Thursday, 28 July 2016

Nokia Here Maps renamed Here WeGo: car builders teach it to ride a bike, sort of

History lesson: this blog exists because way back when Symbian was still alive the only official way to update Nokia Maps was with the oversized, Windows-only piece of crapware called Nokia Map Loader. So I made a list of links to download map updates directly on your phone without using a PC or Nokia's horrible map update app. Despite Nokia's attempts to get my site offline, it's still alive and kicking. That site grew into Symbian Underground, then Android Underground, and who knows what's gonna be next. CyanogenOS Underground?

Lots of things changed since then. Nokia sold Here Maps - the old Nokia Maps, then Ovi Maps - to a bunch of car manufacturers. Its latest name is Here WeGo, and something else changed besides the name. Here Maps only knew about cars and public transport, but Here WeGo finally figured out how to ride a bike. That was about time; Google Maps added bike lanes ages ago.

Here WeGo shares a bad habit with Google Maps. More often than not, both apps route you around parks rather than through them, even if the park is big and full of bike lanes. On the bright side, Here WeGo's offline capabilities beat Google Maps, so it is the better choice if you cycle in distant countries with data roaming charges that would require a second mortgage on your house.

Unlike Google Maps, Here WeGo only shows routes, not bike lanes. There's no indication whatsoever of which streets are bike friendly or not, and it happily suggests that you take your bike and your life to speeding car-infested throughfares where cycling is another word for suicide.

So yes, Here WeGo can ride a bike, but its current cycling skills resemble those of the average tourist kicking a McBike rental through downtown Amsterdam after extensive sampling of the Dutch herbs and spices. Lets hope the car companies that own Here WeGo are willing to invest a bit more in navigation for Android users that pedal around on two wheels.

Here WeGo in Google Play
Google Maps in Google Play

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