Actually, that is a great question pmgreen
. So, I did my "search" and found an interesting article (below). I'm sure other's will jump in shortly...
- I recently had to drive a long distance to a very unfamiliar area. I also had to do this with my Grandmother in the car. My Grandmother is unique to me because unlike most elderly people Iíve met, she doesnít immediately dismiss technology like GPS. (Before I offend people of a certain age, I would like to point out there is a sizeable senior population that does embrace technology and attempts to stay on the cutting edge with the rest of us) We got in the car and it was my phone versus her Tom Tom. My phone won, not just because I was driving, because I showed her a way to hook the auxiliary of my phone into my car. On the ride we had rockiní tunes and a GPS lady to tell us where to go.
When I arrived at my destination, a few things clicked for meÖ
* Navigation got me exactly where I wanted to go without making me drive past my location
* Navigation was a safer way for me to drive
* Navigation gave accurate directions in a timely fashion
Ever the analytic person, I immediately formulated plans to use Maps to get us back home in order to form a comparison of the two programs. Of course my knowledge of the Los Angeles freeway system skewed the data, but I canít drop the topic.Fundamental Differences between Maps and Navigation
I think itís important to look at the functions of the two programs and see what they are actually used for. Yes, Maps does deliver directions to your phone (and if you have an Android, this process is actually doable without too much of a headache), but the directions have often sent me out of the way. Itís my own fault for not researching the location before just getting in the car and driving, but the point is that as a navigation device, Maps does not always give you the most efficient route (even when you specifically ask it to).
The directions function is also not very useful for Maps if you think about it. How can I safely navigate a freeway going 65 (or faster) while I scroll through my directions looking for an exit? Therefore, an important part of using Maps involves having a ďnavigatorĒ sitting in the car with you. This is where Navigation comes in.
Was Maps really intended to be used as a GPS navigator? With Latitude, Maps becomes an easy way to get you to a friendís house (or an event a friend is attending), thus eliminating lots of time plugging a location into the Androidís somewhat clunky (and laggy) text keyboard. The app itself does not speak to you, and when it first debuted all but the smartest of phones couldnít actually use the Location function. However, Navigation seems to forget about Latitude, even if you choose to use it to locate your friend. I have not yet experienced this issue, but I have to askÖ What if your friend leaves while you are en route, will the route track them or the place they were at when you told Navigation to find him or her?
Maps also taps into a little bit of the Yelp user base by providing end user reviews of the places you are visiting. Latitude is like a social network when you use it to send shout outs to your friends and configure profile information. Overall, Maps has shown a lot of evolution as opposed to Navigation, an app that really only does one thing. It's also worth noting that Navigation and Maps do sometimes work together (like a search done in Maps will reveal user reviews AND the option to "navigate" to your location)
Navigation | the Power of Voice
I am not going to spend this section going head over heels for the computer voice, itís really nothing special. The point is that the app will interrupt my Androidís processes to deliver a voice instruction on what to do next. Now my Hero is a true GPS unit/MP3 player. (Take that Tom Tom!) Sprint Navigation will also speak instructions to you, but lacks the ability to communicate with Google and loses out on a few key features (like My Location and Latitude).
My favorite component of the voice is the timing that the directions are given to you. I find myself trying to anticipate where the directions will lead me (remember, with Maps Iím hurriedly glancing back and forth between the screen and the road), but Navigation reads my location well enough to prompt me a good quarter mile before I actually have to act. In LA traffic, this is a god send!
Add layers to the mix and Navigation just keeps getting better. First, scope out your traffic with the traffic layer and switch to an alternate route if the flow is too congested. This is all done in just a few taps and does not take nearly as long to load as Maps does. Getting Around | Maps or Navigation?
I think a well balanced combination of the two apps is critical to successfully navigating unfamiliar territory. Use Navigation to get there, use Maps to get around. Navigation isnít built to give instruction on foot (it can, itís just not very useful). Maps is better suited to this purpose, reading your location for information like nearest train stations or restaurants.