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February 25, 2009

Nokia Maps for pedestrians

GLOBAL – Getting Nokia Maps right for walkers is much harder than it is for cars. Covering ground in cars, for starters is a much faster than doing it on foot. Sounds obvious, but did you know mapping companies such as Nokia’s own Navteq actually send people out in cars to check roads and Points of Interest? Recently, blogger and geoinformation specialist Christian Spanring took Nokia Maps for a spin as a pedestrian and, comparing it to some alternatives, unearthed some good and some not so good elements of how Nokia Maps works for those on foot.

His four-piece review makes for pretty intriguing reading. Split into an introduction, public transport, Points of Interest and pedestrian navigation, Christian managed to get under the skin of Nokia Maps and pick up on stuff that’s genuinely interesting and useful to pedestrians.

His first step into it highlights something missing from Nokia Maps, in public transport directions. Although included as Points of Interest, the service won’t include transport as an option when creating a walking route for you. On a more positive note though, Christian highlights the designed-for-small-screen cartography and Points of Interest as two of Nokia Maps’ key features. The latter he praises for a number of reasons including the fact “A catalogue you can explore easily while walking, by using only one thumb, just like an iPod. It requires less attention than a text search.”

His final review centred around pedestrian navigation itself, and the routes suggested by Nokia Maps and its competitors. Using parks as a walking route around cities seems a pretty logical thing to do – not only is it a nicer experience, but frequently quicker too. The addition of 3D graphics in Nokia Maps 3.0 is also proving to be a hit, and is specially useful for walkers.

Overall Christian’s review is well balanced and even so, very positive towards Nokia Maps. What’s your experience been like? And, what features would you like to see appearing in Nokia Maps?