The new ‘Nokia Maps Suite’ was arguably the biggest application release at the opening day of Nokia World 2011. The new suite brings ‘the future of location-based services’ to your fingertips. Designed with the commuter in mind, the new location software is the best way to travel on trams, trains and buses with worldwide coverage. Perfect for when the train, bus and tram break down and you need to use Nokia Maps to find your way on foot. Sharing is also a core competence of the new suite, the ‘Pulse’ application allows you to check in with friends and family on the go, presumably this is to ensure your finger is always on the pulse!
We are going to take you on a wild rollercoaster ride that explores the four main location-based software groups that complete the Nokia Maps Suite. Here is a quick overview for those that like to keep it top line, before we delve deep into each group:
1. Live View: A new augmented-reality browser that turns your phone’s camera viewfinder to help you spot places of interest.
2. Pulse: Enables you to privately share and discuss your location, photos and mood with friends and family.
3. Public Transport: You don’t need to work for CSI:Miami to solve this one. The Public Transport app tells you the most efficient way to get from A to B using public transport anywhere in the world.
4. Places: Once again, the clue is in the name, this app quite simply helps you discover places around you.
Nokia Live View via Nokia
Now it’s time to do some delving.
The above image highlights the most exciting feature of the Nokia Maps Suite. Some of you may have never used augumented-reality on your smart-phones before, so we thought we would give you a quick augumented-reality check. Augumented-reality essentially merges the worlds of online and offline. Take the street you work, live or study on, if you were to open the app and point the camera down the street, you would not only see the physical elements of a shop, restaurant or bar but you would see the virtual elements of the shop superimposed on your screen. By ‘virtual’ we mean the information about the shop that is available online. So this may include the shops name, the products it sells, the opening times and its exact location from where you are standing. Sounds pretty futuristic doesn’t it! If that explanation didn’t make any sense then here is a definition of augumented-reality. Augmented-reality used to be offered as a stand-alone application but now it joins the new Nokia Maps family.
If you are not comfortable using the camera view you can always switch to a list or map view of your surrounding area, but we think that takes the fun out of the whole app. There is also a great feature that lets you browse famous places from around the world.
Pulse is a great new feature that lets you connect with friends and family in a private capacity. You don’t need to belong to a social network, you simply add your location with a post and everyone else you have added will see your latest activity. Your post could include text, a photo or your location. The app is private by default so there is no need to build a 10ft wall around your personal details. Nokia Pulse is also integrated with maps so as soon as a friend checks in nearby you can find out exactly how to reach them, or alternatively, exactly how to avoid them! Check out the video below, it explains everything about Pulse:
Nokia Pulse via Nokia
This is a great app for those of us travelling long distances on public transport everyday. It neatly combines several methods of public transport into one easy interface. So, if you know you might need to take a bus, tram or train on your travels, then all of the proposed timings, locations and routes required will be displayed. You may even be directed to walk some of the journey to reach your next form of public transport, unlucky! The app has ‘up-to-the-minute’ updates on all bus and tram routes in 45 cities and the device tracks public transportation directly on a mobile device in more than 430 cities worldwide.
Nokia Transport via Nokia
Need to find a last minute Michelin Star restaurant for some new clients? Forgotten to get your wife flowers on your wedding anniversary? Or are you just bored of going to the same burger bar every Friday lunchtime? Well the Places app is a fantastic solution to these problems because it gets you to your desired and undiscovered destinations faster and more efficiently. You can check ratings and reviews for restaurants you are unsure about in a foreign land, get directional advice to the location you have chosen and then find the nearest taxi rank to grab a trip home. The software is designed to help you find locations in your local area that you may have previously been unaware of. Who knows, that burger bar you didnt know about behind your office could be alot tastier and better value for money than the one right in front of your office!
So, there you have it, our take on the new Nokia Maps software. We can’t wait to put some of these technologies into practice, in the meantime though we want you to tell us whether this sounds like the future of mapping and if not, why!? Do share!