Feeds

Would you trust crowd-sourced maps? Skobbler releases satnav app

Paid navigation via opinion of world+dog

New hybrid storage solutions

Privacy-conscious Apple fanbois worried about The Man tracking their every move can now buy - and update - an offline mapping app from open-source mapping biz Skobbler.

Skobbler uses maps from the OpenStreetMap project, a crowd-sourced effort which offers an alternative to the maps offerings from Google, Bing and Nokia. Skobbler's new iOS app, ForeverMaps 2, adds features lacking from the mainstream options but with one key addition - a price tag.

It's not a lot of cash, in fairness: the app is priced at 69p until the weekend and £2.49 thereafter, which seems like a small price to pay for truly offline mapping which can be used without the cloud following one's every step.

Not only are downloadable vector maps available but all of the route-planning calculations are performed locally, so the maps work without a data connection - which should make it the default option for anyone without a data contract.

But that 69p won't provide navigation advice, or a driver's-eye view to compete with satnav apps. For that one has to shell out £1.49 for Skobbler's navigation tool, plus a couple of quid for the offline UK map.

Neither app works on Android devices, though we're promised integration soon.

ForeverMaps is interesting because it makes such great use of OpenStreetMaps, offering users the chance to become cartographers just as Wikipedia offers readers the chance to become writers, though with a measure of quality control sadly lacking from the encyclopaedia.

OpenStreetMaps has matured of late, and now rivals the free alternatives in quality and speed even if it lacks some of the flasher features (no 3D buildings or street view images), but it will appeal to those who value their privacy.

Microsoft, Google and Nokia all fund their free maps by selling local adverts and delivering them to users who wander near enough. That means tracking users, an idea many people find repugnant and will buy from Skobbler to avoid.

But only by tracking our every move can Google and its competitors deliver information we didn't know we wanted: reminding us when we have to leave for a meeting rather than when we've left it too late; knowing that music is distracting at work but welcome at home; and all the other cloud-based intelligence Google and its ilk are hoping to deliver to us - functionality which costs us nothing more than our privacy. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.