New GPS app for iOS
April 25, 2016 10:06 AM   Subscribe

MotionX, the company who made my favorite GPS app, GPS Drive, has gotten out of the business of driving apps, citing an inability to compete with Apple and Google. I'm looking for a new app for iOS with a few specific features.

Let me start by saying I've tried Waze, Google, and Apple maps, and they tend to get me lost. Waze was the worst, telling me a dirt road through a cornfield was a major named road I needed to take. (I didn't.) It did the same with driveways as well. Google and Apple will tend to get me within a mile or two of my destination but often completely drop the ball when I get there. A store I'm looking for might be in another shopping plaza entirely. I almost never had these problems with GPS Drive.

Oh, I should say that I need voice guidance, non-negotiable. GPS Drive technically still works but without voice guidance it's useless in heavy traffic when I'm alone.

I'm happy to pay for an app as long as it has the features I'm looking for, so here's what I want:

1. The ability to save destinations, preferably with a name of my choice (e.g. Bob's House.) (Remembering recent destinations that I haven't saved would be great too.)
2. An option to avoid toll roads.
3. I really liked the feature in GPS Drive where it would tell me the speed limit of the road I was on and also show my current speed. It was occasionally wrong about the speed limit but I would love to have that feature.
4. Also really nice was when GPS Drive would tell me there was construction or a traffic incident reported ahead.
5. Earlier warnings based on speed would be super. For example, on the highway at high speed, GPS Drive would let me know up to 2 miles in advance of a turn or exit. At slower speeds it would alert me about a half a mile ahead. This is really important on multi-lane roads with heavy traffic like in Chicago. Google seems to only let me know about a turn half a mile beforehand, regardless of speed.

Looking forward to your recommendations!
posted by IndigoRain to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
When did you last try Waze? If it was recently, disregard my comment, but if you haven't tried Waze recently, give it another shot. It's gotten a lot better since it launched, and to me it feels like it's constantly improving. It will handle items 1, 2, 3 (shows your speed but not the speed of the road), 4, and 5 (turn notifications come sooner at higher speeds).
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2016

Last time I tried Navigon, I think it covered all of your requirements. Though in the interest of full disclosure, I have since abandoned it for Google Maps and Waze. Obviously YMMV on accuracy, and I'm sure it depends on where you are. I've been using various GPS products and apps since about 2000 or 2001, and I've never found one that gets it right all the time, but the current major apps generally serve me very well.
posted by primethyme at 10:28 AM on April 25, 2016

HERE does at least 1, 2, and 3, but I'm not sure about 4 and 5. It also allows you to download full offline maps, which is really useful when traveling through rural areas with poor reception.
posted by bradf at 11:36 AM on April 25, 2016

We tend to use a mix of Navigon (especially for areas where we know we won't have cell signal or data), and Google Maps (though we haven't tried offline mode for the latter yet). Again, Navigon does have all of the feature-set you want, plus the ability to save storage space by downloading only the states you need. One caution, though ... it is pricey, and that includes in-app costs if you want to pay for sooner than regular interval map updates.
posted by Gingercat at 11:38 AM on April 25, 2016

I used Waze (iOS v4.4.0.0) just yesterday on the interstate and it showed me actual speed and the posted limit. Your little speed bubble wiggles periodically when you're over the limit to remind you.

I think it just doesn't have complete information for every road just yet. But Google has that data via Street View images, it's just a matter of time.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:01 PM on April 25, 2016

It's been a few years since I tried Waze so I'll give it another chance. Maybe it's improved.

Navigon looks great and the only thing that makes me hesitate is that you can't even get a free trial. That's really disappointing. That said, I could save money by only buying the central US version since I don't often venture out of the area.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:10 PM on April 25, 2016

re the waze dirt roads's a setting.
gear icon -> navigation -> dirt roads -> (pick one of three options)
-don't allow (what mine is set at)
-avoid long ones

fwiw, i've played with all the "free"ish nav apps and Waze is my favorite. I still have a (very) old Garmin that I use when I'm in other countries (in europe and need to avoid data roaming).
posted by Spumante at 5:01 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Spumante, thanks. I'll turn that off. But it was telling me it was a major named road, so I'd pass it by. It would recalculate and tell me the next driveway was that road instead. It did that three or four times for the same road before I actually got to the road it was telling me about.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:27 AM on April 27, 2016

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