Driving has never been easier and smarter thanks to driving directions apps that help us navigate cities, find the quickest routes, monitor traffic, and avoid speed traps for free. While some navigation apps can make finding and driving to a destination more challenging by telling you to turn left where there is no street, most of them have evolved and become more accurate and user-friendly. It seems the age of mobile has just begun and will continue to give us exceptional value.
With various tools for driving directions on our smartphones and other devices, which one is the best map for driving directions? Which will deliver the best hassle-free driving experience?
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Turn by Turn Directions – Comparing the Dominant Players
There are many ways we could have gone to compare this. For the most part, many of the apps have a similar tool and option sets, such as distance, time to destination, and navigation. We could have looked at specific features like real time traffic updates, traffic conditions, road conditions, what points of interest are included. We did not include all applications like Waze, for instance. Instead, we thought it would be more useful to look at three world dominant apps available on iPhone and Android in all countries.
In this article, we will look at three of the most prominent players in web mapping services. We will compare their map styles, features, and ease of use to help you decide which one is perfect for your driving needs. Enjoy!
1. Google Maps
Launched on February 8, 2005, Google Maps has over 1 billion monthly users. With its massive project to map all public roads worldwide, Google’s accuracy in detailing roads remains unparalleled.
Google Maps offers satellite imagery, 360° interactive panoramic street views, aerial photography, and street views.
Aircrafts flying from 800 to 1,500 feet take high-resolution imagery of cities while satellites take other representation. It uses a variant of the Mercator projection and can switch from 2D view to 3D globe projections.
Google’s tool has a route planner that can optimize traveling between two or more locations through driving, public transportation, biking, and walking.
This navigation app offers traffic data as a colored overlay representing the vehicles’ speed on roads and motorways.
Google ruled in the aspects of depth and information and received the 2020 Webby Award for Best User Interface in the Apps, Mobile, and Voice category.
Users choose this tool because it can save charts offline, add routes with multiple stopovers, and provide detailed information on local businesses and places of interest, such as museums to visit or restaurants to try.
For information, check out:
How to Use Google Maps for Route Planning
MapQuest started in 1996 as the first commercial web mapping service. Verizon Communications acquired MapQuest in 2015 and gave it an upgrade. It currently has 38 million users, mostly residents from North America.
MapQuest provides straightforward street-level detail or driving directions and has horizontal, vertical, and depth degrees of motion with 17x zoom capability.
MapQuest has road, satellite, and traffic views. It has 1-4-year-old satellite imagery provided by TomTom N.V., a Dutch multinational location technology developer.
MapQuest is a free app that gives you several routes to your destination. It offers a point of interest (POI) search, which guides users to entrances of locations, such as restaurants and business offices, instead of general street addresses.
The navigation app offers real-time traffic and voice-guided navigation. It also has a feature that allows users to compare gas prices among nearby gas stations.
Because it relies on TomTom, there is less accuracy, especially in small rural areas. MapQuest does not allow you to search for businesses and their exact locations, so you have to get the actual address of companies you want to visit.
For more information, please check out:
Guide to Use Mapquest Route Planner with Multiple Stops
3. Apple Maps
Apple launched this service in 2012 for its iOS devices. After years of struggling with technical issues, such as lack of public transportation support and wrong directions, the updated Apple service in the OS 13 and iPadOS 13 versions are more accurate and detailed.
The data come from tons of aerial photography, high-resolution satellite images, millions of miles driving lidar and camera-equipped cars, and employees on foot with radar modules.
Apples’ features include satellite, map, and transit settings. You can see custom icons for landmarks and check the current weather. Its rendition shows more default locations and has smaller images and texts compared to Google Maps.
Apple Maps uses vector graphics that have a conceptual and photographic look for its satellite view.
Apple Maps integrates with Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. This feature allows the app to launch when you tell Siri where you want to go.
This app also features a Flyover mode that lets you explore city landmarks through 3D landscapes of buildings and structures. It also offers business descriptions, opening times, pictures, and user-generated ratings from Yelp and other third-party apps.
Apple Maps has improved immensely since its faulty start, evolving into a navigation app that offers many useful options and features.
Users choose this app because it lets them save their favorite places and organize places in a collection. They also find the Look Around, Flyover, and CarPlay features highly useful.
For more information, please check out:
Apple Maps Route Planner: Is it Useful for Delivery Drivers?
Driving Directions App for Business
Most businesses with limited delivery service start with Google Maps or MapQuest Route Planner. However, these navigation apps have limitations, especially when your business is growing, and you have to make multiple stops in your delivery.
- You cannot optimize routes by including vehicle load capacity, delivery time windows, and driver breaks.
- You can only plot ten stops or fewer for every trip.
- You can only plan for one driver at a time.
- You have to plan your routes manually, which means you can’t accommodate customer requests like specific times and dates of delivery.
What is the best app for driving directions?
The short answer is any app is an upgrade from paper maps. The longer answer depends on what your needs are, on which sites your drive, whether or not your car uses highways or toll roads. The ideal app is always the one that best fits your requirements.
How do you get driving directions on Google Maps?
It is remarkably simple to get driving directions on Google Maps. All one needs to do is go the website or download the app and enter your destination address to start navigation.
Google Maps and similar navigation apps are enough for personal travel and small delivery routes. However, it can be complicated and time-consuming as your business expands, along with the demands for efficient delivery service.
The more drivers you have and the more stops you have to make, the more complicated it gets. For multi-stop deliveries, courier services, and fleet management, using a route planning app is the best solution. A route planning app uses algorithms that calculate factors such as multiple destinations, driver speed, vehicle load capacities, and delivery time windows for effective route optimization.
Want to learn more about route planning? Then check out our blog for more helpful information, tips, and tricks.