Pathfinder Apps

You no longer need to invest on a standalone navigation device for your car, some of these smartphone apps will do
twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: August 2013

Everyone knows how to use maps on their phone. But do you also know that some of these apps give you turn-by-turn navigation for most towns in India? Actually smartphones and their navigation apps are much more advanced than traditional navigation devices. They can track your location real time, guide you to destinations, show nearby points of interest and, in some cities, even update you about traffic. Even paid mapping apps will cost you just a fraction of what a decent navigator comes for.

Here is a look at the best navigation apps.

GOOGLE MAPS
Price: Free


The most popular mapping software, this app can be downloaded to any platform and is free. The app tracks your location and you can search for and get directions to any location. Voice navigation and traffic updates are now available. There is the option to choose between walking, public transport and car for a destination.

Verdict: A must-have on all phones


NOKIA MAPS
Price: Free


Nokia owns Navteq, among the largest mapmakers in the world, and this quality shows in maps installed on all its phones. In high-end devices it uses GPS to locate the position and give turn-by-turn voice directions. In offline mode, a few features like terrain maps and weather forecasts don't work. Nokia maps now come with traffic.

Verdict: A reliable solution.


SYGIC & MAP MY INDIA
Price: Rs 1,200 (on discount)


This is one mapping software that works purely on GPS signals, without any Internet connectivity. While offering turn-by-turn voice navigation, it shows three alternative routes to your destination. It has features such as house number search, places of Interest, sign post info, city guide, location sharing and geo-tagging images. It also gives speed limit audio warnings.

Verdict: Among the best, but expensive.


WAZE
Price: Free


Recently acquired by Google, Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation application. This app too offers turn-by-turn voice directions along with life traffic updates powered by users. They can choose from the existing groups like Delhi Roads or create new ones. While routing, it sources information from various other Waze users.

Verdict: Some users might not like it.


SMART ON THE ROAD

>>Prefer to use map apps that can be used in offline mode too. This comes handy when travelling to remote locations where accessing data can be an issue.

>>GPS drains smartphone battery. Always carry a car charger if you are heading for a long road trip. Always check before upgrading paid maps, they might cost you a big sum of money.

>>Turn off GPS as soon as you reach your destination.

>>Live traffic updates give you an indication about the traffic situation on the roads. They need not be 100 per cent accurate.

>>Turn-by-turn voice navigation is the best as you can't keep looking at the maps every now and then while driving.

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