Five excellent bits of premium content for Ovi Maps
Navigation, routing, traffic and maps are all fine, but probably the final nail in the coffin of the dedicated satnav is that the free Ovi Maps app for Nokia phones comes with third-party content as well. On the Nokia site they'll refer to it as Premium Content but don't be scared off, it's still free and it's included in your download in the first place.
Rather than looking up things to do all over the map, the best use on your mobile is really for seeing what's in your local area - for those "right, I need to find an X" moments. So what does X equal? Well, these are the third parties who've mashed up their information and exactly what they can provide.
Places to stay, places to eat, entertainment and activities is what Lonely Planet has thrown in for Ovi Maps users to enjoy. There's obviously not going to be the same amount of information as you'd get from a dedicated Lonely Planet book, but there's still over a 1000 points of interest to peruse.
Click on the icon and it'll come up with a Lonely Planet menu with sections on Family, Festivals, Nightlife, Tours, Arts & Museums and Dance. All you need to do is pick what you're after, the GPS feeds back your location and you'll get a selection of what's on offer, what the Lonely Planet has to say about it and where it is on your map. If you wish to get route guidance to the POI, then obviously you can do that too.
Michelin might not have quite the same travel kudos as the Lonely Planet in some people's minds, but think a little harder and you'll realise the depth of content the company can offer. Michelin has extensive details of restaurants and hotels as well as some good mapping and routing of its own Via Michelin website, as it goes. Head for the icon on Ovi Maps - which, don't forget, is a connected part of the application, so mind the roaming - and you can make sure you're getting the very best cuisine on offer in your local area.
So, you've found somewhere to stay, checked out some museums and filled your bellies with good food, all that's missing is some evening events and that's where the WCities guide information comes in.
The WCities site itself is full of much more information but it's the Events section that Ovi Maps taps into. You'll find daily updated information on concerts, theatres, sporting events, special exhibitions, nightlife, festivals, fairs and just about any other calendar events you can think of. It covers 350 cities plus there's also listings info on 35,000 cinemas all over the world. Just click into the Services section and it'll pin-point what's going on around you within 3km.
If you're prompted for a update to Ovi Maps over the coming weeks (v3.04), then make sure you take it. On the 25 May 2010, Nokia announced a deal with Qype to add the user generated reviews site's information database as content as well.
Qype has over 1 million user reviews on 15,000 European cities and towns and provides not only unique POI, but also more personal information on places that the Lonely Planet, Michelin and WCities already describe.
Click on "more information" on a place and the app will bring up contact details, links to the venue's website, photos and the user reviews as well as an option to leave one of your own via the Qype mobile service. Well worth the download but maybe do it over Wi-Fi if you can.
Strictly speaking Own Voice isn't designed by a third party - it's a Nokia-built feature - but the content is very much non-Nokia. In fact, it's yours. The idea is that instead of boring old satnav voice commands, you can actually record your own. You can then upload it to the Own Voice community and allow other people to download it too. There's no real rich content here. It's basically just a novelty but it's a free, if slightly inaccurate, way of getting Sean Connery to direct you around town - well, someone doing an impression of him anyway.