‘Hell no, gMaps‘ is the answer to a question i put to almost every WP7 user I meet – ‘Do you use Bing maps as your primary navigation client?”. (Lets not talk about Nokia Maps and Drive, i’ll cover that in a future post) As I understand it, Bing Maps work great in the US and few other parts of the world but for the rest, gMaps is King!
gMaps is one of the best Windows Phone 7 clients for Google Maps. Published by author Alexey Strakh, this nifty Navigation tool comes in a free, ad supported and a pro/paid, ad free version. The free version is good for all WP7 or higher devices while the pro version is for all devices running WP7.5 or higher.
gMaps is a complete replacement for your Bing maps and comes with a whole bunch of other useful features. This app delivers the full Google Maps experience, with its pinch-to-zoom, local business search and navigation.
Here’s what you’ll find when you open up gMaps:
- track me on the bottom left – Tracks and zooms into your current location
- layers on the top right (A lot of these layers aren’t available in India but work completely fine in other countries)
- Traffic Layer
- Transport layer
- Bicycle layer
- Weather layer
- Latitude layer
- + and – at the bottom right to zoom.
- a menu bar at the bottom with the following options
- Street View
- My Places
When you search for a location, you get to see the address of what you searched for as well as directly call them if a number is available. You can choose to get directions for driving, walking, cycling or public transport to your destination. You can add the location you searched for to your favourites for next time or pin it as a live tile for quick access.
Tap the Discover icon on the bottom menu bar to quickly discover local places like cafes, film theatres, supermarkets and more. You can even add a custom view to discover locations of your choice.
With gMaps, you can now share a route to a location with your friends. gMaps takes a screen shot of the route and lets you Email it!
One of the best features of gMaps is the driver mode. In this mode, the current position is centered on the map and rotated to the forward direction which points to the top. This mode prevents you from searching or using any gestures so the driver can stay focused on driving!
Hands down the best navigation app for me by far. The only thing missing is turn-by- turn navigation, which has received quite a number of votes as a must have feature and is a strong contender for a future roll out.