Another free mobile mapping solution, this time from Nokia. From tomorrow (Saturday February 10th), their Smart2Go platform and service will provide mapping in over 150 countries and over 1000 cities with full support for turn-by-turn GPS satellite navigation. It will also show users Points of Interest (POI) in their area and provide routes to get them there.
What I particularly like about this solution (over, say, Google Maps for Mobiles or Microsoft Live! Maps) is that it’s a hybrid solution that minimises the cost of mobile downloads. As well as being downloadable directly to a mobile phone, map data from Tele-Atlas and Nav-Teq can also be downloaded to a PC and uploaded to the phone’s memory. Once in memory, no network connection or data plan is required for mapping, routing and navigation. This is an effective and elegant solution – although when I tried to use the PC-based MapLoader software, it did not appear to be configurable for traversing proxy servers (which will make it less practical to use in educational institutions, until this oversight is remedied).
The Smart2Go application will run on Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile 5.0 devices initially, and will come pre-installed on all future NokiaN-Series mobile phones. For mobile devices equipped with GPS, there is an optional upgrade available at a small cost to turn the Smart2Go application into a full voice-guided GPS turn-by-turn navigation system.
I won’t be able to comment on the quality of the application or the maps until I get a chance to try them out (when the product launches tomorrow), but the hybrid solution used by Smart2Go, minimising downloads, could make this the most practical solution for educators interested in providing their students with low (or zero) cost electronic maps for location-based or situated learning.