HERE's offline maps let drivers find their way without a 3G signal
Nokia has released its HERE satnav app into the Google Play store. The app has long been available on Windows Phone handsets, and has been in beta test on selected Android devices for the past few months. Now, it’s been made available for general release on all compatible Android devices in the Google Play Store, with Nokia planning to release a version for iOS early next year.
The release of the Android app is particularly good news for those driving in areas with an iffy 3G signal. HERE maps is one of the few free satnav services that allows you to download maps for offline use on your device, unlike Google’s own Maps satnav or the popular Waze, which both rely on an active data connection to get you going.
Maps can be downloaded for entire continents, individual countries or even cities in selected countries. You’ll need some serious phone storage if you’re planning to download maps for the whole of Europe, however, which weighs in at almost 10GB! The whole of the UK requires a much more practical 673MB of free storage space, although you can download the individual countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) if space is particularly tight on your handset.
Nokia HERE offers turn-by-turn voice guidance, speed limit warnings and live traffic data – although it doesn’t reroute around traffic jams as they occur, which is a useful feature offered by Google Maps and Waze. The app also allows users to download “hi-fi” voices that offer superior quality to the rather scratchy voice instructions that are installed by default. These are free and will take up another 55MB of storage space.
In addition to the driving instructions, Nokia HERE maps also provides directions for those using public transport – with live updates on delays to trains and buses – and for those on foot. The app also lets you temporarily share your location with friends, so if you’re on your way to meet someone, they can check your progress via an online map.
The HERE mapping department was left behind after Microsoft bought Nokia’s handset division last year. Given Windows Phone’s deplorable market share, the company has now decided to focus its development efforts on Android and iOS.