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November 2015
December 2015

2015-11-30 »

On my iPhone I have the TomTom GPS app, which I bought 5+ years ago for $80.  Best $80 I ever spent.  It has a number of really great things about it, especially that it works even in places where I have no Internet, because it has offline maps of all of Canada and the US, and it fits them in ~1.5 GB.  Sure, its routing isn't ideal, and its points of interest are always out of date, and its search feature is terrible.  But that one offline maps feature makes up for a lot.

When I come to visit MTV (such as this week), I always give Google Maps at least one try to see if I prefer it yet.  Unfortunately, still no.  The offline maps aren't that important for me on California highways because the cell coverage is pretty good (although if you want to go hiking or something a bit of out of the way, you're still at risk).

But there is one "killer" (almost literally) behaviour of Google Maps that I really dislike: it doesn't tell me soon enough where I'm supposed to turn.  I realize it's very hard to tune this sort of thing for everyone; the TomTom app obnoxiously over-communicates, with messages like "in 500 meters, continue straight" every 30 seconds or so down the highway as it tells you not to exit, again and again.  And yet, it's still way less stressful than Google Maps, where instead of "in 2.5km, turn right" it says "continue straight" (no distance given) and then "in 500m, turn right" even though I'm in heavy traffic and don't have time to get into the right lane.

Is this on purpose?  What is the point of the "continue straight" message without any extra information?  Why not give me more than 500m to make my turn?  Even a message like "in 36.5km, turn right" would be quite welcome; I can easily decide if I really need to get into the right lane yet, if I have that information.

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