Nokia has released their first iOS app, which it hopes will lure users away from the various mapping solutions on the platform. Called HERE Maps, it’s based off HTML 5 and offers several features that Apple’s own Maps app lacks. Most notable of these include turn-by-turn walking directions (strangely enough, not for driving directions), community maps (selected countries), the ability to save map areas for offline use, and public transportation. You can also sign up for a free Nokia account that lets you ‘Collect’ places, which can then be viewed at a later time on mobile devices and even the web.
After testing out HERE Maps for almost an hour, I think it’s off to a fairly solid start, though it still has a long ways to go for it to be even considered among the best map apps on the iPhone and iPad. For starters, there’s no support for the retina display, so street names will look a bit fuzzy on the iPhone 4/iPad 3 and up. The POIs (points of interests) are also pretty spotty, and sadly you can only save one offline map at a time – any new ones you create will simply overwrite the previous save (a crappy limitation for travellers who won’t have access to data/Wifi on the road).
Personally, I love using Localscope to find all my POIs, especially when I need to create location-based reminders. And seeing how HERE doesn’t offer turn-by-turn driving directions, Waze and Scout by Telenav are great alternatives that are also free.
If you can’t wait for Google’s dedicated maps app to make its way onto iOS (they’re said to be prepping it for submission soon) and don’t care for Apple’s Maps app, HERE Maps is still worth a look. It’s far from perfect, but there are still some handy features, like routing by public transit and live traffic view.
HERE Maps is a free download (3.7MB) and a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad.
Nokia, HERE Maps - Free
HERE Maps helps you feel like a local anywhere you go. See where you are, search and discover nearby places, and get a feel for the place. Collect places to remember or for later discovery. Explore new destinations and know instantly how to get there on foot, by car or on public transport. HERE Maps is based on the world-class NAVTEQ mapping data used in 90% of in-car navigation systems in the world.
• Map views – Pick the map you need from map view, live traffic view, public transport line view or satellite view
• Save map areas & wander without data coverage
• In selected countries, access community maps created and updated by users
• Maps, search and place coverage for nearly 200 countries
• Search with history and suggestions
• Share places with just a tap, including the location and how to get there, over SMS, email, or social networks
• Organize places you love into Collections
• Sign in to HERE Maps with your Nokia Account or Facebook login
• Sync with Here.net – Access your Collections anywhere
• Step-by-Step voice-guided walk navigation
• Walk navigation through pedestrian routes, parks, alleyways, and more
• Public transportation and driving directions