Year ago when I was going to FOSDEM I took my Nokia E66 phone preloaded with Belgium maps to not get lost in Brussels. It was working quite good. This year I took Nokia N900 as the only device to use (no laptop, no other phone) and BUG to show something.

How did N900 worked as navigation device? Terrible! The problem started before travel. I installed whole set of map applications which were available:

  • Ovi Maps
  • Maemo Mapper
  • Maep
  • Mapbuddy
  • Navit

Only first one had support to preloading map data (by using Nokia Map Loader under MS Windows). Maemo Mapper had such functionality in OS2008 but newer version has something totally broken. Navit required use of extra tool for conversion but after looking at UI I decided that will not even try. Maep and Mapbuddy always fetch from network so roaming costs would kill me.

So I used Ovi Maps as less bad then others. Lacks of offline POI support suxx, lack of adding own ones suxx even more as in Symbian version I just added few interesting places at home and used them during walking on streets of Brussels. Nokia needs to spend lot of money and developer time if they want to make it usable.

So software was more or less disaster but I managed to get to the ‘peeing boy’ so (after seeing’ peeing girl’ year ago) that part of tourist attractions is done. Would be nice to have some way of preloading AGPS data as without network connection it takes ages to get fix.

Maemo5 and (lack of) navigation

12 thoughts on “Maemo5 and (lack of) navigation

  • 8th February 2010 at 18:11

    truly second that.

  • 8th February 2010 at 18:57

    right on spot! I’m waiting for Sygic program (, maybe it’s going to solve the problem…

    • 9th February 2010 at 11:17

      According to demos on their website application looks interesting. I hope that UI will get few Maemo5 style fixes.

  • 8th February 2010 at 19:12

    How to tell it .. I still don’t have a dataplan, so the N900 GPS is plain unusable. You have to wait for a fix forever unless you are somewhere with a wifi access BUT outside any building, and then as soon as you leave the wifi range nothing works. FAIL.

    • 9th February 2010 at 12:51

      You buy an internet tablet without a dataplan? #youfail 🙂

      • 18th February 2010 at 05:24

        OVI Maps 3.03 allows new symbian smarphones to have access to maps and navigation WITHOUT a data plan so its reasonable to expect that of the n900

  • 8th February 2010 at 20:32

    It’s really a shame that we have to wait for a third party program, to have a feature that even lower end devices already have ! Nokia has really missed something here. I’m aware of the “time to market” problematic when delopping such a device, but for a large company like Nokia I would expect a better support for a flagship device (which fom a technical point of view, the N900 is).

  • 8th February 2010 at 20:50

    @marcin: you should have a second look on navit. downloading maps is quite easy and fast and the ui is customizable. unfortunately, the latest build in extras crashes:-)


    • 9th February 2010 at 11:16

      I know that such way exists. But I have MS Windows licenses on some of my machines so using Nokia Map Loader is fine for me. I just have to try to keep my sanity in proper level each time when I see how ugly UI those Nokia apps have.

  • 9th February 2010 at 12:55

    And to think that pre-1.1 Ovi Maps was even worse… But they improved it dramatically with 1.1, so the next iteration will probably be as good as the S60 counterpart. I just hope that we won’t have to wait for Maemo 6 to see it.

  • 10th February 2010 at 19:16

    Actually, maep supports caching of map tiles (at least for the OSM maps). So you are able to preload maps for your travelling destination: in your home wifi launch maep, zoom to your destination and maep will start to load map tiles. From now on maep is able to use these tiles even without a network connection.

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