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Pros:
  • Super Easy to use
  • Auto-detects GPS settings on your device
  • Directions (Route Planning) is very easy to get to and features a “fly-to” feature for turn-by-turn.
  • Satellite View or Map View – Satellite view has road names integrated
  • Easy to navigate using hardware keys or touch screen
  • Download speeds were pretty good for “live” tracking
 
Cons:
  • Satellite Imagery is at least a year old in some places.
  • Traffic Info not available in my location
  • They put a goofy little disclaimer in their “Help/About” that says if you give a suggestion for improvement they reserve the right to implement it without giving you credit (ok that’s just a personal sore point…not really a reason NOT to use the program!)
 
As anyone who’s seen me or read my blog in the last week knows I recently bought an AT&T Tilt – an awesome little phone if I may say so. One of the things I wanted to try out was the GPS functionality and the first way I tried it out was with the free Google Maps Mobile (GMM).
 
One neat feature with this is that you can initiate the install straight from your device by browsing to www.google.com/gmm on your mobile device. Installation and setup was pretty easy and in just a few minutes I was ready to use the program.
 
When I first launched it I was trying to get the GPS to detect my location and found two neat features right away. The first was that it didn’t ask me for GPS settings, it auto-detected and went for it. The second was that even though it didn’t find me initially it “failed gracefully” by providing a “poor man’s GPS” location (within 1700 meters) by triangulating my position using nearby cell phone towers. A few minutes later it was able to pick up a GPS signal and there I was on the screen represented by a tiny blue and white blinking dot. So I got in my car and drove toward home.
 
I was nicely surprised during the drive to glance over and see my dot moving happily across the screen on the map. At the first traffic light stop I switched it from Map view to Satellite view and was even more nicely surprised that it was steadily downloading the updated imagery as I scrolled off an edge.
 
When I finally arrived home and looked at the imagery Google has of my house from space I chuckled because in my driveway (on the satellite image) was my old white 1993 Dodge Dynasty (which I got rid of more than a year ago). I also noticed looking around my property there was no fence…which I actually have a fence installed now. Thinking that it might be because my area is so new (most homes here were only built in the last 2 years…mine’s “old” because it’s been here since 2002 I decided to check some other local areas where I know there have been changes. One such area is the church I attend – well used to, it burned down in a massive fire on August 19th 2006…but there in the Google Maps imagery you can see it still standing. So the imagery is definitely dated but then again you don’t get real time imagery on the commercial market anyways.
 
One feature I had hoped to try out but wasn’t able to was the traffic feature. My locale isn’t large enough that it rates inclusion in the traffic analysis piece so that was a minor disappointment…but it also got me thinking of a way to try and integrate the views from the traffic cams we have installed along the major roadways here and see if I could get them included on the map.
 
Overall Google Maps Mobile is a pretty neat program, it’s free, and with the ease of use and auto-detection of GPS settings there’s no reason you shouldn’t have it on your phone…so what are you waiting for?
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 9:30 PM Software Reviews , Windows Mobile | Back to top


Comments on this post: Software Review - Google Maps Mobile

# re: Software Review - Google Maps Mobile
Requesting Gravatar...
Have u seen live maps? ... are much better for the definitions when u look at maximum zoom in...
Left by Regali di Natale on Dec 15, 2007 8:46 AM

# re: Software Review - Google Maps Mobile
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Yes - actually I'm running Live Maps on the same device - that review is coming next! :)
Left by Lou on Dec 15, 2007 9:59 PM

# re: Software Review - Google Maps Mobile
Requesting Gravatar...
when is it launcing for sony ericsson??
Left by abhishek on Dec 17, 2007 4:55 PM

# re: Software Review - Google Maps Mobile
Requesting Gravatar...
Good question - but one I don't know the answer too. Unfortunately the Google Maps web page doesn't offer any info on that either.
Left by Lou on Dec 18, 2007 12:25 PM

# re: Software Review - Google Maps Mobile
Requesting Gravatar...
Though I haven't tried it - Google lists this link for getting Google Maps on a mobile phone:
http://www.google.com/mobile/gmm/stp-js.html
Visit that link in your web browser on a PC and plug in your mobile phone number.
Left by Lou on Dec 18, 2007 1:17 PM

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