AOL subsidiary MapQuest today announced MapQuest Navigator, designed to bring full-color maps and turn-by-tun navigation instructions to GPS-capable mobile phones. Mapquest says the service, based on Mobile Optimized Navigation Data (MOND) technology from partner Telemap, should be available through major U.S. wireless carriers later in 2006. The service aims to provide a less-expensive alternative to vehicle-based GPS and navigation systems, with the added benefit of not being tied to a vehicle: cell phone-based navigation services should, in theory, work anywhere a user can get adequate cell coverage.
MapQuest says MapQuest Navigator features will include:
- Audible turn-by-turn directions on the phone, using GPS. (Better invest in a hands-free headset if you plan to use the service while driving!) Directions are available for either vehicle-based navigation or pedestrian navigation (which ignores things like one-way roads and highways).
- Maps can be shifted, panned, and zoomed on the cell phone’s built-in screen.
- Integrated search for addresses, intersections, and points of interest.
- Calls may be placed or received while using the MapQuest Navigator
- MapQuest Navigator will integrate “millions” of point-of-interest, including hotels, theaters, restaurants, and other businesses. No work on if/when MapQuest plans to sell advertising on the service.
- Optimized route calculation to find either the fastest or shortest route, optionally avoid toll roads and other potential setbacks; routes can be automatically re-calculated without re-contacting the service.
- Support for phones running BREW, Java, BlackBerry, Symbiian, and Windows Mobile.
MapQuest also announced a free Web-based service optimized for Web-capable mobile phones via MapQuest.com, including access to interactive maps and driving directions. The new service is based on technology from InfoGin, Ltd.,