How Windows Phone 7 and Bing Maps probably saved our lives

image_6D20AC76We went for a short vacation to Greece and decided to go for a boat-trip for a day by ourselves. A small boat for a small area around some small islands. Because of a very bad map, bad instructions, bad supplies and an error in navigation we ended up in the middle of open sea without fuel. Luckily I could use my Windows Phone to call the rental agency. They would pick us up. But … where were we?

map_thumb_452D874AI mentioned the navigation error, so we thought we were just below a specific island. But they couldn’t find us. We were drifting at (a more and more getting rough) sea for 4 hours and they still couldn’t find us. “Tell us what you see, describe the island you see” … but how to describe an island other than “rocks, trees, and no people or landmarks”. Imagine how we felt: winds picking up, waves getting higher, drifting away, cold, people looking for us but they were unable to find us. And this at the end of the day, so in a few hours the sun would set.

Now, Windows Phone has by default Bing Maps installed combined with use of GPS. To get this to work you need a GPS coordinates and an internet connection to retrieve the maps to show where you are. You need all of that at the same time. At sea we had phone contact most of the time, internet connection through GPRS sometimes. I have no idea how it works with retrieving GPS coordinates. But it didn’t come together until after 4 (long) hours.

I have never been this happy to see Bing Maps on my Windows Phone zoom into the map and show the yellow mark of our location. Immediately I called the guys looking for us and informed them of our location. Finally we were found and rescued!

The guy who picked us up told us we were very, very lucky. We were in open sea and big waves could have tipped our boat over. Big ships could have made waves that would have tipped the boat over. We dropped our anchor just before cliffs of an island (the small one to the right of the blue X) that would have damaged our small boat. The anchor line however was so thin that it could have snapped … and crashed our boat into the rocks of the small island.

So, Windows Phone and Bing Maps probably saved our lives. Talking about user experience …


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