Over the weekend, I brought the family on a road trip out of town to check out a piece of land we were planning to develop. I was able to find the place on Google Maps, and I’ve been checking out possible routes. I planned to use the mobile Google Maps application with my Smartphone’s GPS, since I’ve already tried it within the city and it worked like a charm.
I learned that traveling outside of Manila, Google Maps worked like a charm, too. When I first got to know Google Maps about four or five years back, it only had some satellite imagery of the Metro areas. Now it has street data, establishments, and even user-inputted information.
If your phone is GPS-enabled, Google Maps will track your direction and movement, as long as you have GPS satellites within line of sight.
What’s great is that some network providers (like Smart) have unlimited 3G plans even on prepaid. So traveling all day shouldn’t be a problem. You would just need to be sure you have a decent signal (both GPS and 3G), and enough battery charge (or that you can plug in your mobile phone with a car charger).
We only missed one turn, because I was having connection problems at that time. We also encountered a one-way street. If only Google Maps had traffic information, life would’ve been easier. But still, we were able to navigate through the place without having to ask for directions. One of my kids had fun watching the blue blip travel through the lines representing the roads, and approach the star (since I previously starred the exact point we were supposed to visit). The application even knows the direction you’re traveling toward, since the blip is actually an arrow!
So the PROs of this are:
– It’s cheap
– It’s fast if you’re traveling in 3G-enabled locations
– It’s handheld (you can use it while walking)
– It’s pretty accurate!
As for CONs, I could think of a few:
– Small screen (would depend on your Smartphone)
– You need to set up your phone before your trip, to make sure it works
– No traffic data
– No directions
Perhaps if Google were to add more layers of information, particularly traffic and directions, Google Maps would be a viable alternative to those expensive navigation systems offered by auto dealerships.