by Oliver Yu
It was a 1 hour 20 minute flight and probably less than an hour for web surfing time, so I figured the cost wasn't worth it.
But I connected to the WiFi anyway and Southwest lets you go to their mobile website, track their flights.
Well, earlier in the day, I read that GoogleMaps for iOS6 made its debut and had downloaded it.
So I figure I'd kill five minutes checking it out. So I'm at 40,000 feet, and it slowly dawns on me that I can zoom in, zoom out and pan to wherever I want in the world. So I tried to see if GoogleMaps could find my location... and it did.
The GoogleMaps App must be getting data across the Southwest WiFi. And since Southwest blocks port 80 (i.e. so you cannot surf the internet without paying them their 5 bucks), GoogleMaps must be working off some other port.
Here's me somewhere over a field in California's central valley:
Here's me a few seconds later:
And I'm clear in another field a few seconds after that.
This GoogleMaps visualization was so cool because I could see what the land actually looked like below (in Satellite mode). I could fly as high or as low as I wanted to (zoom level).
For the remaining 20 minutes of the flight, I was no longer a weary software consultant in seat 17E... I was Superman blazing across the Central Valley fields.
Too bad we had to put away our electronic devices in preparation for landing, otherwise I'd have watched it the whole way.
Great job, Google Maps... Well done.
- Why Google Maps for iOS6 is Better Than The Old Google Maps.
- GoogleMaps for iOS6 is Number 1 Download - CNBC