You might think that when it comes to mapping apps there isn’t much that needs to be done beyond displaying the current location as well as roads and other important landmarks around the world. Google’s Android app just goes to prove that even a relatively simple sounding map tool can be so much more, as it packs navigation, traffic information, 3D views and Street View into one essential tool.
Many mobile users will use maps to determine where they currently are and how to get from A to B. even if you don’t have a GPS enabled device, Google Maps can use nearby wifi access points to work out where you are and then provide you with turn by turn navigation to the destination of your choice. With the option to search for places and businesses, you can easily track down restaurants, landmarks and more, and discover how to get there.
If you don’t need turn by turn navigation you can opt to simple generate directions and the new Compass Mode can prove useful to help you to work out which way you are facing and which way you need to head. Support for Google Latitude makes it possible to find out where you are in relation to your friends and layers can be used to view maps in different ways, adding useful information such as traffic and more.
The latest version of the app adds support for the NFS chip found in some Android devices which could be used to share information between devices, or to activate location based offers. Three dimensional maps provide a great way to get our bearing and find out what’s nearby while the ever-useful Street View options makes it easier than ever to work out where you are and recognise where you need to be heading. Offline caching means that mapping is available even when you don’t have an internet connection.