[maemo-users] Google Maps Navigation takes a mobile turn

From: Mark wolfmane at gmail.com
Date: Thu Oct 29 21:13:12 EET 2009
On Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 11:54 AM, Kevin T. Neely
<ktneely at astroturfgarden.com> wrote:
> That really works?  I've been rocking mobile navigation for a couple years
> with Ovi Maps (formerly Nokia Maps), and more recently waze.  The first is
> excellent, the latter very promising.
> I understand that Ovi Maps is not quite ready for primetime on the N900.
> Maybe one of the reasons they postponed the launch?
> K

The Wayfinder Map app that came on the N8x0 is excruciatingly painful
to use for actual navigation. The map data (at least in my area of the
USA) is extremely out of date, and the POI database is severely
lacking. You can't load the whole country at once, only the western or
eastern half, and if you're traveling across the dividing line it
couldn't be any less user-friendly. You can't have more than one map
active at a time, so even though you can add maps at will, navigating
between any two of them is impossible. Trying to enter a destination
is an exercise in futility. If you manually pan the map and place a
"favorite" and use that for your destination the directions are pretty
good and the voice prompts are excellent, but there are so many
obstacles to getting to that point that the app is pretty much useless
for anything but showing you where you currently are. Plus, the app as
shipped is crippled to only show your current location - if you want
navigation you have to pay as much as a whole standalone navigation
device, but you don't get the stability or any of the other strengths
of the standalone devices. All of the other "navigation" apps for the
tablets are works in progress and none of them natively do routing.
Navit claims to, but if it does they've certainly hidden that
functionality well. RoadMap does rudimentary routing, but you have to
create the route manually. If you can't do routing, then you can't do

Neither Ovi nor waze is available for the tablets, and if Ovi is the
phone version of the tablet Map app that it appears to be, I'm less
than impressed. You do have to pay extra to get navigation and it more
than likely uses the same map data. Waze does indeed seem very
promising, but again they are duplicating much of what OpenStreetMap
has been working on for years, and everybody would benefit much more
if they would integrate their technology with OSM instead of striking
out on their own. OSM already has a huge amount of map data, but the
user interface is a PITA and they would greatly benefit from an app
exactly like waze.

I don't own a smartphone, but Android 2.0 may be what changes my mind
on the matter. Even if I could afford an N900 I wouldn't risk it at
this point. Maybe if they are still being produced and supported in 2
or 3 years I'll consider it. My mobile mapping experience thus far has
been with PDA, Tablet and Laptop map/navigation software, and I have
yet to find an application - even the expensive ones - for any of
those that is in the same league as even the worst standalone GPSr.
The usability of even my piece of junk TomTom is light years beyond
anything I've tried that wasn't a dedicated unit.

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