keskiviikko 20. tammikuuta 2010


I've been looking for the ideal map-software for N900 for quite some time. They all have their strong and weak points. I'm not really that into getting navigation: I just want an app for easy map browsing, that more or less duplicates my desktop experience of Google maps. Here are my requirements:
  • Panning of maps
  • Easy zooming
  • Address search that works
  • Easy to read
  • GPS -support
I've started out with Ovi maps and like so many others, I found it to be slightly less than optimal. People have been bashing it right and left on the forums, so I might have been slightly influenced by that.

So I set out on a quest to find something better. Here are the apps I tried:
For my requirements, all of these above are valiant efforts, but for me, none of them could replace the built in Ovi maps. Say what you will, but I think Ovi maps is the best we have right now.

Here are some letdowns from the above programs:

Maemo-mapper doesn't zoom in for me, when I search for an address. Searching is hit and miss: I can't find the street number for my place of work (but I can find the street). It's one of the big streets in Helsinki and then again, my buddy found his street number "Middleofnowhere street 238" that is significantly smaller and peripheral. Maemo-mapper also has a very cumbersome map respository system that is so far from being user friendly it's ridiculous. The downloadable sample repositories didn't work, becuase the Google links were wrong. Plus it crashed on numerous occasions, due to not being stable.

Map buddy does search. Just not addresses, it appears. Instead, you can look for pizza, but it's US centered, so apparently there isn't a single place to go out for pizza in all of Helsinki. Sigh.

Maep is very good looking, but it lacks search.

The HTML-based alternatives are numerous, including Google's own mobile version (at Only, you can't zoom out with it. Any way at all! So much for that. The others are pretty much equally limited, most lacking panning and decent zooming. Here's one of the first efforts:

So after this long journey, I came full circle and went back to Ovi Maps. It does all the things I want, except for giving me the same map look I've grown accustomed to in Google maps.

Today I downloaded all of Finland as a map package (from this address) and installed it. It's the easiest thing in the world. If you know what you are doing, installation-instructions are one row:

Unzip the map pack you downloaded to MyDocs/cities/diskcache.

Here are the reasons why Ovi maps kicks everyone's ass right now:
  • Searchable with "ajax", meaning it gives me a list of hits as I'm writing the address or place I'm looking for
  • Downloadable maps
  • 3d-view that is rotatable
  • GPS tracking
  • Fast zoom alternatives to street, city, country level (etc).
Here's a screenshot as my final try to convince you. I challenge you to make any of the above apps as good looking or readable.

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