1. tiny's Avatar
    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.

    Jazmac, velvetelvis and jfa1 like this.
    07-27-2011 10:08 AM
  2. enahs555's Avatar
    While I love how well it is integrated into the phone, Bing maps does need a good bit of work.
    07-27-2011 10:23 AM
  3. Vallos's Avatar
    Nice review, Tiny. Thank you for sharing your experience!
    07-27-2011 10:34 AM
  4. Tobyus's Avatar
    Thanks for the review! I hope that they get the Turn-by-turn navigation up to par. It's one area where I miss my Blackberry. I had so many options that worked very well on my old BB that it is frustrating when I try to use the GPS on my phone while on the road. One app in particular (Waze) was so good I would use it for fun. It had a game of sorts where your car acted like pacman on the map and you collected Blackberrys or Cupcakes by crossing through them. They had contests where you were entered in a drawing to win Ipads and phones. They used these incentives and the fun involved to encourage users to traverse rarely used roads to help validate their maps.

    I hope Waze makes it into WP7 someday, but until then I hope Mango helps make the GPS more useful for navigation.
    07-27-2011 10:54 AM
  5. velvetelvis's Avatar
    great post. im going to be coming from an android phone that has google maps and their awesome navigation which i use almost daily as i travel a lot. i plan to use my windows phone also for my gps and it seems that might be a small deterent to getting a windows phone. do you know if any of the other gps apps work better? say, turn by turn, or a to b?
    07-27-2011 11:06 AM
  6. tiny's Avatar
    I can't speak on the alternatives, but I know "a to b" has a following - so it must offer something in addition that makes it better, but I assume it is still using the same info as Bing maps. But again, I really don't know. Maybe someone here will jump in and answer that concern.
    07-27-2011 11:17 AM
  7. MedicX's Avatar
    Thanks for the review as well. Hopefully MS is paying attention and working to compete fully with the competition.
    07-27-2011 11:37 AM
  8. Jazmac's Avatar
    Thanks for taking the time to document this and then post it up for us to share in that adventure. I don't know if this isn't something the people that manage Bing Maps would be interested in but they certainly should take a look at it. I think as smart phones become more important in our day to day lives while we navigate travel, having a smart and up to date map partner will be key. Again, thanks for sharing the adventure.
    07-27-2011 11:57 AM
  9. mindfrost82's Avatar
    Garmin StreetPilot seems pretty good but its expensive.
    07-27-2011 11:57 AM
  10. Curtieson's Avatar
    Very good review. My wife and I often compare the dirrections that my WP7 give vs. her iPhone but have never thought to actually map it out!
    07-27-2011 01:04 PM
  11. foosball's Avatar
    Strange. Bing Maps on my phone doesn't give anything like the directions you have in your example in red. In fact, it mirrors the Google directions. Maybe your settings are different but I'd be curious to find out why you ended up with that Bing route before making conclusions on the quality of Bing Maps.

    I'd post my results but unfortunately MS has yet to implement screen capture.

    Sent from my HTC Arrive using Board Express
    07-27-2011 01:44 PM
  12. joemd60's Avatar
    What I am curious of is how Google maps works on your phone. I try to download maps, I get amessage, can't download file. Windows Phone doesn't support this file type.
    10-27-2011 05:02 PM