| | 07-27-2011, 10:08 AM #1
The journey took a little* longer than 32 hours, with sleep and all calculated in, but I'm sure you will only fancy hearing about the parts where Bing Maps turn by turn navigation were involved.
Saturday morning I departed Eastern Idaho, my destination: Raleigh, North Carolina. I went equipped with a few ways of navigating. In addition to Bing Navigation on my phone, I also had Google maps open in Internet Explorer, and the Google provided directions saved in a Word document. I didn't want any lapse in a data connection leaving me without a map to look at.
Now, one issue with this is that while online, both Bing and Google present you with the same directions, on the phone, Bing gave me slightly different directions (roughly marked in red on the map). Trusting in Google more, I immediately ignored Bing turn by turn for the first portion of the journey, as going down through Utah would have been more miles, and been less scenic. To Bings credit, the roads Google had me going offered a lower speed limit, and lots of construction delays. So even though the Google way was less miles, it may have not saved much, if any time.
The other place where Bing wanted to take me was through Iowa, instead of Missouri. Now, I have a theory as to why Bing on the phone wanted to do this. The route through Missouri was very convoluted, and I actually had to make my own directions at one point, because the roads Google wanted me to take were closed (admittedly Google told me this upfront, but offered no alternative). So in this case, if I was less competent with directions, and I just wanted to get through the drive as smoothly as possible, following the route Bing turn by turn suggested most likely would have been fastest/easiest for this portion of the journey. That said, I wanted to see the iconic cities that the Google route took me. (Got to see the Gateway Arch!)
For the last portion of my journey, I solely relied on Bing Turn by Turn, actually allowing it to spit out directions to me. It worked well, but is fundamentally neutered (and probably will be until Nokia's map service is integrated). For those not aware, what I am referring to is having to tap on the screen to advance the directions. While it isn't hard to do, it is annoying after it tells me (with a chime) that I've correctly followed a direction, that I must then tap the screen to receive instruction on what next to do. This tap is nice when on a several mile long portion to hear how much closer I am to my next turn, but very problematic when there are a few turns back to back. I actually missed a turn in the last few miles of my journey, because I couldn't get it to give me directions fast enough. So I look forward to this being addressed sooner rather than later.
Another gripe is that the compass isn't being used. The maps correctly orientate when you are driving, by using the GPS to track your general direction, but if you are stopped, it has no idea what direction you are facing. Our phones have a compass, why can't Bing maps access it?
And my final complaint is one that I have found through being new to an area. Now, the area where I live is full of newer developments (like 5 years old), but nearby locations like Wal-Mart are not showing on Bing maps, but are showing on Google maps. This is frustrating when you're new to a town, and want to find the nearest locations. I hope this is something that will improve rapidly, as that breaks a lot of the awesome experiences possible with Bing Scout, and other services.
So, to sum up. Bing Turn by Turn navigation works, for the most part, but still has a ways to go before it is on par with some other services.
In closing, you may wonder what 32 hours of driving east (with the heat wave) does to a person, so I include this picture.