Yes, it is true proper GPS navigation is available for the iPhone. xRoad’s G-Map is a navigation application for the iPhone that suffered from a very crappy v1.0 which received bad reviews and caused the application to slip away from the spotlight. Well, they have updated to 1.2 and it is awesome. I have been waiting for a solid GPS navigation application for my iPhone for sometime, and was starting to get worried that it might never come. As with every application, there are positives and negatives. I am going to address these after the jump.
The largest positive for me with this application is how the maps are stored locally. I have found myself without cell service many times when I am trying to navigate with Google Maps, and it just doesn’t work. With no cell service. you lose the ability to load data (a.k.a. Maps) with the Google Maps app. This is not a problem with G-Map, because the maps are locally stored on the hard drive.
The second major positive for me is how you can set the maps to rotate based on your heading. This is something so incredibly simple, but nobody has managed to do it until now. G-Map offers 3 different viewing modes, 2-D north is up, 2-D rotates based on heading, and 3-D rotates based on heading.
G-Map will also automatically recalculate routes when off route, offer’s up multiple routing options, and allows you to search around you for gas, banks, police stations that are near you. The applications really is all that I have been hoping for, it has a few features that are not widely available, but will become more available soon.
Just like with any application there are some negatives with G-Map. G-Map does not offer voice directions. Yes, this sucks, but I can do without it until the company updates the app. I believe there is some sort of restriction on the Apple app store with voice turn directions.
Another negative for me, is that the menu system is a bit tricky to navigate. Typing in an address is very complex, there is no contact look up, nor is it easy to search for an address.
The final negative I have come across that bugged me is the lack of iPhone specific features. G-Map does not take advantage of multi-touch gestures. To zoom in, you have to use zoom buttons instead of the famous iPhone pinch.
Overall, this app is what I have been waiting for. It still has some flaws, but it is still early in development, I believe they will fix a good bit of these issues in upcoming updates. One other things, the app is divided in 2.; there is a east version and a west version. The 2 versions are due to size restrictions, these apps come in at about 700mb each due to the on board maps. Both versions run $19.99 in the app store.
G-Map US East ($19.99): iTunes Link
G-Map US West(19.99): iTunes Link