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Entertainment mapping tool uses compass and GPS

Work & Lifestyle

We’ve written about several mobile applications to help consumers navigate the world around them, but a new one from UK travel and leisure site Lastminute.com goes a step further by taking advantage of the built-in compass in the T-Mobile G1. Lastminute.com’s nru—short for “near you”—is designed to give users of the Android-powered T-Mobile G1 a narrowly focused and continuously updated view of things to do around them, from bars and restaurants to cinemas and cafes. Users begin by downloading the application from the Android Marketplace—currently, it’s available only to UK consumers. They can then launch it on their G1 anytime they’re looking for something to do, and the technology will show them what almost looks like a radar map indicating entertainment venues nearby. Closer establishments are shown in the center of the map’s field, while those further away are indicated along the outside. A combination of GPS, compass and accelerometers creates an entirely physical interface, so as the user moves and points the phone around in different directions, they see different information. The application gets much of its data from Qype, and for each restaurant, users can even see the deals currently on offer and book a table through Lastminute.com’s fonefood service. A video demo illustrates how nru works. Since T-Mobile’s G1 is the first to include a built-in compass, nru is one of the first of what will likely be a long line of applications to take advantage of the technology. Lots of opportunities here, both for consumers and for businesses wanting to be found. One to experiment with! (Related: Using pictures to give directionsMapping the 24/7 economyNightlife mapping tool uses GPS to reveal hotspots.)

Website: labs.lastminute.com/nru

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