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Midnight Mystery Tour


Since getting my Nexus 7 and discovering how to hook it over the sunscreen in my car, I have been using it as my in-car navigation system. Google Maps has served well although with the small quirk that I have to touch the screen every now and then in order to prevent the device falling asleep. There is a navigation mode which does this automatically but, as far as I can tell, this requires a data connection that my wifi Nexus doesn’t have when out and about.

Earlier this week, with a couple of longish drives due over some unfamiliar territory, I decided to try a dedicated SatNav app and picked MapFactor Navigator. I am using the free maps from Open Street Map; quite a hefty download to get all the data for the UK but no danger of driving into a section of roads that isn’t available offline.

I am still a little ambivalent about it. On the one hand, it is handy to get back to a program that can speak directions and recalculate routes on the fly. On the other, the maps have a few points when they don’t accurately reflect the flow of the roads (eg. treating a junction as a mere twist in the road and so not giving a warning about it) and the routing can be a little strange. For my journey back home last night, I asked for the cheapest route and found myself being guided down a series of very minor roads; surely it would be cheaper to travel down a decent sized dual carriage way than snaking down roads paralleling it and through housing estates? Pulling over into a lay-by, I switched to “fastest” mode which gave me a more sensible route to the M40 and down to home.

I’ll stick with it for a while but remember not to trust it too much; taking the scenic route is no fun when its dark and you just want to get home!


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