MapQuest is a free turn by turn navigation app that is an interesting alternative to Google Maps. It hails from the US, and in the UK is available through the iPhone app store. Android users can access it via the Market.

One of the interesting things about MapQuest is the way it prioritises the finding of point of interest. When you fire up a map a row along the bottom of the screen offers POI categories. Scroll vertically along it to see the full range, and tap a category to have finds plotted on a map. The idea is good but sadly the database seemed rather hit and miss tried on locations we know well. You can hide the POI lines by dragging a tab downwards to fill the screen with map.

MapQuest uses OpenStreetMap data which has good mapping of tracks and alleyways as well as roads. This is useful when walking. There’s a satellite view in addition to the streets view but this refused to load on our review handset. The menu offers a traffic information option too, but again this refused to work for us.

When entering locations for navigation there’s no smart searching. You have to type all of a street or place name in, then pick from the matches delivered. Thereafter turn by turn spoken instructions are clear and on screen visuals passable.

OUR VERDICT

MapQuest has potential but didn’t quite deliver on its promise for us. We do like the use of OpenStreetMap data when walking because of its good use of tracks and alleys.

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