Best GPS App for Exploring Areas?

iOS and iPadOS

I have seen several GPS apps and have no idea which one would be best for what I'd like to do. I don't walk around town, but would like to explore different areas of the U.S. I'd like to be able to choose an area and then browse information for that area like businesses, streets, etc. This would be helpful for me as I travel some.

I would like to be able to look at an area without actually having to physically be there.

Any suggestions? I want an app that has the widest number of listings, as well.




Submitted by Larry Thacker Jr. on Monday, August 7, 2017

I have not used it extensively, but Nearby Explorer sounds like the best fit for what you want to do. You can virtually move along sreets and find out what is around. It's not cheap, but it's a one-time purchase that will cost you less than the same for Seeing Eye GPS.

Submitted by Imaginingstuff on Monday, August 7, 2017

You can simulate locations using blind squared. It will give you businesses, schools, transportation, parks, rivers, even apartments and addresses. While looking for a house I would put in the address and see all the things that were around it. It is cheap and fabulous.

Submitted by Ekaj on Monday, August 7, 2017

Thanks for these suggestions. This is along the same lines as me, pun intended. But I think my situation is a bit different in that I don't have very good independent travel skills anymore. I'm putting an iPhone on my Christmas list this year, and will definitely check out these 2 apps. I've been using my local ADA paratransit service for some things, and I think one or both these apps used in conjunction with each other would probably help me out a bit.

Submitted by Larry Thacker Jr. on Monday, August 7, 2017

I didn't mention BlindSquare for the reason that you can't navigate the streets virtually, but it does work well for finding out what is in an area. And for actual navigation, paring it with Google Maps does make a useable and more affordable solution than the full-featured navigation apps for the blind. I'd say it's the best way to quickly find nearby points of interest by category. I find myself most often using it to find food.

Submitted by Bellsfurmama on Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Does Blind Squared pull data from Google Maps? I am wondering because that would mean the info was updated and and info would be available for more locations.

Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, August 10, 2017

Last I checked, Blind Square can pull maps from the Open Street Maps, and places from Google and Four Square.

Submitted by Bellsfurmama on Thursday, August 10, 2017

What is Open Street Maps?

I am still confused on which app is better, Nearby or Blind Squared. I will only be able to afford one and so want to get the right one.

Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, August 10, 2017

Open Street Maps is an open source, in other words crowd sourced like Wikipedia, set of maps. Unlike commercial maps, users can change the maps and update them. The are free, so the app developer doesn't have to include a licence fee in the cost of the app. In my area, they are not as accurate as I would like, and that's why I tried Nearby Explorer instead of staying with Blind Square.

Nearby Explorer uses the Navtech maps. The maps are a part of the app's higher price tag. In my area the maps are more accurate and more complete. Since using Nearby Explorer, I have had a map update that made things even better here.

Blind Square downloads map data as you need it, and may consume some cellular data depending on how you use the app. Nearby Explorer installs maps when you first run the app, so no map data is downloaded during usage. The trade off here is that Nearby Explorer uses a lot of storage to hold all of that. In a recent update, they gave us the option of not installing the whole North American map set, and instead we could choose, Canada, USA, or all.

So, OSM is the data Blind Square uses to tell you what streets are around you. Google Places and Four Square tells the app what businesses and other points of interest are around you.