Based on the world-class NAVTEQ mapping data used in 90% of in-car navigation systems in the world, HERE Maps from Nokia is finally out for iOS platforms, including iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Released as a free download to entice Apple customers to switch from the mothership’s mapping solution, “HERE Maps helps you feel like a local anywhere you go,” according to the iTunes App Store description.
The app pinpoints your location to let you search and discover nearby places, and you can “collect” places and store them for later reference.
“Explore new destinations and know instantly how to get there on foot, by car or on public transport,” says Nokia.
That’s right! As revealed last week, Nokia HERE comes with public transportation and driving directions. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You can save map areas and “wander without data coverage,” in what would be described as “offline maps” in short.
In select countries, users can access community maps created and updated by others. Sharing functions include SMS, email, and social networks.
Users can sign in to HERE Maps with their Nokia Account or Facebook login, and they can also sync with Here.net to access their Collections on the go.
HERE also offers step-by-step voice-guided walk navigation, including through pedestrian routes, parks, alleyways, and more.
The interface, however, is a different matter altogether. Even objectively speaking, HERE presents customers with a primitive Nokia-style UI that leaves much room for improvement.
If this is the answer to Apple’s allegedly-flawed Maps, then we seriously need to reconsider our evaluation methods for mobile mapping services.
On the good side, you can never have too many alternatives, and while Google’s web app is probably enjoying a good dose of popularity on iOS 6, a lot of iDevice owners have already grown fond of Apple’s own Maps. At least Cupertino took proper care of the interface.