Preview of Nokia Maps 3.0 on Windows Phone 8

It’s no secret that we’re fans of mapping applications and with Windows Phone 7 we had a very capable built in mapping app created by Microsoft themselves that used the Bing mapping at the backend. Since then Microsoft have switched Bing to use Nokia's mapping platform on the web and now with the latest version of Windows Phone.

With Windows Phone 8 we see a marked upgrade to the baked-in capabilities of maps, as Nokia have embedded their “where” platform right into the heart of the OS. Nokia have just updated their Nokia Maps app to 3.0 and with it we start to see some of the big improvements that these underlying changes to the OS will bring. We think you're going to like it.

With Windows Phone 8 all apps will now be able to take advantage of the underlying improvements to mapping platform so offline mapping and turn by turn will be available to all. We have seen how well Nokia’s mapping apps perform on Windows Phone 7 with products like Nokia Drive so we know they can bring the goods to the table. It’s of no surprise to see that the company are already hard at work to make sure their location apps have some of the best experiences available in the marketplace.

Nokia Maps 3.0 offers true offline use so that you won’t be caught out while navigating in poor signal areas and the first truly discoverable mobile implementation of venue maps . You'll also get vastly improved directions while navigating on foot.

There is still more to come with Nokia Maps, pedestrian navigation will get spoken turn-by-turn events in a future update and we know Nokia are keen to keep these things fresh. Following is how things are looking as the app reached its 3.0 milestone..

About- Whats New - Settings

About, Settings and What's New..

Pedestrian Walking Maps

When selecting a pedestrian route in the new version of Nokia Maps the view changes to show you which way to turn at each corner. Also at the bottom of you get the option to slide through each part of the route by swiping left and right as desired. In testing the map swang around and moved fluidly throughout this process and kept pace with my movements well even in an urban setting.

The coming version will feature voice guidance which should mean we can finally put the phone in the pocket and just listen to the prompts. For now the map experience in this mode is much improved and points the way to how this should be done.

Pedestrian walking directions maps

Pedestrian Turn by turn view


Venue Maps

This is a feature many have been excited about for some time, Nokia have been busy amassing detailed internal maps of key public locations. These venue maps were available in Bing Maps through the web interface but have so far been absent from Windows Phone (in an intuitive and fully fleshed out way) until now. Initial reaction to this is Nokia have done a really good job of the user experience around this potentially complex feature. The improved underlying performance of the platform has allowed them to provide a new visualisation layer to help make this visually more comprehendible.

When using the maps, you’ll see that certain buildings like a shopping mall will have a blue icon near or even on top of it, if you press this it highlights the venue and shows more information about the inside layout. If the building has public spaces on multiple levels then you’ll be presented with a sliding selector to choose different floors, it all works rather well.

When you have selected the venue, the bottom section of the screen shows you a peek at what lays inside, for instance you can select ‘directory’ and it will list every business in the mall or if you slide over to facilities then it will list key points of interest such as ATMs and such. If you want more information on a shop that’s inside a mall then you can retrieve that by clicking on its name in the map and it will bring up the address and other details.

I found the experience to be very intuitive and didn’t have any problems figuring out the entire feature, this is a really good implementation of this new level of mapping. I look forward to seeing how this feature gets developed and tuned over time, the continual adding of venue data will be key to ensuring the utility of such a feature. It must be pervasive and not the exception to the rule to be able to see the venue maps for public space, as long as Nokia can continue to add new venues this shouldn't be an issue.

wpcentral nokia maps 3.0 venue maps preview

Want to know where to go inside the building? Nokia can help with that!



Map options in Nokia Drive 3.0

Integrated Transit Directions

One notable improvement many have sought is the integration of public transit directions in the mapping experience. That’s here too and works in just the way you would expect although it’s not quite as fully featured as Nokia’s dedicated Nokia Transport App. With Nokia’s Transport app it presents multiple routes depending on when you leave and includes bus routes.

In my testing I wasn’t able to bring up any routing options for a bus but that may not be conclusive as to the possibility it exists. In my testing only underground lines and metropolitan surface lines presented themselves as routing possibilities. I will check with Nokia and update when I get feedback.

Integrated Transit Directions

Public Transport is now an option along with walking and driving routes...

Downloadable Maps

This is something of a back-end feature now in Windows Phone 8 but it’s good to see how this works. I live in the UK so added the entire map for our little island, it took up 280MB of storage. You get to add as many maps as you please and drill into each region if you only want part of a country if you wish. I looked at the map download for the entire US which came in at a cool 2.5GB. 

The new devices will all have more space on them generally so these sizes shouldn’t be too much of a concern. It’s just good to know that when you need to do some serious mapping you can pack your phone out with everything you need and not worry about getting a mobile signal to use it. Enough memory and you can have all the worlds offline maps on your phone.

In Windows Phone 8, the maps can also be independently updated so Nokia can provide faster updates to mapping data on the phone. This should improve the experience greatly while providing that all-important accuracy. 

download those maps!

Download, update and stay current with your map data okay?

Refreshed platform brings new experiences

The mapping experience in Windows Phone 7 with the native mapping app was good. The problem with it was that it was locked into the OS and so could only be changed when the whole OS was updated. Thankfully we’re moving away from this way of doing things with Maps and even the phone itself can be updated on fly without the need for carrier intervention or major OS upgrades to change certain core experiences.

Mapping on smartphones has become incredibly popular, we saw with the issues that Apple had when it launched its mapping product how much people rely on this feature. The outrage that followed the mapping snafu did real damage to the normally Teflon-coated fruit themed company. With maps we see a huge opportunity for Windows Phone 8 and Nokia to really lead in this area, we hope to see them fully promote this advantage.

In using maps for this short amount of time, it’s hard not to be impressed with the speed and fluidity of the user interface. Where there are 3d elements to the maps you’ll see those move around at nice high frame rates.  That isn’t to say there are never slowdowns, the maps occasionally doesn’t update fluidly but this is likely a sign of the platforms relative newness. With more updates in the pipeline including the turn by turn pedestrian guidance things are looking good indeed for maps on Windows Phone 8.

We’d like to hear what you think of these improvements, if you have any questions send them along and I’ll do my best to answer them. We know that folks from Nokia do read these comments as much as we do and they do often wade in to provide some answers where they can. 

Robert Brand
  • How are there no mass transit directions? 
  • Lumia phones certainly have it in form of Nokia Transit. 
  • That might come to WP8 but unlikley as transit is baked into Nokia Maps 3.0 - Car, Pedestrian & Transit. Happy day? :) RB
  • Oh that's great! been wishing for some time that they could combine it. 
  • Ohh RB! you made me laugh on this:  Enough memory and you can have all the worlds offline maps on your phone.
    But you are the best. thanks for the walkthrough. BTW, where are you doing this walkthrough? because my already heavily damaged eyes can barely see anything on the phone screen.
  • I bought a Nokia N95 (5 years old) at 5 €uros
    Then I inserted my 16GB (15GB formatted) microSD into and downloade continent by continent the whole world
    It took more than four hours (if I recall correctly) but finally I got it all (and still have it)
    cities diskcache is 8310 MB according to Filer on the Nokia N95
    cities is 8316 MB including also maploader and a few "ini" files
  • You, sir, are the ultimate mapgeek! +1
  • There are transit directions :) RB
  • Still pretty disspointed about the lumia 900 debacle. Everytime I see something added to the Windows 8 line up and no mention for current Lumia 900 users it just peeves off.
  • Cry more.  Then give it a rest.
  • While it wont be possible to update the platform on WP7.5, 7.8 is coming and Nokia are commited to updating their exclusive apps for other devices too. RB
  • Dude relax... U have a lumia you will get all this shit they show..thats the good thing about Nokia they been soon this for a long time they know this shit works.. So just be patient
    .a lot of countries still waiting for the lumia 900 so WAIT
  • I think Nokia out of all the OEMs has done an outstanding job supporting the 900. The Lumias have the most useful OEM apps and they have actually been updated in recent months.
    Compared that to my first gen Focus that hasn't seen any updated apps from Samsung since 2010.
    It's out of Nokias hands that WP8 has changed on such a fundamental level that all of its features wont' be available for WP7.x users. Expecting a caveat on every Windows Phone 8 story about Windows 7.X or the 7.8 update is unrealistice and unresonable. 
    You have choices: you can either leave the WP platform, upgrade to a WP8 device, or be as happy with your 900 as the day you got it (becaue if you weren't happy on day one, why did you buy it in the first place?).
  • Check your upgrade elibility - I checked mine yesterday and unless I am doing something wrong, apparently I am eligible for a full discount so long as I extend for two years.
  • What about the Nokia maps/drive+ for Nokia wp8 users?
  • Nokia Drive + is coming... RB
  • I can not wait to try this!!
  • Has the volume level increased to hear voice navigation?
  • I really hope so, and I hope it pauses music playback too... the way Bing Maps does today.
  • So is this review only for the Nokia WP8 phones, or will Nokia Maps 3.0 also be available on HTC and Samsung variants? Anyone know where there's a clear answer on the Nokia exclusive apps that are offered in WP8? For that matter, does HTC and/or Samsung also have other exclusive apps?
  • There's around ~22 Nokia made apps depending on your region. Apps like Nokia Music, Nokia TV, Nokia Reading, Nokia lenses apps, Nokia City lens, Nokia Trailers etc Those are all Nokia apps and Nokia has easily the largest and best library there.
    As far as Nokia Maps go it will be available for all, though it's still at least to me a bit unclear will Nokia keep some special features on maps, but the main things should probably be for all. Nokia Drive example reads Nokia Drive+.
  • Thanks for the clarification. I'd love to see wpcentral have a WP8 exclusive phone-app comparison chart. Would help my decision making much easier! :-)
  • Will the current generation handsets get this update I know it won't be baked in but would we receive it as an app update?
  • Nokia havent confirmed or denyed any features/updates coming to older devices. They dont really talk much about their future updates either. All I can say is they seem commited to their existing user base. RB
  • These videos could definitely benefit from the Lumia 920's anti-shake stabilization technology lol.
  • Noted! I only have one Lumia 920 :) RB
  • Ok great for new windows phone 8 users, but why can't this be available for windows phone 7.8 ? It's software and by the looks of it , the nokia maps app can be updated to fit wp7.5 hardware. I hope Nokia doesn't follow the same Microsoft route and leave 710, 800, and 900 users in the cold. 
  • Will non-Nokia phones have real turn by turn directions? Meaning, did they finally get rid of the need to tap the screen for the next step? There seem to be conflicting reports about this.
  • Yes, all WP8 devices will get turn by turn, they actually will get Nokia Drive. :) RB
  • Not least not until its confirmed by specific OEMs...if you buy an 8X youre at the mercy of HTC willing to license nokia drive and provide it free of cost to its customers....and neither HTC nor samsung have confirmed until now. But yes nokia is willing to license nokia drive to any other OEMs who're interested as explained in their conversations blog yesterday.
  • That's is why I'm not getting HTC 8x, instead it will be 810 on t-mobile. I don't want to be at the mercy of OEMs, especially HTC or Samsung they're terrible when it comes to upgrade or fixing their phones.
  • @Robert...Not exactly, according to Pino's post on the Nokia Maps 2.9 post.  While Nokia Drive will be made available by Nokia to other oems, unless HTC or Samsung licenses it from Nokia, HTC and Samsung users will not get it.  And given that there's been nary a mention of the service by HTC or Samsung, my guess is is that they will not license it for their users.
  • Do you know yet if they finally included the ability to take an address from maps straight into Nokia drive?
  • yes its there now all the nokia mapping apps are connected to each other now , like if u find something on nokia maps and want turn by turn navigation to that then you can just choose that and it will launch nokia drive with that location as your destination
  • Where in neither maps nor Nokia maps do I have the option to get to Nokia drive.
  • u talking about WP7 or WP8? i'm talking about WP8
  • Lol wp7, that's why I was asking as currently I can't  :)
  • Will this be available on the HTC 8X or just the Nokia phones?
  • Seems pretty clear to me, Maps is builtin to all WP8 devices, Drive is an option on top of that. What is not clear yet is whether users will be able to buy it themselves or if it will be up to the OEM's to provide it. Nokia has said they will clarify this in the coming days so just wait and all should be known.
  • Nokia Drive is coming to all Windows Phone 8 devices, that is from Nokia themselves. We have reconfirmed this with them. RB
  • they clarified it yesterday over at the blog....and its up to the OEMs to provide it to their customers....I guess the OEMs need to license it from nokia but nokia is willing to license it out.
  • Someone really needs to lay this out very clearly about the maps situation. 
    So on a HTC 8x, when you open maps, is it using Nokia's maps, as well as their backend location data, transit, etc?  
    Is Drive coming to the 8x?  Anyone know?
  • A: Yes B: Yes C: Yes D: Yes :)  
  • i would assume that it will appear in the WIndows Phone Store as nokia drive to download....HTC better not block that crap..
  • Can the 8X download offline maps?
  • Robert, thanks for your persistent patience in answering the same question multiple times. I would have gone nuts by now. Keep up the flow of good data.
  • Just searched for mapping software on the store and didnt get back anything other than the AT&T navigator.
  • The venue maps in the WP Maps app have been available since Mango. Just search for a mall or major airport near you. For some reason the mapped venues don't appear when you are browsing maps, you must search. I'd take a screenshot but....
  • Indeed, and I've used it. Very helpful!
  • Rendering is indeed very smooth. Hope this integrates well with Drive.
  • Can you show the navigation in landscape mode? 2 issues i have with nokia drive is that when in landscape mode, hud is too the left blocking windows phone pop up notification for calls and texts. The other is that when you get to destination, it never shows a static destination address anywhere only a flag which causes me to have to look at addresss on a piece of paper which is lame. destination address needs to be static until you stop current trip. Also, make navigation hud smaller giving more map to screen. Thanks.
  • yes nokia maps are best
  • Can one check to see if there are voices with street names? I know this was sorely missed on lumia devices
  • Can you just mark a spot on the map and have it navigate from the current location to that random spot? 
  • Yes, press an hold to mark it, then navigation is possible RB
  • My question is if they added actual turn-by-turn street names to the voice. This was the one major lacking feature behind Google Navigation that is a very big deal. Mostly when dealing with cities that have a number of highway exits in rapid order it helps if it tells you "Take Exit 5 on the Right" rather than "Now. Take the Exit."
    It always helps when the GPS is sometimes behind a little bit that you know to turn on to Maple Street before you get just past it and realize it meant Maple Street...
  • For offline Nokia Maps 3.0, can you search for local businesses like you would with a dedicated Garmin GPS & still not require a data connection?
  • From Engadget article:
    Unfortunately, this transition into Nokia Maps has a negative side effect: voice turn-by-turn navigation has been disabled, making it only accessible through apps that support the feature, such as Nokia Drive. It wasn't available on our review unit, however, so we weren't able to test it out.
    So will Nokia maps on Windows 8 have Voice turn by turn navigaiont or not?
    That would suck if it didn't.
    On a side note, I'd like to see voice on dictionary apps like Andrioid has.
  • This was a question I asked Pino a few times about, voice turn by turn, hell, Symbian had it. The thing that amazes me the most is it sounds like Nokia Drive isn't 100 percent finished for WP8, how long have they been working on this? I'm starting to sense a big push to get this phone out and it's not completely ready???
  • Will the HTC models have any options for truly offline maps?
  • Definately hoping that this comes to Windows Phone 7. Nokia did mention that turn by turn list will make it.
  • Does this anybody know? (1) Is (or will be) pedestrian navigation a part of Nokia Maps or Nokia Drive?
    (2) And are Nokia Maps *and* Nokia Drive capable of using offline navigation?
    (3) So is it possible to use (offline) pedestrian navigation with an HTC 8X?
    (4) And how about with Nokia Transport / City Lens / Pulse with an HTC 8X? I know... questions follow questions. Sorry for that.
  • Does the new Maps on Windows 8 have helcopter imagery like bing maps on mango (satellite imagery is usually very bad and blurry)
    Does the new maps have street view like in google maps?
    Is it really true that only Nokia has turn by turn navigation available now in Nokia Drive, if I buy HTC 8x I will get no navigation solution?
    Can you search for points of interest and make routes to a POI in Nokia only or in all windows 8 phones?
    I haven't yet found an answer to these questions, I find the situation extremly confusing and unclear. Saying that HTC or Samsung might license Nokia Drive does not give much confidence.
  • At this time there isnt any "birds eye" images in maps, I have thrown in a snapshot into the article for you. You get standard maps, satelite, public transport and traffic. Who knows, there is space for more... RB
  • I'm hoping they include all major theme parks as downloadable maps.
  • So if I'm using offline maps am i still using data? Does gps use data? This is cool but I'm still worried about hitting my data cap.
  • Once you download the maps into your phone, you set the phone to offline, in Nokia Drive at least,  and you won't be using data. Correct me if I'm wrong but the GPS signal doesn't use your data either.
  • Please Nokia add the option to choose wether you want to use the highway, motoway and none toll roads. Apart from that everything else in the update looks great.
  • I agree. It's not all that often that I need those options, but there are a few cities I travel to for work that have toll roads and/or bad highway traffic so being able to route around them would be very nice (like you can on Android).
  • Is it possible to launch Drive directly from Maps unlike in WP7? Are the favorites shared between Maps and Drive?
  • My understanding is yes. Not sure about favorites. Hopefully this is a seamless integration between these apps. I imagine it being a little bit painful going from app to app.
  • That may make it possible for me to survive the fact that the power button on the damn thing will be covered by the car mount.
  • got maps for Brunei Darussalam?
  • Nokia Maps is great, it is clean and easy to use. You can use it on the iPhone and iPad too, with native app Many Maps -
  • I for one am not thrilled about the NOKIA Maps. WP7 had a wonderfully clean integration with Maps, Directions, Turn by Turn by Turn, Contacts, Scout, and the web. Windows 8 has all the features but not "wonderfully clean integration"! It is just plan clunky as compared to the BING Maps and directions. I guess Microsoft was losing too much money with the BING Search and decided to outsource.
    I have a NOKIA Lumia 822 now and there isn't even an icon for Bing Maps or for the Bing Scout. (You can get both by using the Bing search however) I don't know if this is just a NOKIA issue or if HTC and Samsung have to deal with it as well. All I can say is that the small improvements on the start page, and a few others, just don't make up for the incredible clumsiness of the integration between contacts, address, turn by turn, and the lack of north facing up (not available in the NOKIA Drive). It is just a major step backwards.
    Microsoft, If it isn't broke, and in fact is one of the best pieces of the WP7 platform, please don't wreck it.
    Now I have to decide if I should go back to windows 7.5 until this mess gets straightened out. It really takes the joy out of an otherwise good phone and OS.
  • OK, Nokia just updated my 2.9 to 3.0 and it does integrate much better. In addition the venue capability is really strong. The NOKIA Drive (Beta) is now integrated into the Map Directions, so... perhaps I should have taken a Chill Pill. Still I wish there was just one Map interface. It still has the "Bing Maps" interface for Bing Search, Scout and address Hyperlink. (with an icon on the bottom to activate the Nokia Drive (Beta) and the Nokia Maps interface if you press the Nokia Maps ICON. (Again, there is no Bing Maps or "MAPS" ICON, at least not on the Nokia handsets) 
  • I have a Nokia lumia 820 downloaded this app and it worked ok, but since updating it all it does is crash, i have tried uninstalling and reinstalling several times all to no avail, WHAT IS GOING ON, can someone please help as this is very fustrating?