GPS capabilities have come a long way in a very short period of time, however, carrying a GPS unit can be quite a pain if you're on the go and already have enough items to haul around with you. But what would you say if I told you that a free program was available that can not only provide GPS directions for your GPS equipped phone, but could even offer GPS directions within 1000 meters of your distance without even having GPS built into your device? Well look no further, it turns out Google Maps for Windows Mobile Devices does just that.
Even more exciting is that the Google Maps program doesn't stop there, instead it offers the power of Google search, with the ability to use Enterprise strength capabilities right from your mobile device.
In this article we'll examine the capabilities of Google Maps, and by the time you've finished this article i'm positive you'll be running to your device and installing Google Maps without batting an eyelash.
Here are the main applications offered by Google Maps:
1. My Location Based Services:
Imagine sitting on a street corner, you really need to find the building your looking for, but all you have is an address, business name, or intersecting streets location. Not having a GPS or even a device with GPS capabilities you decide instead to pull up Google Maps, you type in the business name, address, or other information and a link pops up, after clicking on that link your location shows up and directions appears. Even though you don't have GPS capabilities on your device Google Maps is able to find your location within 1000 meters thanks to Location Based Services, this service triangulates your location by essentially "pinging" your device off several cell phone towers and determining an estimated distance from each tower, thus creating a general vicinity location at your current point. Sure its not perfected to within a couple of feet yet, but its quickly developing as a strong technology, and you don't need GPS installed on your device.
2. Cross-Platform Support:
Sure you can use My Location Based Services, however the platform for Google Maps is also very adaptable, the program can run off Windows Mobile device with built-in GPS such as the HTC TyTN II which uses a Sirf III GPS Processor, and it can operate with units that offer Assisted GPS (A-GPS), essentially the platform is adaptable to many possible configurations, including units sync'd to bluetooth GPS units such as the GlobalSat BT-359 bluetooth GPS receiver, or pretty much any GPS receiver that works with your device.
3. Maps And Satellite Views:
Variety is the spice of life, and the spice of Google Maps, not only can users view the standard street views as they can on popular units such as TomTom, they can also choose to look at a Satellite view which shows actual buildings, to zoom in and out of locations, and to basically get a better feel for the location in question, this is also a great feature considering the Location Based Services if not using GPS or A-GPS capabilities has a margin of error up to 1000 meters.
4. Business Listings With Auto Dial Capabilities:
Are you in the mood for a Starbucks? Don't know where the nearest Starbucks is? Want to call and make sure their still open? All of these questions can be answers with a simple Google Maps search, first My Location Based Services can find the location Starbucks by simply typing in the company name, you can then click on the location of your choice to auto dial the store, once you find out the store is still open you can easily click the directions link and find directions to the location from your current point of interest.
5. Turn By Turn Directions
TomTom offers it, Garmin charges for it, and now with Google Maps turn by turn directions are free and at your fingertips. Not really a lot more to say here, Google Maps guide you, you follow their directions, it's really that simple.
Do you live in a major metropolitan area? If you do Google Maps now lets you know when trains and buses will be coming by your current location, what locations you'll need to transfer at, and it even offers you Subway schedules to go along with your trip.
7. Real-Time Traffic Updates
Want to find out if your route will be blocked by traffic? Google Maps uses simple to follow color codes so users can easily receive real-time traffic updates and realize whether a new route is in order.
8. Bookmark Your Favorite Points Of Interest:
Using a playcard from Internet browsers, Google Maps for Windows Mobile cell phones allows users to bookmark their favorite points of interest, and then access them later to receive directions, phone numbers, and other helpful navigation and other information.
Those are some of the major features offered by Google Maps for Windows Mobile Phones. If you want simple navigation without carrying around a TomTom unit or some other add-on accessory Google Maps may be for you. It's simple, it's effective, and best of all it's free.