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Best Mobile Map Services March 17, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Mobile.
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1 comment so far

Mapping services for mobile devices that pinpoints your location with or without a GPS are all the rage these days. They’re able to perform this without GPS thanks to the ever-growing number of WiFi networks all across the country. The more wireless hotspots that are added to the grid the more accurate and powerful the locating services become.

Here are some of the best of breed for these types of services for your cell phone.

Google Maps for Mobile is the latest to unveil such a beast. This downloadable application puts local information, directions and maps in your pocket. Here’s what it can do:

Where am I?
New! Google Maps with My Location. Learn more.
Where’s the nearest…
Cup of coffee, late night pizza or last-minute bouquet?
Is there traffic up ahead?
See it so you can avoid it.
How do I get there from where I am?
Type your destination and away you go.

Here’s a screencast on how it works:

In this roundup, Google Mobile for maps is the only service that doesn’t include any social networking capabilities which is strange. I would look for these features to come very soon though.

Loki was one of the first services to offer GPS-like tracking for mobile devices. With Loki Mobile you can post your location to MyLoki from wherever you are. As you move around MyLoki can automatically let your friends know where you are using your favorite platform — Facebook, RSS Feeds, or badges for your blog or even Jaiku. You can pick and choose how and where you want your location displayed.

Loopt does the same thing but with more social networking options such as sharing photo’s and videos from your cell phone. They use the term social compass to describe their service which allows you to see where your friends are and vice versa.

Plazes offers a manual method of showing your friends where you are in the world via SMS on your cell phone.

Summation: The mobile web is the future of the Internet (especially once 3G becomes more common!), so these mapping and locating services will become increasingly important. Look for Microsoft Earth to get in the mix soon, among others!

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