Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 App Focus: Maps

Posted on January 25, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

In Windows 10 Technical Preview 2, the built-in Maps app is remade as a universal app and, as such, it much more closely resembles the Windows Phone app of the same name. This is true visually, of course, but also functionally, with Maps now offering downloadable maps for offline use and other features from Windows Phone.

And I have to say I’m becoming a fan of the new universal app user experience, which gets rid of the terrible app bars from previous generation Modern apps and replaces them with a consistent slider control that comes in from the side and can work consistently across phones, phablets, tablets and PCs. This slider is always visible in a minimized view, but can be expanded at any time.

slider

Maps provides the following capabilities.

Use it offline. As with Maps (and HERE Maps and Drive+) on Windows Phone, you can download maps so that you can use the application for navigation offline. You do this through Settings, not from within the app directly, though there is a link.)

offline-maps

Find out where you are. Click the Show My Location button (or type CTRL + HOME) to locate yourself on the map.

your-location

Navigate on the map. Using the rotation and zoom controls, or multi-touch gestures, you can easily navigate around the map surface.

Change the look of the map. You can switch between a normal map view and an aerial (really satellite) view and enable real-time traffic if desired. You can also change the tilt of the map to make it more of a 3D experience.

sat

tilt

Find locations and then favorite and share them. Using search, you can find specific locations, but you can also access a Local Scout-like feature (again, from Windows Phone) to find nearby restaurants and bars, sights, shopping, hotels, banks, and parking. From there, you can favorite or share locations too. Favorites of course will sync between devices, so you can find a place on your PC and then navigate to it with your phone.

local-scout

Get directions. Maps can provide directions for driving, public transportation and walking, and will display both traffic and other obstructions. You can optionally avoid certain things (traffic, tolls, ferries, and so on) while driving.

directions

All in all, this appears to be very full-featured. I will need to test whether offline maps works well or at all without GPS hardware, but this appears to be a very faithful and updated version of Maps for Windows Phone. The only thing missing is voice-powered turn-by-turn navigation, which is of course by design. I’m curious if a HERE Drive+ or similar solution will appear for larger devices.