Google Maps (with maps, satellite and aerial images, and street view) still doesn't do voice navigation. It has text navigation, but if you don't have someone to read the instructions for you then using text navigation while driving is a very effective way to smash your car into something.
Google Maps can overlay its maps and aerial pictures with Wikipedia entries, public transport lines, and traffic information.
That traffic information has to come from somewhere, and if you happen to drive around in the USA then the traffic info comes from you. If you're outside the USA, traffic info in Google Maps is still useless, if it exists at all.
When you're stuck in a traffic jam your GPS knows that you're not moving, and this allows Google Maps to send your lack of movement to Google Maps HQ. This may help other people to avoid the traffic jam that you got yourself stuck into.
If you're speeding along an empty highway your GPS tells Google Maps that the road is clear, so sharing this information will send more cars your way.
You may feel this invades your privacy, so if you don't want Google Maps to track your movements just keep "My Location" in Google Maps switched off, or use another navigation program. If you want to contribute to Google's traffic analysis, then keep Google Maps with "My Location" running.
• Google Maps (on the fly installer, only works from your phone's built-in web browser)
Ovi Maps is the successor of the old Nokia Maps. The beta test version for touchscreen Nokias works a little better now. It starts a bit faster, search is improved, and the menu features one touch access to content and services like Lonely Planet guides (which cost extra, and which are of much lesser quality than the Lonely Planet books).
But it's still a beta test version, and there are still plenty of bugs. If you just want a version that works you're better off with the old version.
• Ovi Maps beta for Symbian S60 5th ed. touchscreen Nokia phones
• Ovi Maps
• free one week navigation trial
• archived copy of the old Nokia Maps 2.0 which lets you try navigation and guides without limits
• get Ovi Maps without having to use Nokia Maps Updater
• Nokia Map Loader Alternative: get maps for Nokia Maps and Ovi Maps directly, works on Mac and Linux too
Wednesday, 2 September 2009