May 27, 2011
The universal Maps+ app just arrived in the App Store. The app takes Google Maps and adds some interface improvements as well as a social sharing tool. Created by IZE, Ltd., the free app is for both the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. Maps+ allows users to browse Google’s four online maps: standard, satellite, hybrid, and terrain. As a nice touch, moving back and forth between each is as simple as swiping with three fingers up or down. This feature works best on the iPad; I found its use on the iPhone cumbersome at best due to the size of the screen. Next, the app makes sure you’ll never get lost. Tap on your current location to get more information about where you are. This includes coordinates, horizontal accuracy, altitude, and vertical accuracy. You can also use location-based alarms to remind yourself of tasks that are location specific. For example, when it is time to get off at a train station. Other features include:
Although Maps+ is free, it does come with a long list of limitations, which include:
- Get online route directions with alternatives. Add transit points to your routes and get bicycling directions (US only), too.
- Record and edit GPS tracks (available on devices with GPS).
- If your device supports multitasking then GPS track recording and alarm monitoring works while the app runs in the background, too. Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.
- Find out what people tweet around you and engage with them in a conversation. Log in to Twitter to view your friends' tweets on the map.
- Add labels to your bookmarks (alarms, pins, routes, tracks).
- Export your bookmarks (alarms, pins, tracks) to GPX via mail or iTunes.
- Import bookmarks by opening a GPX file with Maps+ using Safari, Mail or any other app that supports quick look.
- Link to alarms and pins. Open these links on your device to add them to your bookmarks in Maps+. Sample link: http://mapspl.us/pin?coordinates=37.331966,122.030232&name=Apple
- Simple and clean user interface: all features can be accessed via 1 button. You can put buttons on the map for those features that you use frequently.
For $2.99 these limitations can go away through an in-app purchase. Despite its limitations, I recommend Maps+ both for the iPhone and iPad. However, the jury is still out on whether the app's $2.99 in-app feature is worth it. It seems like a lot of money for abilities that should have been included for free. I would advise our readers to download and use the app and then decision if paying $3 to remove its limitations are worth it for your situation. What do you think? Leave your comments below.
- Labels are limited to 1.
- Pin bookmarks are limited to 3.
- Route bookmarks are limited to 1.
- Route transit points are limited to 2.
- Track bookmarks are limited to 1.
- Track recording is limited to 2 km.
- Alarm bookmarks are limited to 1.
- Importing bookmarks from GPX is disabled.
- Logging in to Twitter is disabled.