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Nokia Releasing Maps for Competing Devices 57

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the wait-until-elop-finds-out dept.
another random user writes with news about Nokia's Meego/Winphone mapping application being ported to other systems, including Mozilla's Firefox OS. From the article: "Here Maps will initially be released on Apple iOS devices offering downloadable street plans for offline use, and audio-based directions for pedestrians. Nokia is also developing a version for Mozilla's forthcoming Firefox operating system, and will release software tools to allow third parties to make use of its data on Android devices. The move is designed to help the firm compete against Google's rival product."
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Nokia Releasing Maps for Competing Devices

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  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cinder6 (894572) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @12:39PM (#41981147)

    I keep hearing about how great Nokia's maps are, so I'll be interested to try it. Having more users means more data sources, which means that the product should be able to improve more than if it were limited to Nokia phones. I just hope it has a better interface than their website, which is way behind Google's in usability.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @12:43PM (#41981187)

    When I'm driving through the rockies, sometimes I just cannot get a phone/data signal, so having maps available offline is very valuable

    • by miknix (1047580)

      When I'm driving through the rockies, sometimes I just cannot get a phone/data signal, so having maps available offline is very valuable

      Totally agree! By the way, the maps application for Android also supports offline maps, I installed it as a plugin but I believe now it has been made the default?

      • Yeah, but unless it has been within the last month or two that this has happened, it's still not great. Travelling between Ohio and Indiana, there is a pretty long stretch of no 3G access on my phone, and my map just listed blank nothingness. If you're using the Google Navigation tool, it really should just pre-cache the entire map to your destination.

        • by stigmato (843667) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:00PM (#41981373)

          Travelling between Ohio and Indiana, there is a pretty long stretch of no 3G access on my phone, and my map just listed blank nothingness.

          Sounds like its displaying Ohio accurately to me.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            As someone from Indiana, that isn't fair. I've been all over this state as well as Ohio. Even in its more rural parts there are little tiny towns interconnected. I hung out in a lot of them when I was younger and know that if my car breaks down anywhere in the Midwest I can pick a direction and walk to civilization within an hour or less.

            Contrast that with the southwest or worse...Mississippi or Alabama. Even the developed areas in between major cities are completely freaking desolate. No businesses, no ser

            • by bondsbw (888959)

              Someone from Indiana claiming that Alabama is desolate? Ha!

              I'm from Alabama and recently traveled through Indiana. In most areas, I saw more windmills per square mile than people.

        • I guess you didn't read the parent. Google Maps supports offline maps (no data connection need) and has done for a long time now.
        • It can pre-cache, but you have to enable it specifically. It's one of the experimental google labs inside your Google Maps/Navigation application.

    • ...which is why Google Maps latest release has offline maps. Pan to the map section you want, hit the menu button and click "Make available offline". Even works for AC's in the Rockies.
      • by gutnor (872759) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:03PM (#41981389)
        However Nokia Drive ( on a Nokia phone ) works more like a GPS device. It allows you to download map on a country by country basic. Very useful in Europe.
      • It's been there for a long time (more than 1 year?). The just made it more prominent in the latest releases.
      • ..which is why Google Maps latest release has offline maps.

        Which is still pretty much crap. I used it when I was traveling in New Mexico and Google's map cache consumed most of my phone's memory and still didn't work well enough to be useful.

      • by Etherized (1038092) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:32PM (#41981767)

        From what I can tell, you cannot navigate or search for addresses while in "offline" mode on Google Maps. If you are already navigating or already have search results up, they will remain, but you cannot pre-download a map and start navigation while offline.

        This is not a huge issue for me, since I seldom travel where there is no service, but it would be nice to not have to worry about this at all. I do not know whether Nokia Maps is any better - until now that has been rather academic as it had not supported Android :)

  • Nokia is too late to the table to grab the most delicious morsels; the easily picked fruit.

    • Re:3 Years Late (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:25PM (#41981679)

      Nokia is too late to the table to grab the most delicious morsels; the easily picked fruit.

      If they do this quickly enough, and offer the same feature set as Google Maps, they can get a whole mess of disgruntled iOS users as well as draining away market share from Google Maps. Google Maps is nice as long as you have network coverage, but it sucks ass the moment you loose your connection (at least it did on iOS). If Nokia maps offers better offline performance than the Google Maps app did on iOS then I'd use it in preference to Google Maps any day, it would beat dragging a Garmin unit around with me. Another downside of Google maps is that if you don't live in the US/EU and in the vicinity of a major population center there are many places where you do not get down-to-house-number navigation. This may all work perfectly for Android users but on iOS Google Maps kind of sucked. I have often found myself getting down-to-house-number navigation in many places with Nokia (Bing) maps where I was SOL with Google Maps. In places with no coverage or where even Bing Maps fails I usually reach for my Garmin unit. Come to think of it, if I was Apple I'd consider fixing Apple Maps by buying Garmin. Dunno if that is realistic but Garmin maps are really good including their international maps.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:05PM (#41981417)

    For those who aren't aware, Nokia sources its mapping data from FedEx [theatlantic.com] and a number of other couriers. As a result, the maps that they're using are not only more up-to-date, since the couriers need to keep them updated in order to stay in business, but they're also more able to work in data such as traffic patterns and the like, since the couriers put in FAR more time and miles on the road than the technology companies.

    To put it in perspective, UPS drives 3.3 billion miles each year. In contrast, Google's cars have driven "only" 5 million miles in total. So, roughly a thousand times more in a fraction of the time. Google's mapping data isn't insignificant, but it's dwarfed by the amount being produced by UPS, FedEx, and the like, and Nokia has access to all of that.

    • by EzInKy (115248)

      Still, since you can't separate Nokia from Microsoft few here would reccomend them.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:21PM (#41981621)

      Doesn't Nokia also own NavTeq, one of the premier mapping companies that provides map data to everyone as well?

    • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:22PM (#41981637)
      I thought it was because Nokia owns Navteq which has been a provider of GPS based navigation since the late '80s. Most of the couriers use Navteq as well as some US municipalities which explains the high accuracy of the mapping data.
    • by iserlohn (49556)

      That's only Google's cars, but what about the millions of people using Google Navigation in their own cars?

      • by inputdev (1252080)
        this. Especially since Fed-ex and other couriers are likely going to stay on main routes, and so the mapping should be much better from a diverse set of cars (drivers with google phones.)
    • by darrylo (97569)

      In the case of the Apple Maps issues, map data accuracy is just one of three big issues. The other two are:

      * POI data, such as public transit info (nonexistent) and POI accuracy (POIs may be in the wrong location or no longer existing).

      * Street View. Lots of people use Street View to examine an area (e.g., "What's the parking situation like?").

      • by swb (14022)

        I find the Apple Maps hullabaloo greatly overblown. No problem with finding POIs, turn-by-turn navigation has been perfect, including navigating idiotic suburban mall streets (the kind with dumb names that only run 500 yards and are hard to divorce from the surrounding mall parking).

        I can't comment on public transit where I live, but I do know that the subway info on Google Maps was borderline unreliable when I was in NYC last spring. Subway entrances in many cases weren't where they were marked on the ma

        • by darrylo (97569)

          While you and others have no problems with Apple maps, I think you're falling into the common trap: "I have no problems, and I don't see how anyone else can have problems, therefore there really aren't any problems". Lots of people are screaming and, if this really was overblown, Tim Cook would not have apologized, and Scott Forstall might still have a job at Apple.

          I don't use public transit, and so I can't really comment on the accuracy; however, from the screaming that I've seen, the transit issues seeme

          • by swb (14022)

            It struck and still strikes me that the Apple "apology" was as much a result of the hype and publicity than significant problems. I think the biggest significant "problem" was that it wasn't Google maps, and that's what people expected and/or wanted.

            I still don't get the transit POI complaints -- most cities with significant transit infrastructure (NYC, Chicago, DC, Atlanta, Bay Area) have either custom apps or sophisticated enough existing info (ie, mobile-enabled web sites from the transit authority) tha

    • To put it in perspective, UPS drives 3.3 billion miles each year. In contrast, Google's cars have driven "only" 5 million miles in total.

      Sorry to burst your bubble. Google doesn't just use Google's cars for its maps and traffic information.

      It uses every Google Navigation and Google Latitude users' moving car for real-time map and traffic information. It's been doing that for a number of years now. And it's not the only one. TomTom and Waze have been doing this for a while too.

      As a result, the maps that they're using are not only more up-to-date, since the couriers need to keep them updated in order to stay in business, but they're also more able to work in data such as traffic patterns and the like, since the couriers put in FAR more time and miles on the road than the technology companies.

      Again, sorry to burst your bubble, but NavTeq (now owned by Nokia) the largest mapping provider in the World may have been one of the biggest innovators of the 90s, but

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nokia maps are great, I downloaded the entire country on my old phone while it still had service, and I use it as a GPS unit now that I have a new phone. No updates or traffic, of course, but it makes a quite capable device remain in service instead of thrown in a drawer and forgotten.

  • Nokia maps are by far the best in the mobile space. It is one of Nokia's biggest selling points. Now that they are making their maps available to everyone, what "killer exclusive feature" do people have to move to Nokia/WP8? Are they resigned to becoming an app developer, a sideshow, for the biggies?
    • by tomofumi (831434)
      looks like they are turning to a more open attitude to other platforms now, instead of WinPhone only. Next step maybe going multi-platform (Android phone?)
  • Nokia has a WebGL version of their web maps [nokia.com] which has a Google Earth like functionality to it. While they don't label many places initially the search seems to recognise names of towns which are then labelled on the map and there are things like 3D buildings in certain locations (e.g. London). The regular Nokia Maps [nokia.com] offers a more complete solution at the moment but it's surprising to see a web mapping solution that isn't Bing [bing.com] or Google [google.com] especially using new web technologies (to the best of my knowledge Googl

  • Annoying bugs with their web UI. For example, when you click and drag, it often things you've flicked when releasing the mouse, causing further map panning. It's nowhere near as solid as Google or Bing. Also, their tile loading latency is a bit high. Sounds like they need to throw more hardware at it. Otherwise, it looks like a really solid entrant, complete with street level views, 3D, and really nifty features. I particularly like the shopping / restaurant heat maps in major cities.

  • AFAIK, there's no offline maps for maemo (Nokia N900), how about supporting your own OSs first? You know; to give something to the people who actually pay for your products.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:13PM (#41984665)
    I use google navigation some times and it has never succeeded in pronouncing any non-english street names remotely correct.

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