Saturday, September 29, 2012

The New Apple Maps

I loved the old Maps program, based on the Google database, but I love the new one so much more.  At the time I'm writing this, I'm on the road, visiting book stores and doing book signings half-way across the country from home.  I downloaded the IOS 6 update with motel wifi and updated my phone and iPad when it came out.  Almost before the update completed, there were a flood of articles bad-mouthing the new Maps.  I even made the bookmark to the Google maps web-app, like people suggested.

However, once I started using the Apple Maps, I never was even tempted to use the Google link, or the Navigon full featured app that I spent good money for a long time ago.  The Apple Maps is just too easy to use.

I've used Navigon once -- just to try it out.  It works fine, but choosing a destination was difficult.  I never bothered.  On the Maps app, I can say "Route me to Chamberlain, South Dakota" and I can have spoken turn by turn directions with no other input.  Or I can scroll through the maps and type "Books" in the search field to have pins pop up for all the bookstores.  I select one of the pins and tap the crooked arrow icon to get my directions.  This is how I hop-scotched up the coast from California to Seattle, stopping at any bookstores I could find.

Most of the gripes about the app are with the database of locations driving it.  Yes, I saw a couple of errors.  Usually one location and a duplicate from the Yelp database for the same store.  If I'd have been on top of things I should have tapped the "Report a Problem" button to flag the bad ones to improve the database, but I didn't notice that option.

But the thing is, ALL maps have errors.  Even the glorified Google Maps.  Up until a few weeks ago, Google insisted that My House was a retail bookstore.  I received any number of phone calls by people calling me, looking for books.  I had to go report the issue and get the bad listing scrubbed.  That has to happen with all databases.

So, aware there might be errors, I happily continue my trip, using Apple Maps, because no other app works as well.


Apple Maps said...

Thanks for sharing the blog. iPhone 5 users happy with the new user interface design and new look but criticized because of its lack of local transit recommendations in Apple Maps application. I would prefer Google Maps until i get version of apple maps for my iPhone 5.

Henry Melton said...

It's really a matter of usability. Apple has moved the bar, and although I've been testing out the alternatives, Apple Maps wins all the time. I'm saying this after three weeks of living in the drivers seat and traveling thousands of miles visiting bookstores the Maps program has revealed to me.