If you love exploring worldwide maps in 3D, or are searching for a truly interactive navigation app for your Android device, then Route 66 Maps + Navigation certainly has plenty to offer than any of its counterparts. Fresh to the Android Market, Route 66 is a splendid amalgamation of comprehensive 3D maps and augmented reality navigation that make driving and map exploration fun and informative at the same time. Apart from featuring highly interactive maps supplemented by 3D content such as simulated structures of famous buildings and monuments, Route 66 provides you instant access to Wikipedia links of popular places, and lets you search/filter map contents by various categories including your contacts, specific address, favorite locations, directions (with TTS support), points of interest (amenities) and much more. Follow Me – the app’s native augmented reality service – can be availed to trace your exact route on road, backed by with real-time graphics and a virtual car that leads you all the way to your destination.
If you’re a registered Route 66 user, you get an additional option of downloading unlimited maps to your device. Registration can be done from within the app, and you won’t have to pay a penny for it. Provided you’ve downloaded the map of your current location on your device, you can use the app including the aforementioned Follow Me service while offline. The mechanism works as follows. The Follow Me feature, when activated, triggers your device’s camera, GPS, internet (if used online) and various sensors to trace your exact geographic location, position on road and car movements. On your screen, you can view the road in real, a virtual map, as well as a car that serves as your guide for the route. Not only does the car lead you to your specified destination, but also keeps you apprised of all the turns and stoppages via flashing indicators and brake lights. In addition, the app, through various alarms and on-screen driving details, ensures that you remain fully alert, and hence, safe while on the drive. The Follow Me feature is currently available in selective countries only.
Maps, on the other hand, are packed with informative and 3D content. You can manually search for a place anywhere on the globe, rotate and zoom in/out of maps, get detailed directions between any two locations on map, and get the entire route spoken aloud in multiple languages, select from various map layers/content (speed cameras, traffic information, 3D buildings etc.), styles (map, satellite) and points of interest as per your liking. The app also supports displaying detailed 14-day weather forecasts of various locations on graph. That’s not all; you can also view real-time reflection of day/night time in various regions of the world through the rotating globe.
From the customization perspective, the app’s settings (Menu > More > Settings) can be used to modify the backlight duration (while navigating), weather/map units, display and language settings, navigation options and various alarm settings. There are plenty of free downloadable maps, map colors/schemes and languages that you can avail to personalize maps as per your choosing.
The navigation features apart, it’s the comprehensive map exploration features of Route 66 alone that makes it a significant contest for Google Maps. Maps are rendered much faster and smoother, and with the weather, navigation options and other useful information contained in a single app, Route 66 ensures that you don’t have to rely on multiple apps to get all aforementioned services/features.
Currently available just in the Android Market, the iOS-variant of Route 66 would be released in the iTunes App Store very soon, and once the app gets a wider user base across multiple platforms and locations, only then would we precisely know as to how popular and advantageous can its features prove to be at a global scale.
Route 66 offers a free 30-day license for navigation, speed cameras and traffic information to all users. Even after this trial period expires, the app can be used to explore maps, search for destinations and calculate best possible routes to those locations. However, users who are interested in availing all the navigation and other limited features on a permanent basis, can apply for new license from within the app. License prices vary depending upon the service that you wish to avail.
Since the Follow Me feature is not currently supported in our region, we weren’t able to put it to test. However, the demo video below should give you a good idea as to how exactly does the said navigation feature look and work when put to test in a real drive scenario.