Today sees the newest installment of Nokia Maps emerge with Ovi integration and stacks of smart guidance upgrades. Building on the context aware roots of the previous incarnation of Maps, this latest version has evolved to expand on the original vision and include more social mapping tools and introduce a new cross-platform twist between mobile and PC.

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Maps on Ovi has been developed to enable you to freely pre-plan your trips and organize your favourite places on your PC, and sync it all seamlessly with Nokia Maps 3.0 on your device.

Michael Halbherr is vice president for Nokia location based experiences, and highlights the significance of this marriage between Nokia’s mobile Maps app and Maps on Ovi:

“Nokia has clearly increased the usability of Maps, and now with the integration of Ovi services, the functionality of this service can also be seen online. Enabling Nokia Maps the ability to synchronize my favorite places between my mobile and PC becomes the main reason for anyone to switch from other personal navigation devices to Nokia Maps.”

The Nokia Maps 3.0 app is making its debut on Nokia Beta Labs, and hits the streets with higher quality, more detailed maps and even 3D landmarks for 216 cities, meaning it promises an even more contextual and instinctive personal navigation experience. Plus, the on-foot guidance has been improved, mapping out straight-line routes for the shortest pedestrian walks, alerting you with subtle beeps and buzzes when you need to be notified of a turn.

Another major tweak in the latest version Nokia Maps is that you can now tap into real-time info, such as camera alerts, safety spots and even event and movie guides for over 450 destinations.

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First thing you will notice is the new look and feel of our basic map. Colours of the map are now better and performance improvements are easy to detect when panning & zooming the map. Try out zooming higher up and you’ll see that there is much more road and city information available. In close zooming levels we have the new cool 3D landmarks visible in major cities. Totally new for mobile devices are the terrain maps. Check for example the Alps or any other mountain rage near you.

Our maps are now also available in the web under Nokia’s Ovi brand, so point your browser to maps.ovi.com and register as an Ovi user! This enables you to use the synch feature to keep your favorite places up to date in both mobile & web.

Pedestrian navigation (aka Walk) is guiding you now also in the areas where real routing is not possible. Application offers you simple straight line between your destination & your current position and keeps updating the direction when you move. In the city areas routing is smart enough to direct you through parks & squares and it’s not tied to streets & paths only. We also have now some audio & vibration alerts during the pedestrian guidance to help you to detect when there is something happening on the screen where you should pay attention.

In car navigation (aka Drive) we have added a route overview to the navigation carousel. You can check the whole route in a one look and see what is ahead of you. When driving, you can be sure that you are not speeding with the help of the speed limit warner and the lane assistance shows you suitable lanes which to take to keep in your route.

All the improvements did mean that we had to break the map data compatibility with previous maps, so you will have to update both the application and map data. But for this purpose we have created a tool called Nokia Maps Updater, which you need to install to your Windows PC and run. It will update Maps 3.0 and compatible map data to your device for you automatically. We are also providing update for Nokia Map Loader application, so you can add more map data to your device if you want to.

You can download the new Nokia Maps Beta 3 from its page on BetaLabs. Keep in mind though, its only for S60 3rd Edition Feature pack 2 devices for now (Except the N96. They’re having compatibility issues with it, so its not recommended to install on the N96 just yet).

But Nokia Maps 3 is also coming along for Feature pack 1 devices soon, so y’all just have to wait a little while longer.

In Maps 3.0 beta old Maps 2.0 licenses are supported, so if you have Walk or Drive licenses on your device, they will continue working also after the update.

[Sources : Nokia Conversations, Nokia BetaLabs]

If you don’t have a Drive & Walk licence to try this out, you can get a 7-day navigation trial licence by visiting www.nokia.com/maps/trial. This trial licence is available in following countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Czech, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Venezuela.

-Clinton Jeff

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