The Problem With Maps Apps

The now-standard overhead helicopter view used by mobile GoogleMaps, AppleMaps, etc. is neato but not a perspective that is natural for humans while driving. I’d rather see huge clear labels than 3D graphics any day. They are distracting us more than assisting us.

Someone needs to infuse the old, human way of sharing directions into these map apps. Anyone remember this kind of information:

“At the end of the street, take a left, then at the next light, the main intersection, that’s Route 20. Get in the far right lane, go right on 20. Take that all the way to I-75 south (about 5 miles), which runs you right into Johnstown in about 20 miles. Take Exit 3C, go south and you will see the school on your left in about 5 miles. Harrington Street is on the right.”

They should summarize your directions into a paragraph and text it to you, that simple. You should use your eyes and senses when driving, which requires them looking outside of the car constantly, not staring at a video game view on the dashboard.

C’mon Maps Apps, be more human! We aren’t playing Doom we are driving a huge steel deathtrap and we need basic assistance in not getting lost. The current map interfaces cause more problems than they solve.

Note that the desktop/browser versions of Maps don’t suffer from the bad labeling, but they still don’t summarize directions into human paragraphs, or human shorthand.

  • End of street – take left.
  • Next light, main intersection – Route 20, take right
  • Take 20 to I-75 south (5 miles). Take I-75 south to Exit 3C in Johnstown (20 miles). Go south/right at Exit.
  • Take for 5 miles until Harrington Street on right, across from School.