Google Maps for iPhone

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Sinking to the level of the techbloid writer is not appropriate or useful. In fact, anyone claiming one app is completely reliable is doing great harm to the public. If you are headed to a remote location, don’t rely solely on GPS navigation. Buy a Thomas Guide or other printed, published map from a reliable source.

For most people, using Google or Apple Maps will work out well. A small survey of Apple customers revealed that 90% were satisfied with Apple Maps. I have found Apple Maps to be reliable and accurate, but not perfect. In fact, I was in Palo Alto recently, and found Apple’s Maps to have more accurate data about businesses on El Camino Real. Palo Alto is adjacent to Mountain View, the location of Google headquarters. See for yourself:

Apple Maps (left) and Google Maps (right) displaying a stretch of El Camino Real in Palo Alto, California. Google’s satellite image looks better, but Apple’s Maps has more businesses and doesn’t have the Starbucks on the sidewalk (which doesn’t exist)…

All mapping apps have flaws. Distorting the flaws of one and ignoring the flaws of another is an endeavor best left to tech pundits, techbloid writers and fanboys. Even quantitative analysis yields differing results. I can find quantitive evidence that Apple Maps has 25% more business listings than Google Maps. It’s an exercise in futility. Use the best application for your location. If you repeatedly find mistakes and are misled by one, try another. Beyond Apple and Google, MapQuest, Waze, TomTom and Navigon are other popular mapping apps. Apple users have so many options! If you venture into an area with poor coverage, iOS 6 Maps may be a better option, due to its extensive offline caching. If you take public transportation or rely on Street View, Google Maps is a better option.

New cars have GPS Nav systems far superior to any mobile device. The nav system in my car can turn the stereo down when announcing a direction and automatically change the display’s color and contrast for safer night-time driving. It had Zagat reviews years ago. All of the map data works offline and is updatable by DVD.

The bottom line is — be smart. If you are venturing off to a remote location, make sure to purchase an up-to-date printed map from a reliable publisher, such as Rand McNally. Despite the Australian-mapocalypse hype, many people have been lost, and even died due to over-reliance on GPS. These incidents occurred before Apple Maps for iOS 6 was launched. Don’t believe the hype and smear tactics.

Google Maps for iOS is a great app and worth using. Just don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that you will never be lost because you think Google’s map data is superior. This is a difficult and contentious issue that can’t be quantified and compared. It depends on where you are located. Google’s Maps app is just another tool in the toolbox, and particularly useful for navigating public transportation and its innovative Street View feature.

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