My Track turns Android phone into GPS device

From CNET Google on Thursday released an application called My Track that turns the T-Mobile G1 Android phone into a full-fledged GPS receiver.

The free software can record tracks showing where you've been, display them on a map, show elevation gains and losses, and share data with various online services.

As a geography buff, I have to confess that this one of the first applications that actually got me excited. I carry a Garmin standalone GPS device so I can geotag my photos and keep track of my trips, but My Tracks one-ups it in several ways.

For one thing, it's a phone and therefore much more likely to be toted at all times, not just on dedicated occasions. But more important, it's an Internet-enabled device, which means it shows my position on Google Maps--either map mode or satellite image mode, not just the feeble and expensive Garmin Maps--as long as it can find the Internet. Track data can be saved not just as a GPX file, but also uploaded and shared with Google Maps. And statistics can be uploaded into Google Docs spreadsheets or even Twittered (for example using the Twidroid application).

In a blog post announcing My Tracks, Dylan Casey, a Google product manager and former professional cyclist, said the software began as a 20 percent project--the ideas Google lets its engineers pursue when not working on their official job assignments.

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