There’s never been a better time to publish a mapping app for iOS. Apple’s own Maps app is a laughing stock and Google is apparently dithering over whether to bother submitting an app version of its mapping solution for Apple’s approval, or lack thereof. So Nokia has stepped into the breach with HERE, a re-branded version of its …
Lost me at pinch to zoom
talk about school boy error.
Re: Lost me at pinch to zoom
"Place your fingers either side of a street to zoom in on it and you’ll find that as you zoom, the street moves off-screen, because the focus is on the centre point of the screen when you start zooming"
I don't know why you would not have the area you want to zoom on centre screen anyway. How are you going to put your fingers either side of an area if it is at the edge of the screen? Not sure I would ever notice it, I couldn't have told you how how Nokia Maps worked on my windows phone until I checked after reading this.
Re: Lost me at pinch to zoom
Umm, if I have the entire city of london on screen, and I want to zoom into the docklands, I have to constantly keep moving the screen and rezooming in again.
Its a fail. Nuff said.
Re: Lost me at pinch to zoom
As I recall, Pinch Zoom has been trolled.. I mean patented by Apple and so you must pay royalties to use this totally obvious and most basic of UI applications. Apple.. driving innovation.
Your Edinburgh screenshot captures the issues that I mentioned yesterday:
- Cowgate has been renamed "Scotts Close".
- George IV Bridge is, as the name suggests, a bridge over Cowgate, not a crossroads.
- Similarly, Johnson terrace is a bridge over Kings Stables Road.
These are just the things that jump out immediately. No doubt there will be plenty of more subtle bugs.
Does appear to be that a common problem with HERE is roads often taking names from nearby buildings. e.g.
Where the station road in Cambridge is shown going along what is a private access road to some large houses and the real station road is labelled after an office block.
The problem is that Maps has picked up a little village near Exeter rather than the large town north of London. Look for Luton Airport (which it does know about) and there's lots of local detail.
Re: Wrong Luton
I just searched for Luton in Apple's Map app, and it went straight to the one with the airport.
Having said that, Apple's app might be pretty, but it's pretty damn annoying if you're trying to use it for navigation. I want The Google Maps app back.
Re: Wrong Luton
are you sure you're spelling Luton right? it gets it right for me every time i've tried.
Re: Wrong Luton
It's another known problem with Apple maps. Sometimes it gives you one thing, other times another. For ages it was failing to give me Paddington Station when I searched for it by typing in "Paddington Station" giving me instead Paddington Street some half a mile away). Then I went to demo how bad it was on that search to someone and low and behold, it highlighted the station perfectly. Then later it returned again to failing to locate it and giving me Paddington Street again instead. It does look lovely though. When you are browsing around your current location it is excellent (everything is there - very few to zero serious problems I've come across) and the turn by turn is very good also. It's just the bloody search results that are crap. Bad weighting and location name aliasing. A search for "Paddington Railway Station" will find you Paddington Station every time. But who would actually type that in, rather than the shorter and much more commonly used name ? The other annoyance for me, is that both Underground and Overground rail stations have the same icon.
I've tried Here for a bit, but I have to say I'm underwhelmed. The searching results are a bit better but not, having heard how good Nokia's data is, what I expected. And the App design reminds me of - surprise surprise, older Nokia phones. They have very last gen features like the fact you have to save an offline map and can only save one. How about silently caching data so it "just works" offline when you lose signal like Apple Maps does (and I understand Google maps does on Android). Everywhere you have recently browsed is available regardless of signal availability. When you map routes, the entire route is cached also. Very slick and seamless, but actually quite easy to do also. It's just not very good that the Nokia programmers don't seem to be able to envision functionality working simply and seamlessly like that!
Re: Wrong Luton
Mine went to the Luton near Exeter, but then that doesn't seem that unreasonable as I am not that far from Exeter. Maybe it is a relevance filter. I am very happy to ignore the Luton with an airport.
In general, I am perfectly happy with Apple maps. Some of the shops are wrong on it, but where I am, no more than google. I wouldn't be happy if I lived in london though, the labeling of the tube stations is awful, and so are the details available at different zoom levels.
I guess this is handy for that.
Re: Wrong Luton
Mine went to Luton with the airport, but I'm near Cambridge.
HERE's satellite imagery of my current location is completely pants so I don't think I'll even try it on the phone.
Re: Wrong Luton
Huh? You don't like the app with turn-by-turn for navigation, so you want the one without it? Makes no sense...
It does look lovely though
I'm sure that's what they said about the early iPhone. I can see a pattern!
"It has no voice-dialling, no bluetooth tethering, no multi-tasking ... but it does look lovely though"
London train options
Living in the grim nightmare that is Sutton, those directions look uncommonly like the sort of thing you get out of the TfL website when trying to plan a route to anywhere in town. This is usually because TfL think it takes too long to walk down to the local station from there and that buses are magical beasts that run to precise timetables.
yep maps did take a bad turn with apples latest version
But I was one of the lucky ones who started using "Waze" for my turn by turn navigation. its great fun driving past another user on the motor way and giving a knowing nod. 3d images in a map indeed, Steve must be turning in his grave. Giving directions via my Bluetooth headset means that I do not need to have my phone on my dashboard like all the lambs out there.
Re: yep maps did take a bad turn with apples latest version
I like waze, but you'd better have a car charger if you're using it; it sucks up more power than a Senator.
in that last sentence, it sounds like it would have been easier to list the things that are right about Here than list the things that need fixing. i'll stick with Maps for the time being then, thanks.
Ovi maps / Nokia Maps also didn't cater for trains and I don't know if they do yet either.
This was due to TfL not publishing the train data for a long time and they released around a year ago from memory. It is a separate data feed from tubes though and so Nokia has to write the software. Obviously they haven't yet.... Google took a few months to write as I recall.
What would be lovely is if there was a standard format for public transit info and then any operator in the world could easily integrate rather than each one needing to be done...
"But, bizarrely, every route from outer London to inner London tested utilised bus and tube, but not mainline rail routes"
For that you can thank ATOC and their crazy license terms for timetable data. I think you might now be able to get some info on London-area trains from TFL, but that might just be London Overground ones.
Personally I think timetable data should be public. Fair enough, don't provide an API, but provide a data dump whenever it changes (sorry, *well before* so apps have time to update!) so people can update their own systems.
If you like Apple's turn by turn Navigation, use it.
Create a shortcut to Google Maps if you like that.
Download Nokia HERE as well. I also have navfree.
As long as you have enough memory, use what you like, when you like. If they are free, aside from a bit of time, what have you got to lose ?
After the relentless media kicking Apple got over their maps - which I use almost daily for tun-by-turn and still to find any major problem with - it's fascinating watching the same media now falling over themselves painting the turd that is Nokia HERE in nice shades of gold and justifying obvious flaws with a "[insert missing/faulty feature here] can't be far away".
Comparing screenshots for two different "Luton"s as the reviewer did here takes the cake. Anyone actually paying attention would have noticed that.
Personally I'm now more interested in seeing what Malcolm Barclay will do for his next update to his NextBuses and London Tube apps, since he has hinted he'll be integrating with Maps routing for public transport information that works UK wide.
Aerial footage has never been particularly useful on any mapping service. It's the accuracy of the road names and presence of roads that are the most important thing for travelling somewhere.
Street view is the most useful "real world" imaging feature.
Satellite imagery is useful
to those of us with good spatial awareness, we can rotate it ourselves - and that is alot quicker than waiting for the next set of pictures on streetview, not to mention a whole pile cheaper if you are on limited data.
How do Nokia make any money out of releasing this for iOS
In the past, their map app has been one of the reasons they touted to buy their phones.
Don't be so harsh on the Nokia guys, they've only been working on their maps for 10 or so years. Give them another 10 at least and they'll catch up.
Still no substitute for google maps
While I'm old enough to remember the early days of google maps when it was laughable compared with mapquest, today it is the best so I've stuck with iOS 5 on my iPhone. This is mainly for the public transport directions which have been really useful in foreign cities. I tried HERE in my home town to see how it did with a bus journey home and while google offers a single bus journey, HERE wanted me to take three and the journey time was substantially longer. It needs to get better to be viable, and I'm also not keen on the flat colour scheme which reeks of Windows Phone.
I'll keep waiting for a new google maps app and then upgrade to iOS 6.
Compass icon but no compass?
I'm locked on IOS 5 for lack of a map app that equals the Google native one on IOS 6.
From day 1 I have loved the iPhone's native Google Maps compass integration for instant orientation (also when taking in tourist views from a high point). This because as a tourist I tend to walk places.
So where is the mention of this in the review?
IS or ISN'T there compass integration with Here?
Nice compass icon on the review, mind you.
And finally, do any insiders know why compass integration is so rare to see in iPhone mapping apps?
Re: Compass icon but no compass?
Indeed, I think the lack of compass is a huge omission. I've used the app and you can't manually rotate the maps either, they just point north and that's it. The satellite imagery is terrible too. The area where I am is just a giant green smudge.
OK, I admit to being stupid.
...But what's the connection between Nokia HERE and iOS???
I'm definitely missing something (apart from the fact I seem to be as stupid as two short planks)...
Re: OK, I admit to being stupid.
Simple as that.
I don't get it, TomTom released their version of maps for the iphone along time ago. It all the functionality of the normal tomtom device, it does not need data, as the map data is on the phone locally,(so you don't run up data charges and can use when you have no signal) it also connects to the internet to get updates to keep the map uptodate and it has execellent voice turn by turn directions. You do have to pay for it, but it works 100% better than all the other mapping solutions, also links to google search and other services to find places.
Well it's good, but in a rather different price league. It's also pathetically unaware of the iPhone's compass*, so you don't know which way to go at the start. 50% off the time on a motorcycle that means having to do an annoying u-turn and if you're walking it means having to turn back after 50 to 100 metres. Tom Tom is also unaware of useful short cuts for cyclists and walkers, presumably because their informants can't be bothered to get out of their cars. The 'winding roads' option can be fun.
*I realise that a compass isn't entirely accurate when mounted on a vehicle containing a lot of iron and electric currents, but it makes a reasonable stab at whether your pointing roughly east or west, north or south.
It's worse than Apple's stuff
I downloaded it earlier today, before I went to work. It asked to be allowed to use my location info; I told it to go ahead... and then I checked to see where it thought I was. It was wrong. Spectacularly wrong. It had, approximately, the correct location on the map, but the address it listed was, literally, half a mile down the road.
I asked it to give me directions to the office. The directions supplied were wrong. Spectacularly wrong, in that if I'd followed them I'd have got myself killed. (Hint for Nokia: there's no on-ramp for the Turnpike from Forrest Hills Blvd. There is an overpass, 7 or 8 metres _above_ the Turnpike, on Forrest Hills. And, oh, there's no need to use the Turnpike, or Forrest Hills, for that matter, to get from my house to the office.)
And, again, at the office, the dot on the map was roughly correct, but the address displayed was off by a substantial distance. If I'd turned 'in' to the office as directed, I've have turned into a concrete wall. That's _twice_ it tried to kill me...
Apple's Map, on the other hand, got the addresses correctly, and the directions to and from correctly as well.
Nokia's product is Not Ready For Prime Time.
Place names in Hong Kong
I live in Hong Kong. While I haven't done extensive testing of HERE, my initial impression is that it works reasonably well. The one bothersome thing is how it handles some place names (specifically MTR stations, bus stops, schools & some other random places). If you have English set as your default language, it gives these places name using hanyu pinyin of the Mandarin reading of the places rather than the romanized Cantonese reading of the characters. For example, Sheung Wan Station becomes Shang Huan Zhan. That can be confusing for people who only know places by the Cantonese in this Cantonese speaking city. It really would be confusing for tourists whose guide books use the local names.
Google Maps, on the other hand, displays the more widely known romanized Cantonese place names (for those who can't read Chinese) ALONG with the Chinese characters (for those who read Chinese). This is a much better solution. Nobody can be confused.
FAQ | House Rules
For those still looking for Luton: assuming HERE works in a similar fashion to Symbian Nokia Maps then, it orders results based on your current map view (not your current location).
"For example, Sheung Wan Station becomes Shang Huan Zhan", yeah that sucks. But as a consolation searches using romanised Cantonese, pinyin, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese all work.