Once and for all, what's the best navigation app?
Submitted by Cliff on Thursday, May 16, 2013.
iOS & iPadOS
Ok, once and for all, which is the best navigation app? I need something to get me from point A to point B when walking in the city. That's it! I've tried ariadne, which don't give me any description of the route, unless I wanna take a shortcut over the rooftops and through walls. Also downloaded BlindSquare, which also is of no particular use when it comes to getting directions while walking. So I've been thinking about spending my money on either navigon or tomtom. Is those the best there is? Does one have any benefits to the other? To say it more directly, which one is the best? I live in Norway, so I'm also not sure if tomtom will work here... I know navigon does. Is one of them better on accessibility than the other? Is there any other good apps that has turn by turn navigation that might be even better spent money than the two I consider buying? I've also considered waiting for the sendero app to be released, but I'm beginning to get tired of waiting and its getting more and more urgent to find my way around the city now. And for what I understand, this app is predicted to get rather on the expensive side... So, what's the best? What's the absolute answer to this topic, once and for all? ;over to you, guys! Shoot! :)
Hi Cliff. If only there were a simple one-app answer to that question, but sadly not, lol. The concensus seems to be that Navigon is the best option for turn-by-turn. I have it myself and find that all menus, options etc. are fully VoiceOver friendly. The maps themselves though are purely visual, you can't explore the map with your finger like in Apple Maps for example. I generally use it in combination with Blind Square, which will run in the background and give you some additional information like cross-streets etc. The two apps work pretty well together. It's not a perfect solution, for example Navigon won't always immediately tell you which direction to start walking when you start, and I find that Blind Square will announce all of the streets at a T-junction or cross-roads but not make it clear which road is which. But they're a decent combination overall. Maybe combining Apple Maps ability to explore the map could help too, but I haven't tried that really while out and about...so who knows. Oh yeah, Navigon also has the ability to run simulations with the voiced instructions, so you can check out the route in advance, which I like a lot. Yeah, hopefully the new Sendero app will do everything we need, but who knows when those of us in Europe will get it. Hope this helps, though it probably hasn't, lol! Dave
Thanks a lot, Dave! That helped indeed, and I think I probably have to go with navigon then. Actually good to hear that one of the European users of navigon also says it's mostly accessible, cause most of the comments I've read earlier about it, has been related to the version for north America. So I wasn't completely sure if the European navigon was the exact same interface and therefore would be just as accessible as the one for north America, but I guess it is. Is there any good reason why I should buy tomtom instead? Could any of you tomtom users comment on that before I go ahead and purchase navigon? Oh yes, another thing, do you in navigon have access to the map data in offline mode, or do you need an Internet connection to use it? Thanks in advance! :)
Hi Cliff. No problem. Yes you have access to the maps and turn-by-turn etc. even if your offline. You download the maps to the phone. Basically there is a tab called Map Manager where you will see a list of all the countries in Europe. You just download the ones you want. It's great actually. I'm in Ireland so only keep that on the phone, but when I went on holidays to Spain last year I was able to easily go in and download the maps for Spain and delete them again when I got home. Norway is 55MB. There are Points of Interest built into it, but where I am at least, they're pretty limited. However they have recently incorporated 4Square POI's too which is a big improvement. I'm not sure if they require an internet connection or not though.
Dave! I went ahead and bought navigon Europe! And as you said, it was pretty straight forward to download my map. But there's a few things I haven't figured out yet. I was hoping that there was some kind of instructions or manual either inside the app or on the navigon website, but I can't find anything. Do you know of any great resources to learn this thing or could you give me a few clues? The thing I really need to find out is how to review the planned route as a list before leaving home. Is that possible? I've saved my position as home and I've put in the street address to my closest supermarket and hit start navigation. After a while the lady said turn left, and then she shut up again, and I can't figure out if I can repeat the message or review the whole route before I start walking. I notice that if I switch it to carmode, I'll get a whole load of other options to choose from, and then I can see a list of the directions. But I guess the driving directions will take me on a much longer trip than necessary when walking, so that's probably not what I'd want... I also tried to go to the route feature and add my supermarket there, but I couldn't figure out how to start the navigation from there.. So I think there's some basic navigon skills I've missed out on this far. Any suggestions to where I can learn the basics or a few hints to get me started would be highly appreciated! :) Thanks in advance!
Hiya Cliff. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get directions in a list either. It's a feature I'd really like now you mention it, so maybe we should contact them and suggest it. (If we can figure out how to contact them that is!). I sometimes use the Apple Maps app to get a list, but it's not ideal really. Ok, the Route feature: You have to add more than one route point. So in your example, select Specify Route Point and choose / enter your home address in the menus. Then select Specify Route Point again and choose /enter the supermarket in the menus. Then on the Route screen you will have a new button called Calculate the Route. Press this and it will ask you to choose Vehicle or Pedestrian and displays a map. If you flick around the screen you should hear the distance and expected journey time, as well as the Start Navigation button and in the bottom right of the screen, a button called More. This gives you several options including Simulation. It's not a list but at least gives you a run through of the route with the spoken instructions you will get on the real journey. It's sped up of course. You can add more points to a route if you wish, either if you want to stop off somewhere else along the way or make sure that it sends you a particular way that you are more familiar with for example. On the Route screen there is an Edit button which lets you change the order of your route points and delete individual points. You can also save routes. Personally, when it comes to actually making the journey, I don't tend to use the Route feature because I want the navigation to start from my current position. So I just go back to the main screen, (the tab called Map), and select the address or POI I want to go to and press Start Navigation. Again you can add additional route points if you want. After choosing your destination and pressing Start Navigation, press the Options button and select Add Intirim Destination. I'm not aware of any podcasts I'm afraid, expcept for the one on this website which just appeaars to show you how to enter an address. If you've any other questions don't hesitate to ask, I'm no expert on it but I'll do my best :) If you want to Skype me or anything find me on Twitter @davidnason1 Hope you find the app useful.
I think tom tom is the best navigation app.
Umm, Isaac... any chance you could give us a bit more info there??
Hi again, Dave! Thank you so much for your great tips on getting started with navigon! Actually, that helped a lot! but of course, as the nagging kind of chap I am, I have a few more questions, if it's okay..? The simulation of route feature is a great substitute for a list of directions, at least until we can manage to contact them to get the list feature implemented in future releases. Two questions regarding simulation, and I'm afraid your answer will be no to both of them. First, is it possible to start the simulation after just entering an address to start the navigation, or do you have to go through the creating of an actual route to be able to start the simulation? And second, is it somehow possible to control the playback of the simulation, like pausing, speed of announcements and repetition of the last spoken announcement? Another thing I'm wondering about, is if there's a way of choosing different routes to one destination. I have for instance a shortcut I can take when walking to my supermarket, which will cut the walking time into half. But still when choosing pedestrian mode, navigon sends me on a much longer route. I think maybe the problem is that my shortcut isn't marked on the map as a real road. Or I think maybe my sighted girlfriend told me that parts of the shortcut is a road on the map, but that there's a few gaps in the road, each of them just 10 or 20 meters, but that's probably enough to make navigon choose a different route. even though the road is quite ok in real life, only with some stretches being gravel. So is it a way to force the app to send you on a particular route, in my example the unmarked shortcut? Because of trying to figure this one out, I looked into the route settings, and there's my last question. What's the difference between optimal, short and fast route? At least that's what I think those might be in the English translation. The last option, which I think is sceneric, is pretty self explanatory, but the first three options is kind of the same thing in my head... And lastly, the options where you allow highways and ferris and such... What is the last option good for there? I think it is just below ferris, and I have no idea of how to translate that option in English, cause I don't even know what that word means in norwegian. Haha... But that option is set to don't allow as standard, so I thought maybe, and just maybe, that it needs to be allowed to let me take the shortcut, but that seemed to make no difference... Oh, sorry, I just remembered another question, and this is the last for now, I promise! Haha... If I want to just go for a walk around the neighbourhood and maybe an hour later end up at my house again, just for the sake of getting a little exercise and some sunlight as a bonus... Hehe... Heard a lot rather convincing thoughts on the concept of exercising, and thought maybe I'd try it out some day... Haha... Anyway, how do I do that? Is it as easy as adding maybe 4 or 5 points to a route with my home address both as the first and the last point in the route? Or is there another way of doing that? Maybe a combination of using apple maps to check out the neighbourhood and find some keyspots to bring over to navigon when planning the route would be a good idea..? Wow, this got too long indeed... Maybe I should have picked you up on your kind skype offer after all... :) Well, hope you have the time to help out in one way or another. I'm so looking forwards to being more independent in finding my way around by my self! I just love 2013! Haha... By the way, you find me on Facebook by searching for cliff isaksen, and I think that will work for skype as well :)and that goes for the rest of you applevisers too! Add me if you'd like. And my twitter name is super_cliff. All the best!
Hi Cliff, apologies for the delay, I've been sick the last couple of days. Ok here goes, I'm not as expert as I'd like to be but I'll do my best :) - As far as I can tell, no. You do seem to have to create a route to use the simulation. - Again no, there is no way I can find to pause or change the speed of the simulation. However there is a Repeat Last Instruction button, so have a play with that and see if gives you more regular instructions. This button is there on both simulations and real time journeys. - Maybe there's a better way, but if I want to be sent a different way to the default, I add an additional route point, thereby telling it to take me from point A to point B via point C. I'm not sure how else you can do it, but if there's a point along your shortcut that you could add in, maybe that'll work? - I was just looking at those route profile options again the other day too, and like you I have absolutely no idea what the difference is between Optimum, Short and Fast :) It's also not even 100% clear in my opinion if it applies to pedestrian mode or just vehicles. - The other options I have in this menu are: Motorways (which is our name for Highways), Toll Roads, Ferries, and Restricted Areas, so probably best to forbid those :) Beneath those I have the option to choose between Pedestrian and Pedestrian with voice announcements, which of course I have enabled. Because I purchased the public transport add-on, I also have an option for customising that. - As for the last question, yeah I guess you're right, the thing to do would be to pick some points and create the route you want. Maybe plan that carefully though, you wouldn't want to rely too heavily on this app :) All of your usual mobility rules still apply! But yeah, it's pretty amazing the stuff we have available now :)
Hi again! Thanks a lot! I so appreciate your feedback!, Dave! Me and my girlfriend actually went out walking the route to the supermarket today, and we tried saving a route point for almost every turn on the way, and especially where the shortcut stops being a legal road on the map and 10 meters later when it again is a road on the map, but that didn't work either... I tried simulating the route, and it brought me to where the gap in the road is on the map, and then it redirected me on a lung jurney around the neighbourhood to get to the next point on my route that was 10 meters ahead on the other side of the gap in the road. I'm actually thinking about the possibility to report the gap, and have them fix it, an maybe that would be the only way to get the shortcut to work in a navigation. But I'm not sure if that even is possible to do... But I took a taxi home from work today, and they always have trouble finding my address... So when the driver again started swearing today, I fired up navigon, and within 5 minutes after doing that, I was home! Must admit I was quite impressed! But one more thing though: You said that you could get the last announcement repeated also in pedestrian mode... I haven't figured out how to do that... To me it seems like there's some other options available when driving, and then I can find the repeat button.. But I'm not able to repeat anything while in pedestrian mode... Are you sure that is possible to do? And also, when heaving back from the supermarket today, the lady only gave me two directions before she went completely dead, and I couldn't find a way to wake her up again... Seems like the speech is pretty unreliable sometimes, even though I have 4G connection in my area when walking... Have you ever experienced this behaviour, where the misses completely stops talking in the middle of the route? Not fun to be sick, man... Hope you're feeling better now :) All the best
Hey Cliff, yeah feeling all better today I'm glad to say, thanks. Yeah it sounds like your shortcut just isn't recognised as a path on the map, so getting the map fixed may be the only solution. Being a major mapping company, I'm sure there's some way of reporting errors to them, though I don't know details right now. That's great about the taxi, I can relate to that problem :) Yeah I've definitely used the repeat instruction button in pedestrian mode. It's one flick right from the options button I think. I think you have to have begun moving on the journey or something, because I just tried it there now while sitting in my living room and I can't find it, but I've definitely used it before. It's also there in simulation mode. It's usually ok but yeah occasionally it does go a bit mad and stop working. I don't know if it's because it's lost the connection or what, it's rare but it's annoying. That's why it can be good to use something like Blind Square along with Navigon. Happy walking. Dave.
PS: I just checked a route that I walk regularly without the aid of a navigation app, which involves a shortcut. It's a footpath that goes alongside a tram line for a couple of hundred metres and so is only for pedestrians, there is no road. The footpath is well fenced and in perfectly good condition. But guess what, Navigon ignores it and tries to send me around the long way as if I was in a car.