Wednesday, September 15, 2010

5 Google Map Apps You Can't Live Without

I've only had an Android phone for a couple of weeks now and I've already discovered a few Google Maps based applications that I now can't imagine how I lived without.

Google Navigation, the Android phone's GPS navigation system has already proved invaluable to me on more than one occasion. I'm now looking forward to trying out the new Google Maps Navigation Walking.

I haven't had time yet to explore all the great Google Maps based applications available in the Android Market but here are five free applications that I have already installed and love:

My Tracks
My Tracks allows you to record GPS tracks and view live statistics,such as time, speed, distance, and elevation, whilst hiking, biking or running. The application includes the option to export your tracks to Google Spreadsheets and visualise them on Google My Maps.

My Tracks also allows you to view the elevation profile of a track by time or distance, create waypoints on your track and spilt tracks into subtracks.
(use your Android phone to open these links - the links won't work from a desktop)

Google Sky Map

The Google Sky Map is a brilliant window into the night sky and an essential tool for astronomers. The map uses the Android phone's built-in compass, GPS, and clock to display an annotated Sky Map of the area it is facing.

The application includes an horizon layer, planets layer, Messier Objects layer and a constellations layer. The application also includes a great gallery of Hubble photographs. If you click on a picture in the gallery the Sky Map will even point you towards the location of the subject in the night sky.

Been There
Been There is a Google Maps based browser for your photographs. The application allows you to view the photographs you have taken with your phone on a Google Map.

The photographs are displayed at the location where they were shot. This is a great way to browse photo albums on your phone. Not only does it allow you to view your pictures in their geographical context it is a handy way to find pictures, as you can normally remember where you were when you took a particular photograph.

WHERE for Android is a local search and recommendation service. The application lets you search for local restaurants, bars and cafes and read real-time user reviews. The application comes with a host of other features, such as local events, gas prices, movies, weather, news, traffic information, special offers and coupons.

Once you have found a destination with the WHERE application you can get text or mapped directions. WHERE also includes a check-in feature called Placebook that helps you keep track of your daily travels and reviews.

RunKeeper uses the Android phone's GPS to track your runs. The application can track your distance, time, pace / speed and how many calories you burn. The applciation can also show you your track using Google Maps

RunKeeper Pro for Android has also just been released. This paid application has all of the same core functionality as RunKeeper Free, plus audio cues and no advertising.

If you are interested in developing your own Google Maps based application for Android InformIT has a great tutorial: Mobile Mapping on Android and iPhone Using the Google Maps JavaScript API.


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