With Google Maps gaining something of a monopoly for navigation apps, a few lesser known apps tend to go a bit under the radar. So perhaps instead of just automatically defaulting to Google Maps (as good as it is), first take a look at a few other navigation tools to see whether any of them are more up your street, and would be of better specific use to your navigating needs.
We’re going to give you an outline of several apps to help find your way, so take a seat, get the app store at the ready and throw that A-Z away…
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Let’s start with the occasions when you REALLY need help with directions. In a foreign country. You could be lost in the middle of an Eastern European land where you don't even understand the road signs. And we all know how expensive data roaming can be when abroad, so simply looking it up on the internet may not be an option.
CoPilot is for such instances. It only needs to be downloaded once and then it’s there permanently. It will give sat-nav style voice directions for every corner you go round, as well as features which save routes and addresses for future use. Re-routing systems are available for when you miss a turn, and lane guidance when you’re on the motorway.
The app will cost you about £20 on the Apple store, but it also works on Android and Windows phones. And if you go away a lot it may be a very helpful app to have.
A free to download app for all major phone operating systems, Waze is designed precisely with traffic updates in mind. Using information obtained by other drivers using the app, Waze delivers warnings of hazards, road closures and speed cameras, along with icons to show how long traffic queues are by having a red line representing the queue stretching as far back as the traffic goes.
Not only this, but if need be the app can re-route your journey in advance to avoid traffic or accidents. You’re also able, and it’s probably only fair, to complete the Waze circle of duty by reporting traffic incidents so other Waze users are aware too.
Waze will even tell you what time you need to leave if you give it the destination and when you’ve got to be there, and it will take into account the situation on the roads.
For when you’re organising a road trip with various stops along the way, inRoute creates the optimum course to navigate between up to 5 places. It then provides details of useful points of interest, such as restaurants, petrol stations and hotels; either at one of your stop-off destinations are just along the journey.
Live weather updates mean inRoute can adapt your route to make for improved driving conditions. For instance, it’s doubtful you’d want to drive on a narrow, country road if it was dark and misty. This app gives you a better navigation alternative if there is one.
So far everything mentioned is available in a free app, but for just under £10, you can unlock the ability to add up to 25 stops in a journey and a feature to put your stops into an order which allows for the fastest, most fuel-efficient trip.
Not all navigation apps are for in cars. Some people need maps when out walking or biking. Komoot supplies the perfect app for these people.
It gives various path options depending on your fitness so there’s no need to panic about picking a route which is too difficult for your abilities. High up in the hills as you will probably be, it works offline, and provides features such as distance still to travel, elevation and the type of terrain.
The first map you download is free, but after that it will cost between £5 and £10 depending on the area map you want to buy; areas with lots of hills will cost more. If you want to purchase the premium all-region package, the price will be in excess of £20. But bearing in mind this includes a number of countries around the world, it would be worthwhile going premium.
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