In my continuing quest to look at new navigation titles for the iPhone, I came across Mobile Maps 2009 (North American edition) from Sygic. This title comes to us from the Slovak Republic and has a definite European feel. Let’s take a quick look…
Mobile Maps 2009 has a feel that immediately struck me as similar to the feel I got with the products from Nav-N-Go (award winning navigation and games software company out of Hungary) as well as an older title for Windows Mobile devices that was called Mapopolis. The program has a nice feel to it, but there are still a few rough edges, like European-style road speed signs instead of U.S. style ones, but the overall look and approach is impressive.
Here are a few initial observations:
To start, Sygic Mobile Maps seems to start much more quickly than many similar apps. The icons are colorful, and the main map display is basically clean and attractive.
The app does, unfortunately, have an annoying tendency to crash, especially when I cross a state line, but the app can be restarted quickly and it always allowed me to continue navigating without having to re-enter the route information. The route, once completed, didn’t automatically disappear. It stayed active until I manually cancelled it.
My initial looks at the maps seem to indicate a little more data scrubbing might be needed. In a few places I saw incorrect road names in use – often carried over from the neighboring state or simply nearby roads.
There was also an interesting quirk when I plotted a route that crossed the Alabama/Mississippi state line – at the state line itself there was a route step called “UMS Frontier Crossing” that coincides with the actual state line. That’s a little disconcerting and unclear since it’s only a state line being crossed.
The app spells out what it doesn’t have a recording for. Unfortunately , that means “County Hwy 39″ becomes “C”-”O”-”U”-”N”-”T”-”Y” “H”-”W”-”Y” “39″. That could use a little cleanup!
My initial routing trials were acceptable, but not necessarily the route I would choose. I have to spend some more time with the various routing choices to draw any real conclusions, however.
Lastly, I haven’t found a good way to control the default zoom level. It’s zoomed a little too far out for my taste, but other than to tell it to “auto” zoom in and out of each route step, I haven’t found much control over the level yet.
My overall initial reaction is that this is a potentially very cool navigation program that needs a just a little massaging for the American market. We’ll be taking a closer look at it in a full review very soon!