When it comes to navigation, nothing beats Google Maps for top-notch navigation. When you want a reliable navigation system, Google Maps provides just that.
I’ve tried out many other maps such as HERE Maps, Garmin Maps, Apple Maps, TomTom Maps, Sygic Navigation etc. and none have come at all close to Google Maps. Even most of the in-car satellite navigation systems don’t even come close to Google Maps. Google Maps does require an internet connection, but you will be glad you have it. It doesn’t use at all that much data, but does use a bit of battery so make sure you plug it in to a charger in the car that has a good amount of current going through.
What Makes Google Maps So Good?
- It’s real-time traffic is very accurate. Many times I have input an address that normally takes around 30 minutes to get there, and Google Maps tells me that I will get there in 47 minutes with traffic. Many times it has always been on the money, or +- 1 minute or so.
- If you want to take the shortest route, it will take you on the shortest route. No re-routes or longer trips because it doesn’t know where it’s going! Most navigation systems I have tried seem to take you on the old roads or a detour, when you could just keep going straight on State Highway 1 to get to Hamilton from Auckland! (Looking at you Garmin Maps!)
- Maps are very accurate! No taking you through an active airport runway just to get to the other side of the airport!
- Road works and road closures are mostly reported. These nights in Auckland, you never know when you’re going to find your usual route home has been closed due to roadworks. A perfect example is the Waterview Connection where State Highway 20 and 16 will soon merge to complete the Western Ring Route. Nearly every night this part of the motorway is closed. Google Maps recognises this and will take you on a detour early on in your original route, so you don’t find out it’s closed once you get there.
- You can search an address using just the street name and 9 times out of 10 Google Maps will get the correct address for you. With other navigation systems such as the in-car satellite navigation systems, most of the time you have to input the suburb of the address, then the street name. So if you don’t know the suburb, you are kinda out of luck! Google Maps will make suggestions as to which suburb you actually meant.
- All-in-one search functionality! With Google Maps, one search bar does it all! You can search up an address, type in ‘gas stations’, ‘ATMs’ or ‘shopping centers’, and it will all show up on the map waiting for your final choice. Compared with other portable navigation systems, most of the time, not all POIs (point of interests) are on the map and so are generally hard to find that Carl’s Jr in Albany.
- Google Maps is now pretty User-Friendly. Searched up an address on Google Maps on your desktop? Tap the search bar on Google Maps on your phone and you should see that address there already! This is providing you are logged into the same Google account.
- Search with your voice! Now most navigation systems these days can do voice recognition. However, none are as accurate and fluent as searching with your voice on Google Maps.
- Free lifetime maps/updates/traffic as long as you have an internet connection! While Offline Map areas have been recently introduced into Google Maps, this means you are able to get directions from Google Maps while offline too! Just download the map area you need (anywhere in the world) and get turn-by-turn navigation too! You can get driving directions offline, but not transit, bicycling, or walking directions. In your driving directions, you won’t have traffic info, alternate routes, or lane guidance. You also can’t modify routes like avoiding tolls or ferries.
- One device does it all! Google Maps will most likely be pre-loaded onto your most used device when travelling, your smartphone. So you won’t be needing to carry a separate device just to get directions, anywhere in the world, as long as you are prepared (by downloading map areas, and perhaps buying some data for your trip).
I’ve learnt through countless experiences with various navigation systems that the best navigation system is currently Google Maps by far. Just imagine if all the cars that had satellite navigation, used Google Maps. The world would be in a much better place in terms of navigation! Hopefully with the roll-out of Android Auto in car manufacturers, does Google Maps become a norm in cars.