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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why Nokia N9 Maps is Better (and Worse)

Yesterday, I took the Nokia N9 out for a spin and noticed that the app is very different to the Ovi Maps that I was used to on the Nokia N8 and Nokia E72. Over the years, Nokia has made vast improvements on the Nokia Maps application but now with a Meego operating system on the Nokia N9, it seems they started Maps all over again with mixed results. Here are the pros and cons of the Maps / Drive applications on the N9 compared to what you may be used to on Nokia Maps on Symbian.

What's better than Nokia Maps?

1. Trip logging. As soon as you open Drive, the application starts to log your distance and time travelled without asking you to do anything yet. This is very useful and is well displayed on the bottom of the screen.
2. Better route browsing. Once you set a route, you can easily move around the map and see the surrounding context of the journey that you are going to take. Zooming in and out is also much easier than on Nokia Maps
3. New Map Twisting. You can turn the map around by using your thumb and forefinger to twist the map in Maps mode, but this does not work in Drive mode.
4. Navigation in the Live Preview screen. When you are switching between applications on the Open Applications view and you are currently using Drive, you can see that in the Drive application window, a miniature screen of the navigation continues to show you where to go with a live feed from the application.
5. Search results displayed on the Map. If you search for a destination and various items come up, you don't just get a list but also a preview screen of the map where that particular location is. When you are looking through the search results, the map zooms out and then zooms back into the new search result. This makes it easier for you to figure out which destination search result you want to go to.

What's missing with Maps/Drive on N9?

1. Time to destination is missing, only counts down in units of measurement km/miles
2. No traffic reports and therefore no option for rerouting due to traffic
3. No lane guidance on highways
4. No choosing of alternative route
5. No speed warnings (some may consider this a feature)
6. No choice about how to navigate such as shortest distance, fastest route or optimised.
7. No text-to-speech for street names which is new on Nokia Maps 3.08 for Symbian

If you can see any other obvious differences between N9 maps and Ovi/Nokia Maps, leave a comment!


  1. It also does not have text-to-speech for spoken street names which to me is quite a big negative compared to the Symbian version.

    But I do love the #2 point you made about it being better to navigate while you are being guided. I love how you can freely move the map around which the Symbian version doesn't allow you to do while being guided.

  2. I have posted about the lack of text-to-speech to Dan Martins on Ovi Blog.