Ovi Maps Voice Navigation Now Free For N97, New Version Available

by Mike Macias on February 27, 2010

The news about free Ovi Maps navigation for the N97 smartphone is somewhat old, it was announced about four weeks ago. As many of you have already noticed the writers here are a bit behind with the times the past few months. All of us have been extremely busy with things besides blogging, but we assure you that we should be back in business (hopefully) from here on out. Now – let’s talk about the new Ovi Maps with free turn by turn voice navigation for the Nokia N97.

First off – I love it. I’ve never enjoyed using Ovi/Nokia Maps in the past, mainly because it was useless since it did the same thing as Google Maps, just not as good. The interface was also slow and a bit clunky But now that you throw voice navigation into the mix, the dynamics are completely changed. I can punch in an address and a nice British woman will tell me how to get there. If you have one of the “fixed” N97s like mine, the GPS is spot on and locks under a minute. I’ve tested this out a lot the past few weeks so that I can give you guys an accurate review. I absolutely love how when I am coming up to a turn, I am warned hundreds of feet before and then told when to turn as I approach the intersection. This makes it nice because you won’t be trying to change lanes at the last second. If you pay attention to the directions or glance at the screen you’ll know ahead of time that the turn is coming up. I even get the speed I am going and the distance before I reach my next turning point. Amazing! If I start to go off track or decide to take a route that I think is faster, Ovi Maps will re-calculate the route to get you the proper directions from your location.

Screenshots

Because you really have to experience it to get a grasp of how cool this really is, I’ll stop the talk and just show you a handful of screenshots.

Dashboard:

Tap “Drive”, this is the screen you get:

If you set your “Home” point, it’s easy to get you home without fiddling around with your address or favorites.

During your route, swipe your finger over the screen for different views:

Weather:

Detailed Weather:

Events Nearby:

More Than Maps

As shown in the screenshots there is more to Ovi Maps than just directions. You can also get movie times under the “Events” sections, see points of interest, weather, and even share your current location on Facebook. The Facebook aspect of Ovi Maps also comes with a homescreen widget, allowing you to share your location with friends.

Preload Your Maps

Be sure to preload all the maps you need onto the mass storage drive. I technically could have put the entire United States of America on my phone, but there is no need for that. I loaded up the entire west coast and Nevada. It’s just nice to know that I can go anywhere and have Maps in my pocket, and won’t need to rely on a data connection like I would with Google Maps. Everything loads much faster when maps are preloaded. Use the Maps Loader program to install maps.

Road Trip!

Check out this cheesy, yet very informative video made by Nokia showing how useful Ovi Maps is in the car.

Nokia N97 In The Car

It really helps to have a good setup in your car to allow you to easily see your N97 and tap something on the screen without having to reach far. I recently bought an awesome car holder for the N97 on Amazon.com. It’s called the Accessory Power FlexSmart Car Mount System for SmartPhones – Cutting Edge FM Transmitter and Charger with DC Surge Protection and Stabilized Flex-Neck. I’ll be reviewing it for you guys really soon. It’s perfect for my needs, and even charges my phone. My N97 is now my main source of music, navigation, and communication inside my car. Of course make sure to keep your eyes on the road and use caution at all times.

Download Ovi Maps

Go to this link for more details and download options. Also check the Software Updater application, you might find it there.

New Beta Version: I am currently testing out a newer version released by Nokia Beta Labs. It offers a few updates and better performance. Click here to try it yourself. Steve Litchfield from All About Symbian reviewed this new beta version. Read it here.

Have you tried out this latest version of Ovi Maps with free voice navigation? Let us know how you like it and what improvements you’d like to see in future versions.




  • kitt

    Hey. You wrote: 'If you have one of the “fixed” N97s like mine, the GPS is spot on and locks under a minute.' What do you mean by that? It usually takes my n97 about 5 minutes to find the signal which is ruining the whole experience… Thx!

  • christian eichholz

    hi! he means that the first production of the n97 has problems with gps fix and camera lens. but this is no prob because you can fix it by nokia service for free!

  • robb

    It works very good,It replaced my Sygic. Much better than google maps,

  • RaphiBF

    I just love it, too! I use a TomTom Go in car and OVI Maps is nearly as good and even better at some points. I would not have thought, you could put such a Navi-Engine in a Smartphone a year ago!

    Greetz

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    Fantastic article, Mike! I just wish that the roads down here were better catalogued so that navigation would make sense for me. But it's such a small town down here anyway, it's hard to get lost!

    ;) I Promise to all of the fanatics out there to get moving on my next article! hahaha…

    MD 7

  • dfa24

    this work great on my n97. but in 5800 it does not find the name of streets. he finds the only name of different individuals like school, hospitals.. what I can do from this?

  • dfa24

    anybody?

  • http://www.n97fanatics.com Mike Macias

    I would think it would be the same exact version. Don't you think?

  • Ripper1012

    Hi All,
    when i tired the previous version 3.03 when i did a postcode search, it only came up with the distance to where i am now and “UK” …. does this not tell you the street name to confirm you put in the right post code? Would be a nice feature if its not in the new version.

    just getting my N97 back from being repaired and ill install to test and post back views!

    Cheers all

  • cjn52

    I have to say that I just used this on a trip to St Thomas where we rented a car, and it worked great. I have a pre order, not “fixed” N97 and I'll say that the gps fix in St Thomas was so much more accurate than here in the US (at least in N FL where I live)..maybe due to being closer to the equator? Who knows..in any event the maps for St Thomas are not available on maploader, so I downloaded them with my home wifi before leaving. Interesting that it was available by browsing on the maps app and not available on maploader…but it worked great..search was great, nav worked really good as well until we learned the roads.

  • dfa24

    I dont know what to do with this. I told the same version on my n97 work great, but on 5800 (dont know why) doesnt found streets.

  • http://www.n97fanatics.com Mike Macias

    Let us know how it goes! I recently got my N97 back from repairs and the new one they sent me is working like a champ!

  • http://www.n97fanatics.com Mike Macias

    That's great to hear. It was really smart of Nokia to make their maps free. It's about time! I feel like my N97 is more valuable lately, especially with the latest firmware working so well.

  • cjn52

    The thing that I didn't realize is that maps are available for areas that are not listed on maploader

  • Ripper1012

    hi mate

    Just got my N97 back and reinstalled ovi Maps. unfortuanately it still seems to be doing the same thing when i search for a Postcode. (I am serching for UK post Code.. ) and all it says when i search is
    “24miles – UK” Shuold it not says the Street name that matches the Postcode rather then the distance from my location? .. Hmmmmm

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    I can't say that I completely understand your situation, as I don't use Maps too often down here in Mexico…but it seems to me that a postal code wouldn't necessarily be associated with one street name…would not a postal code include a much larger area with several (often hundreds) of street names? Giving you the distance to said postal code seems like the only real information it can give you.

    I just realized that 'postcode' may in fact be an address that you are searching for. If that is the case, I can only repeat that I don't really use Maps that often and haven't got a clue as to how it 'should' work (also, the Maps app doesn't know any of the street names down here anyway…neither does Google maps).

    MD 7

  • percy33

    hey guys,

    I recently bought an N97 of ebay and was trying to get the GPS to work but to no avail. I had the old version of the maps installed and I also installed the new version (3.0) but it just wouldnt pick up my location. Anyhow sent my N97 away to a nokia care centre and hope to have it back sometime next week. On the repair sheet i specified the GPS problem, so I take it when I get my N97 back then the maps will work properly? I take it this is what you mean when you say “fixed”?

    I previously had a 6220 classic and the maps worked perfect on it.

  • Ted

    I cant see what is so good about Ovi Maps v3.03. It always shows my location 1 or 2 streets away from actual, and we cant walk/drive to an exact address, only POI. This is pathetic, and google maps on Nokia?? You have to pay through the nose for it!! What would be good, is if Nokia took on board Skyhook Map Booster. As for now, i will stick to my trusted Tom Tom XL and go back to previous Nokia Maps. Ovi maps is a step backwards.

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    I wish I knew more about maps, I just don't really use it down here…but
    what's this about paying for google maps on Nokia? I have a free google
    maps app straight from google…not sure what you mean by paying for it. In
    any case, the maps just aren't my thing (unfortunately)

    MD 7

    ——- Original message ——-

  • Ted

    Interesting, will have to take another look at google. Had it a few months ago and continually asked to use my Telstra GPRS. This is a great site by the way!!

  • http://www.hamcityheadquarters.com MajorDouble7

    Ahhh, yes, that makes sense. The app is free, but you've got to have
    internet access to use it, whereas Nokia maps you download and can use
    offline. I have a data plan to make full use of my N97, so I often forget
    about data charges.

    You will certainly have to use the internet/data usage to use google maps.

    MD 7

    ——- Original message ——-

  • Tim

    This is so sick, i love the new ovi maps. I was considering a dashboard GPS for my truck but with this app, who needs one? I'm not sure what people are saying about their phones not locking with satellites but mine took less than 15seconds, and i'm currently sitting inside a building (my cube @ work)….. sweet. Thanks for the great article Mike, keep it up meng!

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