HERE Maps by Nokia was just released for iPhone and iPad and aims to take on Apple's own iOS Maps for a place on your Home screen. The real question is, does it stack up to offerings that are already available natively or in the App Store?
We recently took a look at native mapping solutions for iOS including iOS 6 Maps, iOS 5 Maps, and maps.google.com. We stacked them head to head and determined what the strengths and weaknesses of each were. We also took a look at alternative navigation apps including Navigon, Scout, and TomTom and figured out which were the best solutions.
HERE Maps offers driving, walking, and transit information on both iPhone and iPad. The first thing you'll notice is that voice guided navigation is not available for driving, which doesn't make a lot of sense. You can, however, obtain audible walking directions.
The interface of HERE Maps is very slimmed down and only provides you with what you need on the screen at any given time. As far as map views are concerned, you can choose between regular map, satellite, public transport, and live traffic views. Community views is also available which are maps that are updated by the people around you regularly. Depending on where you live will depend on whether community views is a useful feature. In my area, I couldn't find anything on community views within 50 miles of me.
To find a place, you can simply tap in the search field and start typing. HERE will try and auto suggest what you are typing. If it finds it you can simply tap on it. It will show you the location on the map. Tapping on the place will bring up more information on it including the address, phone, an option to share it, and the route button. Tapping on the route button will then allow you to choose between driving, walking, and transit directions.
Underneath the location information you'll see a list of nearby places. You can toggle between food, shopping, nightlife, sights, and public transport. It's a nice feature while traveling and something tourists will appreciate when walking around.
HERE Maps won't be taking over as my main navigation app anytime soon but it will remain on my iPhone when I'm traveling. The main reason is for the walking and transit support as well as the nearby places feature. It isn't much use to me while stuck in a car since it doesn't support voice navigation for driving, it's a nice app to have when exploring new areas on foot.
Any other time, I'll stick with either iOS 6 Maps or Scout by Telenav.