Google vs Nokia vs Apple Maps: Which One is the Most User Friendly?

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By Vittorio Hernandez | November 26, 2012 11:33 AM EST

Another printed paper product was recently sidelined with the introduction of online maps offered by competing tech firms. The value of these online maps was again highlighted when a former soldier walked 5,000 miles in over one year, aided largely by technology.

Twenty-seven-year-old former Marine Sergeant Winston Flore just completed his 408 days of journey to nine countries in Southeast Asia. He has walked about 5,000 miles in these countries helped through his navigation using Google Maps.

The purpose of Mr Flore's journey is to raise funds for the International Children's Surgical Foundation which provides free plastic surgeries to children which are mostly suffering from cleft palate.

His 5,000-mile journey covered metro areas in Brunei, China, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. When Mr Flore was deployed with the Marine Corps to Senegal in 2007, he realised he had seen little of the world and resolved to spent a year walking.

Initially, Mr Flore made printouts of the walking directions from Google Maps, but realised eventually that he needed to rely on the electronic version because he fumbled through the printed pages each day at the start of his sojourn and resulted in his getting off track. He instead purchased a SIM card in each country that he walked and relied on his mobile phone to access Google Maps.

Google Maps

Google Maps is not the only kind of digital mapping service available online, Nokia's Here, and Apple Maps are also open for other OS users to help them navigate in a lot of areas worldwide.

Google Maps is a web mapping service application and technology provided by search engine giant Google, which powers many map-based services such as Google Ride Finder and Google Transit. This map service application is accessible via desktop browsing or in Android 2.0 and above devices.

Usage and Features of Google Maps

  • For educational, Google Maps has tools like Google Moon, Google Mars, and Google Sky which allows user to explore imagery of the Moon from Apollo 11 shots, images of Mars from NASA, and online space mapping tool of the universe from photographs taken by the Hubble Space telescope.
  • Google Transit is designed to view the transit schematics around the city. Countries like United States, Canada, China, and Japan has supported Google Transit via Google Maps.
  • Directions are the most common need during mapping and Google Maps have variants for directions. The user may choose to receive walking, biking, or driving directions by simply indicating the point of origin and the destination target.
  • For viewing experiments of cities around the globe, the user may choose to use Street View which allows first person view in the city street from photos taken of that location. Another is the Aerial View which offers a bird's eye view of the city.
  • Terrains are also available in Google Maps like satellite imagery or weather view.

Here by Nokia

Here is a free mapping product and service by Nokia for its mobile phones and smartphone multimedia devices. The service includes voice-guided navigation for both pedestrians and drivers for 110 countries in 46 different languages. It can be accessed in all major browsers, in HTML5-based mobiles phones and tablets, and runs in Windows Phone, iOS, and Android.

Features of Here by Nokia

  • Driving and walking turn-by-turn with international voice guidance
  • Live traffic rerouting in some countries
  • Live traffic visualisation on the map in some countries
  • Third-party content such as ViaMichelin and Lonely Planet
  • Location aware social networking to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and many more
  • Street maps can be preloaded and used offline
  • Weather application
  • Night view
  • Satellite maps
  • Terrain maps
  • 3D building and 3D maps
  • Public transit line and routing in some cities
  • City pages of 50 plus popular cities showing local time and weather conditions, along with facts from Lonely Planet and suggested places
  • Live traffic flow
  • Public transport layer
  • Sync favourites with Nokia Maps on the web to the mobile phone
  • Heatmaps for areas with popular places, nightlife, shopping, and local sights in some cities
  • Listing and managing business through Nokia Prime Place

Maps by Apple

Maps is a mapping service application developed by Apple Inc for its iOS operating system. The application was featured since the first generation iPhone on June 29, 2007 which was powered by Google Maps. A new version was announced and is no longer powered by Google Maps and instead uses Apple's own mapping system with data provided by TomTom.

Features of Maps by Apple

  • Turn-by-turn spoken directions
  • Interactive 3D views
  • Flyover feature which allows on the top 3D viewing with zoom, pan, tilt, and rotate functions
  • Real-time traffic information
  • 3D views with additional information such as signs and arrows
  • Traffic information with calculated Estimated Time of Arrival
  • Siri connected
  • Local search with dialling capability, addresses, websites, Yelp ratings, and reviews

Mr Fiore ended his 5,000-mile journey on Tuesday and raised $65,000 out of his $75,000 goal.

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