Never Get Lost: Map Apps You Can Trust

Never Get Lost: Map Apps You Can Trust

Jason Rodway
Jan 16, 2013

Google Maps has returned to iOS and the great Maps app debacle of 2012 has finally mellowed. Perhaps premature and overly ambitious, many have ditched the built-in map back to Google's trusted geographic guidance. But there are plenty of other mobile mapping options for iOS , Android, and Windows Phone devices vying to help navigate by car, foot, or public transportation. Faced with so many options, how many are reliable? Here are a few suggestions that won't steer you the wrong way.


Left: Maps + Street View - Right: Waze

Maps + Street View
If you're the type who wants the 'best of both worlds', Maps + Street View provides both Google and Apple's maps in one app. It works like the classic Google app you're accustomed to, with drop pins to formulate directions from point A to B. The inclusion of street view is the icing on the cake. $1

Smartphones are a great alternative to GPS navigators since mobile devices kill several birds with one stone: navigation, calls, music, media, email, gaming. One of the best apps for step-by-step voice guided instructions while driving is Waze, a free app that also informs of impending traffic situations, gas prices and what's nearby for food or hotels, this app turns driving into an overhead game of sorts, complete with cute icons notifying what others have already reported ("watch out, cop hiding past underpass", "truck on fire at interchange"). Pacled with helpful to help you avoid slowdowns, the amazing interface is bested by an appealing price: free! Free - Also available for Android


Left: Google Maps - Right: Locus

Google Maps
What can I say about Google Maps that you don't already know? Not only is it great for navigating on foot ,but the Google Maps app has turn by turn instructions when you're on the road, public transit, and biking directions, live traffic information and a new 3D building mode. Free - Also available for iOS

For those who like to travel off the beaten path, Locus emphasizes off-road mapping while also providing traditional urban directions. Geocachers and hikers will love its tracking features that mark your treks through natures various landmarks. Locus has access to many mapping services and is great for driving or walking directions with additional helpful functions like pinning your parked car. Free ($5 for Pro)

Windows Phone

Left: gMaps Pro - Right: Bingle Maps

gMaps Pro
An essential app for your Windows Phone handset if you love Google Maps is gMaps Pro. It utilizes all the features that Google Maps offers from Latitude to directions in a presentable, clean and easy to use interface. I personally love the layers options which displays various overheads above the map for street, satellite, traffic, bike, weather and more. $2

Bingle Maps
Bingle Maps uses both Google and Bing maps for more variety. The tried and true functions of searching for addresses, setting pins and getting directions are all here including some extras such as sharing pins by SMS or email, favorite pins, bicycling mode and customizable itineraries. Windows Metro style interface looks amazing, overlaying the map with efficient information and accessibility. Free

(Images: 1. Jason Rodway, all others: as credited above.)

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