[aprssig] Generic Smartphone APRS aps!

Bob Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Tue Jan 25 16:33:10 EST 2011

> Without a mapping application, 
> APRS is virtually useless. 

Well, that sentiment is what pervades Amateur Radio and is why we are still
just a small minority of map voyeurs instead of communicators.  The APRS
channel cannot provide the map tracking continuity that map tracking voyeurs
expect.  Promoting APRS as just a tracking system is a self-defeating dead
end. (and is why we are stuck where we are today with hardly anyone
communicating while mobile anymore because all the repeaters are PL'ed and
there is no easy on-the-fly way to make a contact.

Of course, maps are GREAT to see where all the net participants are
currently located in the VHF RF domain and special events and all kinds of
uses,...  But to fulfill the basic needs of a single national network
channel for establishing immediate communications between users, the map is
not as important as some think.  I assume that most tactical aware hams can
visualize where someone reported as 3.5 miles NW is located relative to the
area.  Same goes if they are 35 miles west, or wherever.

But in my non-ham radio dealings, I guess I have seen a whole lot of folks
who are just basically clueless about spatial awareness and couldn't tell
someone which way is north, or how to get to the nearest Radio shack without
a map.  Asked how far away the Home Depot is, I am amazed that many people
(who know where it is) cannot estimate the distance even within a factor of
2!  Is it a mile away?  Is it 10 miles away?  They just look stunned as if
they have never heard of a "mile" as a unit of distance. "Just go that way
to the McDonalds and turn left."

My earlier list of priorities for implementing APRS was in no way meant to
diminish the value of maps.  But it was to show that the most important and
easiest aspects of APRS as a communications and information distribution
network do not necessarily require maps.

Get the communications built-in first, then add the maps as the icing on the

Bob, Wb4APR

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