If you keep up with iOS, you probably already know that the familiar Maps app that has been in place since the original iPhone is about to see some major changes. During their WWDC keynote, Apple revealed that Google's mapping data features, including Street View and Transit Information, were being removed in favor of their new in-house Maps app. While the new iOS Maps app has lots of great new features, such as turn-by-turn directions and 3D Flyovers, I've heard a lot of users bemoaning Apple's decision to remove some Google features that they used regularly. Both Street View and Transit Information are leaving along with Google's mapping data, leaving a lot of Maps users looking for alternatives.
Back in early July, I reported on Garmin's last update to Navigon's MobileNavigator. This update was significant because it came on the heels of Apple's iOS 6 announcements at WWDC. Garmin very wisely decided to step in and start filling the gaps left in the new stock Maps app by adding Google Street View integration to their own Navigon MobileNavigator app. I've tested this feature on several occasions since its release, and it works great, and is easy to access and use both while on the road, and while planning trips, as well.
Garmin is continuing this trend of adding features missing from the new iOS Maps app, with some unique twists of their own. Today, they announced that they will be adding transit information, covering several modes of travel, to both their Garmin and Navigon iOS apps. They will also be adding a “Last Mile” feature that will tag your car location when you park, give you pedestrian directions to your ultimate destination, and then help you get back to the car after. Lastly, Garmin is adding the Google Street View and Panorama View 3D features already available in Navigon MobileNavigator to their Garmin branded StreetPilot Onboard app.
With Apple shifting gears and still in a transition period when it comes to the built-in mapping experience in iOS, it's great to see Garmin really stepping up and adding features that users still want access to. Navigon MobileNavigator has been widely known as the leader of the pack when it comes to navigation in iOS, back to the app's release several years ago when Navigon was an independent company. One of the major reasons for this is the fact that they continued to add new and innovative features, some free and other via in-app purchases, every year. Fortunately, this practice has continued since Garmin purchased Navigon, and shows no sign of stopping. By adding Street View and Transit Directions, and bringing the Garmin StreetPilot app closer to feature parity, Garmin has positioned themselves as the go-to source for advanced features that users need beyond the stock Maps experience.
Garmin Smartphone Apps Help Navigate Cities with New Pedestrian and Public Transportation Features
In conjunction with the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany, we today announced updates for our StreetPilot Onboard and NAVIGON smartphone navigation apps to provide better orientation in cities. With Urban Guidance users are able to integrate public transportation into their route, complete with detailed itineraries of transit stops. The new Last Mile function automatically saves the location of the user’s car when continuing by foot, making it easy to find it on the way back. To better depict the user’s surroundings, the Garmin StreetPilot Onboard app for iPhone will now also include new graphical features such as Google Street View and Panorama View 3D.
“Taking into account the specific needs of city navigation, our upcoming app updates streamline directions for driving, walking and public transportation,” said Joern Watzke, vice president mobile phone business at Garmin Wuerzburg GmbH. “Users can now get directions for different forms of locomotion, all integrated in one app right on their smartphone.”
Urban Guidance considers public transportation options, such as trains, trams, busses and water taxis, when calculating pedestrian routes. Users will be guided to a transit stop by foot and be able to look up detailed information on what line to take and where to get off. The feature even reflects the real colors of public transportation lines to provide better orientation at transit stops. The new feature will be available for the StreetPilot Onboard iPhone app and the NAVIGON app for Android and iPhone.
Last Mile Navigation
The new Last Mile feature provides users a streamlined navigation experience when continuing by foot after parking the car. When approaching a destination, users will be informed about parking garages nearby and can easily select an option to be guided there. Once the car is parked, the app will automatically save its position and switch into pedestrian mode to provide walking directions. Since the car’s position is saved, the app can easily provide directions back to the user’s car at any time. Last Mile Navigation is already available for the NAVIGON Android app but will be new to the NAVIGON iPhone app with the upcoming update. The Last Mile feature will not be available for the Garmin StreetPilot iPhone app at this point.
Google Street View and Panorama View 3D
Google Street View provides users a street-level view of their destination before starting a route and shortly before arriving. Users can even look at a full-screen 360° view to get a better understanding of their destination's surroundings.
Panorama View 3D provides true 3D elevation views obtained from NASA’s height and terrain data enable intuitive orientation and show users what lies ahead. Panorama View 3D is available as an in app purchase for $9.99.
Google Street View and Panorama View 3D are already available for the NAVIGON Android and iPhone apps but will now also be added to the Garmin StreetPilot Onboard app for iPhone.
Garmin will release updates for the StreetPilot Onboard iPhone app and the NAVIGON apps for Android and iPhone in fall 2012. The new In App Purchase Urban Guidance will be available at a reduced price of $2.99 (regular price $4.99) for the first two weeks.
Garmin StreetPilot Onboard for iPhone: USA $49.99, North America $59.99
NAVIGON for iPhone: USA $49.99, North America $59.99, East, West or Central USA $29.99
NAVIGON for Android: USA $49.95, USA&CAN $59.95
 Feature availability differs between the different app versions.