GLOBAL – Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps are both awesome pieces of software, and we’re making them freely available with Nokia Lumia 800 — so it’s an even more amazing value. Maps on the phone are a way of plugging you in to the places, sights and things around you, letting you be a local anywhere. Today, I’m going to take a tour of Maps to show you what I mean.
Hit the tile with the compass logo to start the app and the first thing you see shows your position as a green dot on a beautifully rendered map. On the right is a matching green dot, a plus and minus sign and a settings button.
The top green dot is like a home button — whenever you want to recenter the map on your position, just tap it and the map will scroll back to show you exactly where you are. The plus and minus signs allow you to zoom in and out of the map quickly and smoothly — or, of course, you can also use the phone screen’s pinch-to-zoom functionality. In my opinion, it’s the best zoom experience I’ve ever had on a mobile mapping app.
The settings button lets you switch between three different map views. The map view shows street names, buildings, and roads, and the satellite view shows top-down aerial photography. Transit, the third view, shows public transport routes superimposed on the map — so you if you want to get around using the metro, say, you can see exactly what your options are.
Nokia Maps doesn’t just help you get around, it also helps you learn more about the places around you. At the bottom of the screen you’ll find, from left to right, a magnifying glass, map pin and star symbols. The magnifying glass makes it easy to find what you’re looking for — like an address, street name, business, zip code, point of interest or landmark.
When you search for something, the screen quickly brings up a list of locations to help you narrow down your selection. Tap one, and the map zooms in on the location so that you know exactly where it is. If you’re not looking for anything specific, but you just want to know what’s around you, tapping the pin icon brings up a list of the top 25 nearby restaurants, bars, attractions and so on.
When you tap on the label, Maps tells you more about the place. If it’s a business, you can see reviews, pictures people have taken, contact information and opening hours. With one tap, you can get directions, too, and Maps will find the best route from wherever you’re starting from.
If it’s a place you want to save or share, you can also pin the location to your home screen, giving you one-touch access to it at any point in the future. You can also add it to your favorites, or share it in seconds via email, text message, or social networks.
Like the People Hub, Nokia Maps is an engaging, intuitive way to find out more about what’s going on around you. You’ll quickly find yourself immersed in finding cool places, exploring new cities and rediscovering your local neighborhood. You might even feel lost without it — but, because the price of the Nokia Lumia 800 includes maps, you’ll never have to.