Simplify your life by putting maps on a device that many of us carry anyway.
If you're strolling through a city, a laptop is kind of bulky to lug around and a GPS device is pretty specialized. Fortunately, many people carry another device that makes an easy container for maps: their cell phones. Cell phones of a recent vintage have clear enough screens, enough memory, and a good enough interface to give you convenient access to the data.
There are a lot of different map solutions available for specific operating systems and environments. To demonstrate the possibilities, we'll show TomTom City Maps London, one of a variety of map software programs available for the Nokia 60 seriesincluding the Nokia 7650, 3650, 3660, 3620, 6600, or N-Gage. TomTom City Maps works with or without a separate GPS unit, connected via Bluetooth.
TomTom City Maps (and a lot of other mapping software for mobile devices) is available from http://handango.com/. City Maps London, shown here, costs U.S. $4.99. Similar maps are available for many European cities, as well as a few American ones.
When you start out looking at London, there's a lot to it, as shown in Figure 5-2.
Figure 5-2. An overview of London, seen in a Nokia cell phone
You can zoom in for a much closer view at street level, complete with information about which streets are one-way, as shown in Figure 5-3.
Figure 5-3. Zooming in on Fleet Street to get a better idea of where you might be
City Maps can also give directions from a location to a location, using your preferences for road types. If you have a Bluetooth GPS device, City Maps can show you where you are on the map and adjust your planning accordingly. Without GPS, you can still use the directions, but you'll have to manually tell the software when you've reached an endpoint.
City Maps installation requires Windows XP, but the distribution is simple enough that Mac users can also put the information on their phone. Both Mac and Linux users can unzip the downloaded ZIP archive (one of mine was s60_cm_london.zip), navigate to the CityMaps/N9210 directory (the bit after the N may differ, depending on your map), and send the .sis files to the handset via Bluetooth. Open each incoming file (using the Messaging app) and install them in turn (order doesn't seem to matter).
The Handango web site can also download applications directly to many models of mobile devices.
Rael Dornfest and Simon St.Laurent