Why these maps when there’s also Google Maps?
Google Maps is a very useful application on your iPhone. It has just one small problem, and you’ll only notice it when you’re outside the coverage of your provider: it can be very expensive!
Your provider (AT&T in the United States) charges you quite a lot for data-roaming charges, and Google Maps has to download a lot of information to show you all the details of the places you’re at.
At the moment of this writing, this is on the AT&T web site:
For example, opening an email with a 5 megapixel picture in it, or downloading a 3-minute video on YouTube, each takes about 2 MB of data. The cost would be almost $40, based on pay-per-use international data rates of $0.0195/KB.
With our city maps, there will be no data traffic at all – all the maps are included in the iPhone application, and you can safely turn off data roaming on your phone while you’re abroad and still get all the detail you expect.
And don’t underestimate those charges! For example, never try to watch a movie!
Doesn’t the GPS feature also cost money?
No, to know your GP location your phone does not need to download a single bit of information.
How do I use the maps?
Please read the manual for details.
I bought the maps, but I’ve had to wipe my phone. How do I get them back?
As long as you use the same iTunes account, you can download them as many times as you want, on as many devices as you want.
Just tap the “Buy” button again. There is a price shown, but during the sales process the software communicates with the apple servers and discover you’ve already paid for them. It will then allow the download to proceed for free.
I tried “Find location” but it always goes to the same section of map I had open before, not the street I want!
That is because on most maps, quite a lot of street names occur in more than one location – sort of a “Main Street” problem.
Also, during testing we discovered that if the map location was moved, a lot of users would go “but where was I just a second ago?”
All in all, it turned out to be easier to just return the map without moving it – if the location you want isn’t visible right away, you’ll have to zoom out a bit to find it – something else that was discovered during testing is that having the user do that gives them a much better impression of where they need to go to visit the location they just searched for.
It can’t find me at all!
Make sure you’ve allowed the map access to the location services on your iPhone or iPad. Go to the settings app, tap on General, and check the location settings. It will list all apps that would like to know your location, and a switch that allows or disallows them to know where you are. Make sure the map is allowed to know where you are.
Can I request a map that doesn’t exist yet?
Yes, via our request a map page. Please remember that it takes a few days to create the map, and an unknown period to get Apple to approve the map to appear in the iTunes store. Sometimes that’s fast, sometimes it isn’t, and we have no influence over that.
Where do you get all these excellent maps?
From OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you. OpenStreetMap data can be used freely under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. We highly recomment the OpenStreetMap site, although they probably don’t know about us.
And the software to display those maps?
That is based on the excellent route-me code. That code is licensed under the New BSD License and if you want to write your own mapping applicatioon for the iPhone, that is an excellent place to start.
Will it work on the iPod Touch?
Well, it runs on an iPhone or a second generation iPod Touch, but since the iPod Touch doesn’t have a GPS receiver in it, there are functions that will not work – such as finding out where you are.
It doesn’t know about the street I live in!
Well, it doesn’t know everything. It knows about all the streets people entered on OpenStreetMap. This is a community project, so if you have geographic information that the project doesn’t have yet – yes, such as your street – you can add it yourself, and improve the map for everybody!
I downloaded the Lite version of a map to try it out and I notice some of the streets have no names
You can check the source of my data at openstreetmap.org
It is a community project, like wikipedia.org, and depends on the general public to add data to their system. For popular places like London lots of people do so, for remote villages and such there’s often information missing. There’s a lot of large Chinese towns I’d love to do a map for, but there’s not enough data to do so right now. Deciding to do, or not do, a map is often a judgment call.
Also note that for smaller streets the images don’t show the map name, but the full version has the name in the database if you’re looking for it. To see if that’s true for for the map you’re looking at, zoom further in on openstreetmap.org than the app does – for space reasons I didn’t include all the images beyond a certain zoom level. If you zoom a bit further in on the web site, and you see the street name appear, then the street name will be in the database, and the full version of the app will be able to find it and show you a marker, even if the street name isn’t visible on the images.