Bring back native Maps on Nokia Windows Phones

Recently on the Windows Phone Central Podcast we were lamenting how Nokia Maps leaves a lot to be desired on Windows Phone 8. The app is a bit slow, the UI is not as intuitive and some of the information (like traffic) is hit or miss. Most people would suggest using Bing Maps (aka the native Maps application) instead but unfortunately, Nokia has removed the hard link for that app leaving users no choice on Windows Phone 8 Lumias.

While there have been some half measures to fix this by pinning tiles to your screen of your contact’s address or using Local Scout—neither felt satisfactory. Luckily, the best method has just come forward: install the hard link for Bing Maps.  The app, surprisingly enough, is in the Windows Phone Store and comes from developer Mohammed Adenwala. That means Lumia users can just go and download the link and the Maps will be back on their phone (technically, they’ve always been there, they have just been hidden). Everything is there, including the ability to download offline-mapping data, making this truly the ideal situation.

We have full faith that Nokia will eventually make Nokia Maps a killer solution, but right now for many of us Bing Maps is still preferred. Regardless of your choice, the real important message here is choice and we like having the option for either mapping system. Clearly Nokia limited access to Bing Maps to reduce redundancy on the device, a noble gesture, but ironically it’s the one area where they still need some work.

You can pick up Maps here in the Windows Phone Store for no charge.

via: WIndows Phone Daily; Thanks, @littledictator, for the tip!

QR: Bing Maps


Reader comments

Bring back native Maps on Nokia Windows Phones


Frankly, I"m surprised that MS would allow Nokia to remove the Bing Maps app from the phone.  They should have offered both, Bing and Nokia, maps and allow the user to decide.

Choice would be nice, but it would make developers' life more difficult. If there must be only one, Nokia maps are much better than Bing maps anywhere but in the US. Even in the US, one might argue that Nokia maps are better too. As my comment below shows, what this article describes is actually powered by Nokia maps, not Bing maps. Bing maps are appallingly bad anywhere outside of the US. It was a major liability for the success of Windows Phone.

As a developer, I agree that there should just be one integrated mapping solution, across both WP8 and W8.  Unfortunately, MS isn't there yet and it dissapoints me greatly.  I was shocked to hear from them at //BUILD that the new "best practice" is to develope mapping applications on WP8 using Nokia API's but you are stick with Bing API's on W8.  That is a terrible solution that makes it harder to share code between your mobile apps.  Either strike a deal with Nokia to have their mapping solution across all your products, or stick with Bing.  I thought this was their year of convergence but it seems they still arent there.

Totally agree with you. Having to use a different map control on Win8 is very disappointing. Hopefully we will see some improvement at this level.

I disagree: Nokia Maps is far better in Europe, Asia and most other parts of the world. Not so much in the USA yet due to lack of users.
But it will get better. Bing Maps is horrible. 

Well they are certainly not better in Japan, when I had WP7.X the maps were spectacular, there were icons for bus stops and convenience stores. Now that Nokia and Bing Maps have merged in WP8 it's quite terrible--but that also has something to do with the lack of users for Nokia products in Japan I'm sure. None the less, it's disappointing.

Bing maps got incredibly better since you last used it in Japan. It shows a lot of very recent road data in the major and minor cities now. I'm using the Fujitsu WP7.5 phone, and Microsoft has done enough to say that they maps through Bing and the phone are better than Google maps in Japan. Google is still better for directions, but I've found that the Bing maps are more up to date.

Nokia maps though are just aweful in Japan.

 Bing Maps served me more than fine in the states.
IT saved my ass at least 5 times when i got lost at 4 different cities.
The data of Nokia maps is so old that it might include a restaurant which has been out of business for about 2 years. ( it did get me to one of the place like that not long ago)
At states,i would chose Bing anyday, but outside the State, it would be Nokia map. But since i am living at the states, i think they at least give us a choice.

Before the last update to the maps, the one that just came after WP8.1 Dev Prev was released, I could use all my offline maps just fine without internet. The images were all there. Buildings, fences, streets, trees. All of it. Now whenever I want to see the elements I cited before I must have internet in order to download them. So, what's the point in downloading those maps to use them offline? Or is it because I updated them? I'm lost now. Maybe it is something that I'm missing. Could anybody help me?

Basically. It works for Local Scout and looking up a Contact's address but there is no hard link in the App list and no way to pin it to your screen.

For the US, I prefer Bing Maps--better traffic and I like the UI (Nokia Maps is surprisingly non-intuitive). 

As mentioned above, I think Nokia did this to reduce confusion.

When I got my 920, I was very confused by the Nokia UI as well. There was no "Clear Map" button and the directions list didn't update even when you made your turns. Also, the "favorites" are from Nokia's own service rather than Live services. But I wanted to stick with Nokia due to the ability to download maps. However, I ran a quick test by disabling my data connection and it appears Bing Maps is working offline. Am I to assume from this that Bing maps can use the same downloaded maps data as Nokia?

Aaron, check this session: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2012/2-017
All the apps using Maps on WP8 have the ability to use the downloaded maps. In fact the implementation is awesome: If an app downloads a map, it is automatically available for all other apps that use the built-in maps control. And your own app (since you are a dev) also has the ability to download maps using the MapDownloaderTask class.

If you travel alot, I could see that using alot of space on the phone, downloading Nokia maps for offline use is quite large per state, so I wonder if there is a cache limit or what?

It's not that large...all of New York, including NYC is 152 MB. Other states are considerably smaller.

I mean, if you downloaded 10 states, it might add up a bit but I think most users will max out at 2 or 3 for regular driving. Actually, even at 10 states you are still looking at may 500MB? On a 32GB that's nothing.

Thank you!  That is good to know.  And in response to jsnod25, I downloaded the entire US and I think it was only a couple of GB's which is fine on my 32GB 920.

I rely heavily on Bing Map Navigation. When I got my Lumia 920, Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive are just not as good or intergrated as well as Bing Maps with voice navigation.The voice navigation is totally gone from the Lumias. Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive was horrible in the NY area. I went back swapped the 920 for the HTC 8X to get Bing Maps back and voice navigation.
Couldn't stand it..

Wait, what? I have voice nav on my Lumia 920, did you download the voice pack? I would never go back to Bing Maps for navigation, having to press the screen at every instruction in order to advance is incredibly unsafe.

It uses the GPS to get the location of you on raw data and will try to map it on the software. The Graphic of the road that you see is the cache they downloaded from the sever. So yeah, if you get enough cache of Map Data for Bing, you will be just fine for nevigating around, GPS doesn't require your network to give you back your location in raw data, network only be used to download map data (the graphic you see on the screen).
 But i don't think it will ever download and store enough cache for you, it will just clear it out at somepoint.

I agree 100%. The UI of Nokia maps is just not interesting enough for me to use the app. That includes Nokia drive as well. Bing maps on the other hand is good, not great, just good. But better than Nokia...

I might be wrong but I strongly doubt these are the Bing maps. It is most likely just the Maps task being launched from this app, which means that the content displayed is not provided by Bing but by Nokia. The fact that using the Settings is showing the OS maps settings (including maps download) is the major clue that this is not Bing.
Even when using the Maps or BingMaps tasks from an app, you are actually using the Nokia maps. See Build session 2-017 for more details on the new Maps API. http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2012/2-017

You're getting into a semantic debate and it misses the point. It's not the content (although it does differ here) so much as the app itself is different.

Also no, the content displayed is not the same e.g. traffic data nor are search results.

Nokia Maps ≠ Windows Phone Maps (Bing Maps, Maps, whatever you want to call it). While it is true Nokia does "power" some of Microsoft's Bing Maps (online and on the phone), it's not a 1:1 match just yet.

I don't think the Bing Maps team would agree with you that it is semantics only ;) but I'll agree with you that this is not the Nokia Maps app. It is the OS's Maps task, the content of which was developed in collaboration with Nokia. Whew ;)

i always say the easiest way to think about it (if there is an "easy" way)...Bing Maps uses Nokia's maps but not Nokia Maps.  The street layouts and names are driven through a data set built by Nokia, but the front ends are different.

When you boot Bing Maps up, the map itself is from Nokia, the Points of Interest information, traffic and UX are all Bing. Different things for different people, Nokia might have better information outside the US, others might prefer the more reliable traffic information or the way Bing maps handles directions (especially if you're walking and don't want to use Nokia Drive).
Both programs have benefits so I reckon both should be available, Nokia doesn't want to confuse new consumers with two very similar map programs so they chose their own in preference to try and streamline things (though I think the way local scout uses Bing makes this even more confusing). At the end of the day, power users can have access to both and there's no harm done!

These are the Bing maps. They've been there the whole time. First I used IE to get traffic when Nokia maps told me traffic was all clear in Atlanta during rush hour, but then I realized that if I did a search for a city map in Bing app, I'd get a Bing map. So that's what I'd do. This gives me the exact same map I got on my Trophy.

No they are not Bing maps. The Bing "maps" from the WP7 era are dead. They were server-side only maps that had to load every time you opened the maps app. Everything on WP8 is the Nokia mapping engine be it the Bing maps app or the Nokia maps app. You are always looking at Nokia mappting technology. There is no clearer example than being able to read all the street names on the screen. Back in the Bing maps days, the lables were HUGE and you'd have to zoom down to the lowest level to get some street names. Nokia's maps have all the street names in small type and are easy to read. The apps differ in how they deliver the layers such as traffic, points of interest, etc.

I already agreed that points of interest and traffic are different between the two apps. Bing uses their own search results, aka points of interest and puts them on the newer maps. The maps themselves as in the look of the maps, the way streets are displayed and road data is the same new Nokia/Bing collaboration.

Ok, I realize now that you're right, these are pulling from the downloaded maps, but the traffic data are nowhere near the same. Nokia thinks Atlanta is free and clear at all times, and I can ASSURE you that is not the case. Maybe at 2 am Nokia's maps are right for traffic here, but very few other times is the traffic layer correct.

I don't know the technical specifics behind the differences in Bing Maps vs. Nokia Maps on WP8 if any.  But what I can tell you is this:

  1. The Bing Maps on my WP7 provides a completely different route from my office to my house than the Bing Maps on my WP8 which happens to match the route provided by Nokia Maps on my WP8 and take me 4miles out of my way (regardless of traffic conditions).
  2. The Bing maps on my WP8 still lacks routing adjustments or time adjustments based on traffic (just like the Nokia Maps).  Bing Maps on my WP7 handles this very well.

So, based on that very limited amount of evidence, I'm led to believe that the Bing Maps on WP8 is getting content from Nokia Maps.

Of course that's the case but it's not a 1:1 content match. Also, most agree that Nokia Drive is superior to Bing Maps for driving directions, but that's not the focus of complaints here.

You are right. This WP8 maps are not Bing maps , but Nokia maps
Check the app .. Bingle to see the Bing maps  Or Bing Maps on Windows 8 (RT apps)

Nokia Lumia Device - Nokia Maps :) I think they should offer Bing Maps for HTC and Samsung Customers cause Nokia Maps is impressive at Lumia Devices there is no need of Bing Maps :)

Every person have a different opinion. Like me, it would be nice to have both, even though on my 900, I never used Bing maps. :)

Until Nokia updates the app so that it launches instantly like other native windows phone apps (email, local scout, people hub, etc) no thanks. Not sure why (with the deals they have with MSFT) they can't make a maps app, or nokia drive that launches without a significant loading time.

Traffic works, yippie, yahoo.  Thats one big thing that was quite annoying with Nokia Dive Beta and Nokia Maps, traffic never seemed to work.  In the NY, NJ area traffic is a big part of which way you go considering how much traffic there is at all parts of the day.

Nokia Maps has traffic?  Not that I've seen yet.
I downloaded Inrix Traffic, since that will do what I want it to do.  But yeah, I do miss Bing Maps for that.

Huh.  I've only loaded up Nokia Maps a couple of times, but I've never seen that layer appear.  Maybe DC traffic gives it a nervous breakdown. ;-)

I couldn't get it to show for Columbus, OH either. I figured that was tied to the fact that we do not have Nokia Transit here yet either.

No as this doesn't add anything really to the device except a single link to the whatever is already installed. Installing this on the 8X would just give you two links to the same Maps app.

Do you have any idea why they removed voice from WP8 in the first place? I've been looking for an answer - and a solution - but I haven't found anything.

I agree! Plus for driving directions, Nokia needs to at least give us the option of using Bing or Nokia Drive. Right now when I click on an address for directions, it automatically launches Nokia Drive.

This still won't get you Bing Maps - Microsoft decided to use Nokia Maps instead of Bing Maps in Windows Phone 8, all this app will do is launch the native Maps app which, wait for it... uses Nokia Maps!
I'm lost as to why Microsoft would do this as the Bing Maps are far superior to Nokia Maps, especially for satellite imagery. 
Also, for those saying that the native maps app uses Bing imagery, please take a look at the following links:
And then search for "Cardiff Millenium Stadium" on your WP8 device, see which maps it pulls up.

...except outside of the US where Bing maps are horrible... A compromise would be nice I guess, Bing maps in the US and Nokia maps everywhere else. But I guess that there were a lot of politics involved...

EXACTLY!!! THANK YOU! The app itself is the only difference, which uses Bing points of interest and traffic, etc. That is still an advantage in the US. I am not ready to say that the old Bing maps are superior though. They were horrible to read when trying to look at street names...they were far too big and smaller streets wouldn't even appear until you zoomed down to the lowest level. Also, half the time you were waiting for the map to render if your connection decided to act up. I love the offline maps now where the maps are always there and very fast to move around and zoom.

The POI and Traffic information are the primary reasons why I use the Maps app.  Bing > Nokia in this respect, so I use Bing.

Yeah, I agree with you there. As I said it is an advantage to use the Bing maps app due to the traffic and POI in the States.

I really hope Nokia has a better app in the works because the one they have now is slow to launch, sluggish to use and missing a lot of data. So much for hyping that up...

This is nice for just quickly launching and looking for something as "Bing" maps launches almost instantly and is much smoother scrolling around the map. I just wish you could add favorites and bookmarks like you could in WP 7.5.

I just noticed no favorites either. Sigh,  I guess I'm going back to Nokia maps.  But Bing Maps is pretty darn fast.  I hope notices the frustration.

I'd like WPCentral to please "bring back" a "Read more" link in their RSS excerpts. It can't be that hard, and why would I need these tags instead?

Idk I may be the lone wolf here but I haven't noticed to big a difference from previous phone to my 920. That being said I don't really use it that much ( before or now).

Bing maps on the phone is still using Nokia maps data though. Look at the satellite imagery for key west Florida...still bad resolution in Nokia maps and Bing maps....BUT...try the Bingle Maps app...and configure it to use Bing maps...and it uses the REAL Bing maps data, like the Bing maps website does...that's what I'm using until they fix it.

App won't run on WP7.  So, if you have a WP7 Nokia (like a lot of us do), don't waste your time, you're only getting your hopes up for nothing.

Have a look at the reviews of Nokia Here for iOS. Most people say that the Nokia maps are even more outdated than Apple Maps...

One thing I don't see on the Bing maps for wp8 are the venues anymore. Nokia maps has it though.

I find it annoying that if i am using nokia maps, if i look at the directions, it pretty much blocks the map view, if i go to the map view, the directions go away.  I should be able to see both and just scroll for the directions, could do that with bing, cant do that with nokia, annoying. 

because nokia drive is a battery killer. 
If i am going within my area, i dont need nokia drive, i can just use nokia maps cuz its easier, faster, and less battery intensive. 
If i am going long distanc,e i woudl just nokia drive. 

If your going within your are you shouldn't need anything at all. Unless you just moved there. Its incredible how we forget to think on our own and depend on gadgets and their technologies!!! Don't take it the wrong way, but if I'm driving to my local WalMart... There is no need for me to pull out my maps app... Just saying.

Actually, if you have your local maps downloaded, Nokia drive should be just as battery efficient since it's not hitting the cell towers regularly for map info.

You need to be able to see the directions to see which route the device has planned for you! I was testing Drive yesterday and did not see this option. Recalculation was so slow that I would have missed several turns if I didn't know where I was going at the start.

Probably not, even though Nokia is allowing other manufacturers to put it on their phones. Blame HTC.

Thanks for pointing this out. The speed was the main issue for me and with the hard link to Maps it's SO much quicker!

How do you figure? With this app you get exactly the same thing HTC has. HTC doesn't have any spoken directions, aka Nokia Drive. IMO advantage Nokia on that one.

This app is the same as the original maps app. It's just a shortcut to it because it was hidden on the phone...nothing more. Both HTC and Nokia phones are using the same Bing/Nokia collaborated maps. There is zero difference.

Glad to know it's possible to get it back! This was one of the things that got to me after seeing a friend's 920. I know there was another search function that was also removed (the music one?) which I hope we can get back in the same way, unless Nokia have re-enabled them by the time I get one.

Still not happy about a lack of customer reminders in the calendar on WP8 though. The web-based calendar has more options so why can't the phones?

I really don't know what the big deal is ... I uninstalled Nokia Maps, and I use Drive+ directly for turn-by-turn navigation or launch directly from Local Scout. Both Bing and Nokia "Maps" aren't what I really want to use anyway and will only launch me into Drive+.

Exactly I dont know why we need all these map apps when you have good gps apps in the store. I still wish co pilot comes back to windows arena. .

On wp7 Bing maps satellite imagery is far superior to Nokia, it also updates quicker and is easier to read, I hope they haven't spoiled this in wp8.

Did WP8 lose native turn by turn directions? I only have a 920 so cant check for myself. Used to like the turn by turn from WP7.

I live in the US and have a Lumia 920. Nokia Maps is a disaster. Slow, crashes almost every time I use it, buggy, the UI and design lokos like Symbian from 6 years ago... I miss Bing Maps (fast, fluid, good-looking). I pretty much have no usable maps on my phone, ironic from the "Where" company.  

I agree with this! I swapped my Lumia 920 for the  HTC 8X to get Bing Map/voice naviagation back...

Yes. One is for driving navigation, the other is just maps--where you are, where something is that you searched for. When in the city, walking around you use Maps/Noka Maps as Drive would be 100% useless.

Great to have it back as Nokia app for me in the UK is appalling - poor integration, horrible search results, awful satellite imagery and no voice search. I am disgusted with both Nokia and MS for allowing the removal of a base operating system function on Lumias.

Sadly, whilst going back to the Bing app fixes most of these issues, there are no favorites and the satellite imagery is still awful. Does the 8X have favorites?

YES!!! Nokia Maps sucked. I had did the alternate solution of pinning a random address to my start screen. Thanks to this developer. I love my Nokia phone but hated the Maps. CHOICE IS GOOD.

I still can't use the old driving directions though? If I want directions, it still boots up Nokia Drive. What's the point then?

A lot of us aren't using this for driving directions but walking ones, or to find the nearest pizza place, or a friend's address or to even see where we are ;-)

Maps ≠ Driving Navigation for everyone.

Fail? Drive is awesome. City Lens is pretty sweet. Creative Studio is awesome. Nokia Music is Great. Cinemaraph is a cool to show off to friends. Nokia software wise is killing it more so than any other OEM.

In my experience, Drive is awful! I tried to use it yesterday roundtrip for an 8-mile drive. Each leg the app completely froze about 5 times for 30secs to 3 minutes at a time. The state maps had previously been downloaded to my phone. Effectively useless on my brand new Lumia 920.

I have had exactly this same experience.  And when Nokia Drive freezes, after a while I can exit the application, kill it as a background app, go back into it and it knows where I am!  Yet, it freezes all the time and stops updating.  I have been doing a LOT of traveling in rural areas that I am unfamiliar with, at night, and the freezing of Nokia Drive and it getting lost are infuriating.
In the city of Omaha Nebraska, I was driving through on freeways, driving downtown, and then walking, and for 45 mintues the phone had no idea where I was.  I simply could not navigate using Nokia Maps or Nokia Drive at that time, as for some reason it could not fixate on my position.  Rediculous.  And this is with offline maps and with full LTE reception.  Between GPS, cell phone triangulation, and WiFi all over the place it should have been able to find me.  Yet it was at best several blocks off.  And always thought I was driving 90 degrees or 180 degrees off of my actual direction.
And, yes, I have downloaded the maps.
Please, I'll take even Apple's new dreaded maps over the ones on my Lumia 920.  The fact that reviewers of this phone always give credit to Nokia Maps and Drive PROVES has lame reviewers are - they clearly do not actually use and live with the product for any period of time....

Does this app allow you to switch between them ... or is there no way to go back to Nokia maps as the default once you run this?

Nokia Maps is not really "the default", which is actually the problem: their app is not integrated into the rest of the OS.  So for example when you do a place search in Bing, you wind up in the native Maps app, which you can't easily get to otherwise.
I don't begrudge Nokia for wanting to promote its own branded solution, but power users should be able to restore the OS default experience should they choose to. 
With this tinkering, Nokia risks alienating a group of enthusiast customers that it should really want to keep on its side.

Is anybody able to see "Buzz" results when using search on Bing Maps.  This is what I mean: do a search or hit "local scout."  Click on any contact with a star rating, then swipe to the left for the "Buzz" panel.  Anybody see results?  In South Florida where I live, nothing on several Lumia 920s since maybe ten days ago when it stopped working.

This is officially the best app on the Marketplace. Nokia maps are completely terrible in Japan.
Bing maps were very bad at the start but quickly got updated within a year to surpass even Google's maps in road mapping quality. Nokia is even further behind where Bing was on Japan coverage.

Nokia maps in Japan is non-existant. Nokia even admits they dont have mapping in Japan, even thought they seem to have few highways/mainroads mapped. I think its a shame if Nokia forces to use their own maps in Japan for Lumia phones. I would expect for Nokia to bring maps of Japan rather soon, either from MS bing or some other source, and integrate it in Nokia maps. Otherwise Nokias decision to use its own maps is just plain stupid regarding to Japan.

No one can make a Japan map other than a Japanese company. Same with China, South Korea.
All maps from those countries are made by native companies -- the data is licensed by Nokia, google, Bing, etc.
Please be knowledgable of this shit before you start spewing crap about the map 'displayer'

Good news...  Even though I now use a 900, I had just about ruled out getting a new Nokia device because of this issue... seriously, everything about Nokia's decision is wrong.

Try Bingle Maps, its seems to have Bing Maps unlike this Maps app that is just bringing up Nokia maps !

Please help, I just installed this Maps thing and it still launching nokia maps instead of bing maps.. it doesn't do what it says in the article.. what is wrong? I even uninstalled Nokia Maps from the device.. no luck.
Using Lumia 920 RM-821

How exactly is this app better than Nokia maps? Does this use Bing maps? I'm recent WP user and I dont have any experience on Bing maps, so please explain. I installed it and the mapping data seems to be identical. Crappy satellite(non-existant where I live) and looks same mapping data otherwise. Nokia maps had predictive text search for nearby places/poi(very nice), this one didn't. Nokia maps navigated to nearby place in 0.3secs, for this one it took ages (10secs, probably over the net or something, default being 'drive' with no way to chance default.  When I select my 'search' from the map it allows me to Navigate with Nokia Drive only. There are 0 POI's in Bing maps or anything else for that matter, where as Nokia maps has tons. Nokia maps has tons of variety of information and options, where as in Bing you cannot do anything.
Only thing Bing maps wins Nokia maps is the launch time. Something like 0.5secs vs 1secs.
 I'm using Lumia 920. What this app brings is complete bs. By reading from some of the comments I doubt this app brings me the the Bing maps other people get. Could this be location based? Can someone please explain me?

Ok. Apparantly this app gives me Nokia mapping data with some shitty UI. Tested on Tokyo and it was non-existant just like in Nokia maps, where as in maps.bing.com Tokyo looks very accurate. So for some reason this does not give me Bing maps(atleast what some others seem to get).. so you can disregard my previous comments.

Wow, I had no idea Nokia Maps was so bad.  It was probably the one thing that was swaying me toward the 822 vs the 8X.  Might have to reconsider now

Yeah, you might want to test both phones' map apps in-store before making a decision. This 'supposed to bring Bing maps back' app was complete crap for me.

I don't think Nokia maps are bad, I guess it depends on your needs, I use it almost only for turn by turn directions with real voice and either walking or driving it works (using the Nokia Drive+), it seems that some people are not so happy with the traffic information but since I don't use that part I'm happy with the app with no complains.

This will be a good shortcut for me since my new Lumia 920 cannot open Nokia Maps; as soon as I open the app it automatically closes. I've reinstalled Nokia Maps but this did not help.