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Appy Trails – The best smartphone apps for getting directions

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Appy Trails – The best smartphone apps for getting directions

Quick Question – do you still own a street directory? You know – that State based book of maps you kept in your car?

OK, a few of you out there may have no idea what a street directory would even look like, and for the rest of us who do know, the paper road map is about as obsolete as the abacus or the sundial. These days, if you’re unsure of the directions to where you want to go, you just use your friendly pocket-computer. Devices such as smart phones and tablets offer an amazing array of apps to make it easy to get from point A to B. But which app should you use? Sometimes the map feature that comes packaged along with your device leaves something to be desired. Don’t fear; one of the greatest things about the mobile smart device revolution is that whatever you might need, there’s an app for it. Here are some good apps currently available for iOS and Android

1. Waze (iOS/Android)

Sometimes you need more information than just directions on when to turn left or right. Waze takes the accuracy that you need and combines it with user-data from around the country. This crowd-sourcing feature makes it possible for drivers to get real-time updates on routes and road conditions. So, if there’s an accident blocking the highway’s off-ramp, or road construction narrowing traffic down to a single lane, you can know about it before you get stuck in it, and you’ll be able to plan a different route.

2. Navigon (iOS/Android)

The Navigon has more features than almost any other map app. The app offers additional functions such as weather forecasts, help with finding parking spaces, real time traffic information, 3D street view, speed reminders, text-to-speech capabilities, and more.

3. Navfree (iOS/Android)

There aren’t many times when a road map will outdo a GPS system, but there is one: when you can’t get a data connection. It doesn’t really matter how many dedicated satellites you have twirling in geosynchronous orbit above your head, if your device can’t communicate with them, then they’re as useful as clouds. Navfree gives you the option to plan your route beforehand, so that if you happen to lose your connection, you’ll still be able to get directions.

4. Navman RoadMate (iOS)

Navman by Magellan has been a leader of GPS navigation since the very beginning. So, if you want to make sure that your map app has the full package, the Navman Roadmate is one to consider. The app features the entire Navman GPS system built in, and gives turn-by-turn voice guidance.

5. TomTom (iOS/Android)

Another leader in commercial GPS software, TomTom offers an app that looks and functions exactly like conventional TomTom devices. However, whereas the original TomTom will need to be periodically updated via a USB connection to an internet-accessible computer, the TomTom app is able to download and install map updates in real time as they become available.

6. Google Maps (iOS/Android)

Arguably the best map app available today, Google Maps provides always up-to-date directions, allows for closer examination of specific points of interest, and even lets the user connect through the app to various company web pages. Not only that, but the Indoor Maps feature will even provide accurate floor plans to certain buildings such as airports or shopping centers, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost indoors or out.