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Can you get lost with an iPhone 3GS if you’re connected to the web? | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Can you get lost with an iPhone 3GS if you’re connected to the web?

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While waiting on the tarmac of JFK yesterday morning I started typing this post on my iPhone. While typing away with my thumbs I took the above images from my airplane window. I’ve subsequently deleted most of that post and re–wrote it this morning after having had some well deserved sleep… When I first got my new iPhone 3GS that had the compass I was thinking that was a great addition due to never knowing what direction I had to go in after getting off the subway. But it wasn’t until I was in a different city (San Francisco) that the Google maps and the compass were a must for me having a great navigational experience. The typical function would be me typing in a simple name or address on the map and comparing that to my “current location.” The map then did it’s thing, showing me a route in blue with an estimated walking distance. Once I started walking the blue dot of where I was would advance with me. I don’t recall getting lost once and I had a pretty good idea of how much time it would take to get somewhere. Looking back now, I have no idea how I would have survived with a paper map in the same situation. It would have taken a lot more effort to make sure of my current location (some streets didn’t have signs), I wouldn’t have known the best route, and I would have been stressed questioning whether I was going the right way. I didn’t feel any of those issues holding on to my digital map.

While not a huge beef, I do think there’s some needed improvement between Google Map on the laptop to the Google Map on the iPhone. If I make a map with a number of locations from my laptop and try to send that to my iPhone, it doesn’t open it up in the mobile map. The map opens in a browser and there’s no mobile advantage what so ever. That experience needs to be seriously redesigned. I also like emailing map locations to my self that will find their way on to my iPhone. The email text field in the map never cache’s my email so I have to re-type it all the time, it’s a pain. I also think there could be a great balance going back and fourth between the mobile and non mobile version of maps that really isn’t there yet—it seems like a lost opportunity.

What any map can’t help a person with (though many apps try), is find a great meal experience. I’ll be recounting that with my Mission Street Food experience from SF tomorrow…

AND if you’re looking for some other map related content, the latest issue at http://youdigest.com/ has some good commentary and links on all things map.

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  • paulopereira

    Michael,
    Have you seen this, NYC Nearest Subway Augmented Reality App for iPhone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH6r2tIaRXU

    If there is a way of combining google maps with an augmented reality directional App that could be used in any state or country – that would be incredible. Technology is changing so fast – soon enough no one will never get lost.