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Tue Nov 28, 2006 - 10:28 AM EST - By Tim Hillebrand


Earthcomber will turn your pocket pal into a personal travel assistant and navigator with or without GPS for FREE! The download is free, your personal account is free, and it�s free to use. It works on Palms and Pocket PCs.

Perhaps you are wondering how such a useful, full-featured product can be offered free to all users. The way the company stays afloat is to sell advertising. It�s a good deal for both independent and national brand businesses too because you can get listed for as little as $35 per year. Earthcomber will put your pizza parlor in front of a customer who actually is seeking your product. The other revenue stream for Earthcomber is the sale of "Spot Guides," which we�ll discuss below.

If you own a business and want to find out more, follow this link:

After downloading and installing Earthcomber, you must set up your preferences by indicating maps that you want downloaded to your device memory, which can be to main or expanded memory. Then you must tell Earthcomber your interests to include as well. The major categories include auto needs, business, essentials, fun times, let�s eat, my day off, night life, outdoors, personal & pet care, public places, shopping, and touring. Under each of these categories you may select from a sub-list. For instance, under Public Places you can check off airport, bus station, church, college, elementary, high school, mall, middle-junior high, Post office, shopping center, stadium-arena, or train station. You can also specificy for listing to show the range in miles from your present position. You can add or subtract from your list of preferences at any time.

If you are in a hurry, you can simply allow Earthcomber to supply a list of standard favorites. Or you can use the favorites Wizard to speed you through the process.

When you first start using Earthcomber, the opening screen allows you to set your location using GPS or by indicating it on a map.

Earthcomber offers a wide array of �Spot Guides.� These guides can vary from fashion finders to detailed itinerary maps to historic tour guides. The three I have installed are Movies on the Move, Lewis and Clark Expedition, and Find a Grave. The first two are free, and the third one costs under ten dollars. The most expensive Spot Guide is about $15. With the purchase of a Spot Guide, you get free access to all the Earthcomber maps to download from the Website.

The Movies on the Move Guide is a handy reference for selecting a film to see by title from an index, the box office top ten, or from a list of new releases. Tapping on the movie title brings up its details with a synopsis. It will then give you directions to the theater, if you need them. It can also assist in selecting a movie to watch on TV or to rent.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition is a marvelous historical tour guide. I live in Idaho near where the expedition traversed the state with the help of the Nez Perce. While I have visited most of the sites mentioned in their journals, I have learned some new things from this fascinating spot guide and look forward to retracing their incredible journey from beginning to end one day.

The screen shot above illustrates a sample page of the guide with a site description. Notice the Information, Description, and Map tabs. As always, Earthcomber stands ready to guide you to your desired destination with or without GPS.

Find a Grave on the Web averages 25,000 hits a day. Now, thanks to Earthcomber, there is a mobile version that will alert you and guide you to over 9000 graves of the famous and infamous all over the country. There is an informative description of the inhabitant of each gravesite with links to further biographic information.

You can search for sites by region, claim to fame, date, or name. You can locate all famous graves within a certain radius or just graves of a certain characteristic such as famous actors or murderers. A fame ranking from 1-5 designates the relative fame of graves. Earthcomber also lets you create a plog (map log) of your favorite locations on a map that you can save and share.

I guess I shouldn�t be surprised at the paucity of famous graves in Idaho with a population of fewer than one million, but at least it�s a manageable number. Idaho has five times more famous graves than Nevada. If this were a contest for the most famous graves, California would be the winner by a large measure. It must be all those dead actors who are responsible for escalating the numbers.

I plan to use this storehouse of information as an entertaining and informative source for geocaching on my travels around the country.

This fascinating guide should satisfy the ghoulish nature in anyone. It�s a perfect gift or adjunct to your bag of Halloween trick or treat. It will set you back $9.95, which is not a lot for so much information and functionality.

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