MapQuest 4 Mobile is a GPS app for the iPhone from MapQuest and AOL. This free iPhone app works as great substitute for the built in Google Maps iPhone app with the additional benefit if voice commands. A must have app with features that mash up perfectly on the iPhone 4.
Update: MapQuest 4 Mobile now is a full GPS app and gives you full voice turn by turn directions on the iPhone, while iPod touch users can still use the map features as well. The full overhaul adds GPS functionality to the for iPhone users, with accurate and easy to follow voice commands. YOu can search either by address or find local listings. Once you find the place you want to drive to, tap the “Directions To Here” button and the app says “Loading Route”. From here you’ll be moved into the Directions tab showing you a map of the route with your starting point and destination highlighted. Tap the green “Start” button to get going and the female voice starts announcing audio commands step by step. Switch to List view for an itemization of your route with details like freeway signs, and length of each step in your route. You can tap on any step to focus on it.
The voice activation announces 3 commands for each turn. First you get a “Prepare to …” the “Get ready to …” and finally the actual turn command. These help you change lanes and prepare so you don’t miss anything but don’t worry if you miss a step, since the app also recalculates routes automatically.
You can edit your routes and drag your start, and end points to get reverse directions. From the edit screen you can also change to Shortest Distance, Shortest Time, Avoid Highways, Toll Roads, or Seasonally Closed roads. In the My Placed tab you can store your favorite locations for easy access, although this feature requires a MapQuest, AIM or AOL account. Connect your web account settings with your iPhone; you can save Maps and Routes on MapQuest.com and retrieve on your iPhone. Works in both horizontal and vertical modes.
Another setting lets you pick a custom icon for the My Position location, changing it from a waving man to top hat, a car, a horse and a variety of other choices.
You can play your iPod music in the background and the MapQuest app automatically lowers the volume gently to announce the directions as you need them. Same holds true when receiving a phone call. With the iPhone 4, you can even close the MapQuest app on the iPhone 4 and your directions still are announced to you.
Another interesting feature in the MapQuest app is the icon-based one tap local search capability. Slide through a series of cool icons on the bottom called “The MapQuest place carousel” and the app finds and displays locations for hotels, movie theaters, gas stations, bars, and more with a single tap. You can customize the carousel with your own custom icons. Find Me feature utilizes the iPhone GPS to plot your approximate location on a map as well as display your position in relation to a route. Directions and routes can be followed in either map or list mode. Turns are displayed with direction arrows when viewing directions in map mode. Search for businesses and places and create your own my position icon that represents YOU on the map using the iPhone built in camera or choose from a variety of existing my position icons.
Overall, MapQuest 4 Mobile is a must have GPS app for any iPhone user. It is free, works flawlessly and does everything you would want from a GPS app and more. This is truly the first GPS app I’ve seen that can actually pronounce street and freeway names correctly and is smart enough to pronounce abbreviations as well. Best of all its only 5.5MB in size, unlike competing GPS apps that cost over $50 and are over 1GB in size. The online account feature is perfect for pre-planners and the quick loading voice commands are life savers. Remember to close the app out fully (from your background apps list) when you are done using it, to avoid draining your battery.
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