Saturday, March 22, 2008

How to use your PSP as a makeshift atlas?

The details of this tips are going to vary slightly depending upon the firmware in your PSP and whether you're going to be doing this with an active Internet connection or for offline viewing.

I've divided this hack into sections that cover online or offline map viewing, so feel free to jump ahead to the section that you're interested in.

Because neither Google Local (formerly known as Google Maps) nor MapQuest currently work in the Wipeout Pure browser, the online section is a Version 2.0 only hack. If you're following the offline section of this hack, there will be virtually no differences between PSPs running different versions of the firmware.

If you're not sure which version of the firmware you are running, navigate to Settings System Settings, hit the X button, select System Information, and hit the X button again.

For this section of the hack, I'm going to walk you through connecting to MapQuest ( using the PSP browser on a PSP running Version 2.0 of the firmware.

If your PSP is running an earlier version of the firmware, you should skip ahead to the next section, since neither MapQuest nor Google Maps currently loads in the Wipeout Pure browser.

As of the writing of this hack, Google Maps is still in beta, and doesn't currently work with either the PSP browser or the Wipeout Pure browser. The placeholder page that says that these browsers are not compatible with Google Maps, however, loads nicely and easily in both browsers, so there is a chance this will change soon. If PSP compatibility should happen, the basics that I am covering here with MapQuest can be easily translated over to Google Maps.

Launch your PSP browser and go to MapQuest's main page ( Once the page loads, scroll down to the address entry fields and enter an address.

Once the map page loads, you can zoom in or out as you need, using the default MapQuest functions. Once you have the correct map loaded, place the pointer over the image and hit the Triangle button to bring up the PSP browser interface. Use the directional keypad to highlight the File icon (the one in the bottom-left corner of the screen), hit the X button, select Save Image from the menu that appears, and hit the X button again.

Make sure that the Destination is set to /PSP/PHOTO/ (you may also want to rename the file's name to something manageable under the File Name field). To change either of these values, use the directional keypad to select the field you need to change and hit the X button. Make your changes, and then hit the X button again. Once you are done, select Save and hit the X button. A progress bar will appear to let you know how much of the file has downloaded. Once the download is complete, the screen will read "Save completed." Hit the O button to return to the PSP browser.

The image you downloaded is now available for viewing on your PSP. Leave the PSP browser and navigate to Photo. Scroll down the list of photos until you find the image you have just downloaded. Select the image and load it on your PSP's screen. Then you can hold down the Square button and use the analog stick to zoom in on the map, and then release the Square button and continue using the analog stick to pan and scan around the map.

If you need directions, use MapQuest's features to get the full directions on the screen, and use the instructions I just covered to grab each of the pictures involved (there is a Map link next to each numbered step) in the directions. Save each file in sequence: leg01,gif, leg02.gif, leg03.gif, etc. This way, you can easily track each leg of the trip while you are on the move. Alternately, select Print for what would be the version of the page that you would print out, were you on a computer. There will be two images of your trip listed: one overview of the entire trip and a detail of the last section. Save both of these images.

You need to grab the text of the directions for viewing while you are on the go and away from a WiFi signal, the best way to do this is to use MapQuest's email feature to email a copy of the directions to a web-accessible email address. Click on the email link and enter TO: and FROM: email addresses (both of which are required). You will be taken to a confirmation page once you are done.

Once your email has been sent, navigate to your web-based email account, log in, and place the cursor over the link that would open the email in a new window. Hit the Triangle button, navigate to the File menu, hit the X button, select Save Link Target, and hit the X button. Rename the file to something such as "directions" and save it to /PSP/COMMON/.

Now when you are out and about, you can launch the PSP browser and type file:/psp/common/directions in the address bar to bring up the text directions you saved. Bookmark this file for easy launch, and you can continually replace it when you need new directions to new places.

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