the Waze Wiki and Waze for Developers; especially with the fact that you can earn rewards for participating in some of these sites.
Waze and Wazers are found several places online:
TripLog GPS Mileage Tracker – for Android, iPhone & Windows phones
I am lazy if it is not easy to do. I know myself; I am not likely to do it – even if it is something I should do. Mmm, those statements can really be about almost anything. Today they apply to keeping up with my mileage for tax purposes.
Prior to finding TripLog, my recordkeeping for this was very lackluster and involved a lot of approximation. Yea, yea – I see all you tax people cringing.
I can’t even say I had a mad powerful desire to find something to help me either. But TripLog showed up at the most convenient time. I was in the right mindset, ready to tangle with it, to put another aspect of my business in perspective. In alignment…
Since starting to use TripLog, I have used it nearly every business day without fail. Why? How… did I go from “if it wasn’t easy to do” to doing this everyday I wouldn’t be doing it? Well that is the beauty of TripLog, because it’s Bluetooth & power plug in enable, it pretty much ask me, if I want to log it. A few quick clicks and I’m good-to-go. Same when I get out of the vehicle, it wants to know if I’m done driving or not. It even recognizes when I am home.
- Auto starts
- Assign activities – to accounts or task
- Add images attachments, think – any expenses that could be charged back to client
- Add Fuel & Expenses tickets
- Add notes, tag trips
- Android shows full logs reports
- Auto syncs or backups trips
Online Web Dashboard
- Live map of drive trips – great for keeping track of fleet drivers
- Reports, customizable
- Assign vehicles as a fleet or to an individual
- Add fuel and other expenses
- Schedule service reminders
- State-by-state mileage tracking
TripLog does have Free-to-Try option, but to get the goodies you do have to upgrade for a paid account. At $9.99 one-time fee it was worth it for the extras.
Yearly Global sync is $20 for 1st Driver and $40 for other drivers.
You’re probably asking now, Gina how do you find all these cool apps? I can’t say that I’m on the edge of discovery; usually someone else has beaten me to the punch. Every once in awhile, I find a new discovery. Usually the case is I’m wondering, ‘Is there a simpler way of doing this?’ or maybe ‘Can I find a simpler way of doing this that does not cost me any or much money?’ I just grab a browser window and let Google Search do the rest. Most times someone else has wondered the same thing and blogged about it. Maybe that is how you found me.
I would love to hear if you use Waze or TripLog. If not what are you using? If you are still using a Garmon-type navigation, what keeps you with them over using your phone?