07-07-2012 10:06 AM
Part 1: What a Deal!
Last day, a local game store held a sale, and had Team Ico Collection for $20. Not wanting to spend any tokens, I looked up in Google Maps on how to walk there. I can walk long distances fairly well, but memorizing a route seems to be a hit and miss and I then take wrong turns and get lost.
I remembered my WiFi Vita had "Maps" application, and I then punched in my Home Address and the Address of the store. Sure enough, a route was plotted. It was fairly doable, 6 kilometers away (3.7mi). It had a lot of routes that I am unfamiliar though. I thought it would be a good time to test this out.
Once the Map is loaded, I started walking.
Part 2: The March!
At first, I noticed the Vita tries to acquire my location, however it was about 20-30 meters off (65-98ft). The WiFi Positioning System of the Vita uses WiFi routers around the city, and is made by Google Streetview Cars driving around Toronto, tagging each WiFi point with a location.
As I left my router's range, I was quite skeptical of the practicality, usefulness or accuracy of WPS at first, but as I walked to the busier part of town, the abundance of routers around me caused the accuracy to snap back to 2-3 meters (6-9 ft). This showed as an arrow on the Vita's screen, showing my location, direction and heading. So far, so good.
I then tried turning, and the arrow direction responded almost instantly. Correcting course, and the arrow indicating my location aligned again to the route.
I thought it was going to be nice to use the map to plan shortcuts between buildings and through open fields. As I strayed from the course, the indicator of the unit showed me moving away from the purple line. My plan was to cut through the library and rejoin the line at an unfamiliar spot.
I put my Vita on Standby Mode (tap power button) and put it in my bag while I walked through shortcuts.
Sure enough, I missed my turn, walked too far into areas I haven't walked before, and now I'm lost. I pulled the unit out of the bag, and brought it up out of standby. The Maps app continued like nothing was wrong, and surely enough, using the visual aid of the map and my approximate location, I was able to turn tail and correct my course.
Now, there was a long stretch of road separating me and the store. I looked at the map and started walking. Using the Vita's List of Directions and the visual aid of the map (which I noticed jumps accuracy from time to time) I was able to get off at the right intersection and into a neighborhood. Negotiating twisty turns was a breeze with being able to check which way you are facing relative to the route.
At long last, after three months of waiting to grab the game, I walked into the store.
Part 3: Test Notes
1. The Vita Requires a Data Connection when plotting a route, but once a route has been plotted, you can disconnect and then walk the route without a Data Connection.
2. The Accuracy of the WPS system is inferior to GPS, however it is fairly accurate during my tests.
3. I didn't need to connect to the WiFi points during my walk. It seems that the mere reception of the WiFi signal is all that is needed to calculate the location.
4. Putting the Vita in and out of Standby doesn't seem to affect the Maps app.
5. The Compass works well, showing my heading near-instant as I turn.
6. I would imagine that the 3G-GPS unit would be more accurate for Mapping, not to mention the constant Data Connection would be convenient for frequent travelers.
7. It seems to extrapolate distance from the accelerometer. Walking through the grassy field without a WiFi point in range, the location point did move along with me, albeit erratically. Once a WiFi router went into range, however, the location point's accuracy snapped back up.
8. Walking long distances with improper shoes can cause back pain.
Part 4: Epilogue
I walked into the store.
At long last, after three months of waiting, I can finally get the fabled Team Ico Collection, which my friend really recommended to me... At a low low price of.... Wait... $40!!!!??
I walked out of the store, without the game. I was running around, waving my Vita wildly around the community center to get a WiFi access point. If I can prove that their site has the game for $20, I can prove them that the game is on sale. If not, my efforts are for naught.
Hot, tired and sweaty after being soaked for an hour under 32C (90F) bright sunny heat, I broke down and purchased food and drink from a McDonalds (ugh) so I can use their wireless.
It loaded the store chain's website, and I got the price of the game. $20.
After eating the burger and drinking the cola, I went back to the store with the page loaded on my Vita. After a double-check, they gave me the game for $20.
Here's a screencap of the Maps app while I was walking. I blacked out half of the route and all surrounding landmarks for safety reasons.
The yellow line is the path I walked. Notice I stray from the route but soon correct course.
07-07-2012 04:05 PM
07-08-2012 08:39 AM