I like taking road trips. I have ever since I was young. I'm one of those people that can just drive and drive. It's always fun seeing new places, and it's always even better when your destination is somewhere new. It's a lot easier to travel these days thanks to our smartphones (and other GPS navigation units), because finding where we need to go is just a touchscreen away.
But, technology doesn't always work the way we want it to, now does it? If you're a fan of using gadgets, then you know that this is the case. No matter how advanced our things are, sometimes they just don't work. Unfortunately, it's all about the timing.
Last year, I wrote an article that detailed how when GPS failed on my phone, I just started driving around and had a fun time doing it. I found some exciting places when it happened, so it was a good time for my GPS to stop functioning correctly. But, like I said, it's all about the timing.
In iOS 6, Apple decided to drop Google as the map provider and go with their own creation. It's called Maps, and it's a pretty app. It really is. That's an easy thing to admit, because it's just as smooth, and functional, as you might expect an iOS app to be. And, it does a great job of finding where I am pretty quickly. In short instances, Maps for iOS works like a dream. No issues.
That all changes the moment you need to take a longer trip. Or, more specifically, when there is more than one route to choose from. There's a huge difference right now between, say, Maps for iOS and Google Maps. Or navigation through Windows Phone. A huge difference. That's the way it handles rerouting your path.
In Google Maps, or using turn-by-turn navigation with Windows Phone, once you pick a route that's the route you get. So, if you were to turn off the road to get gas, even if the phone needed to reroute you, it would simply put you back on the route you were initially traveling on. The way it should be.
Maps on iOS doesn't work like that. In every situation I've used it now, all the way back from iOS 6's second Beta, it's rerouted my entire trip, simply because I went to get gas, or food, or something like that. And it doesn't actually tell you that it reroutes the whole trip. Yes, it does say "rerouting," but there's no indication that your entire route has been changed.
That doesn't even make any sense. Or, maybe that's just because I've been using Google Maps and other platforms that let me pick a route, and they keep that route that makes this whole thing hard to understand.
In this last road trip I took, just a few days ago, I was heading west on I-90. I got off on an exit to get gas, but had to travel about a mile into a town to get it. On my way back, after Maps had told me it was "rerouting", it put me right back on I-90, heading west. So, no harm no foul. It wasn't for several miles that it made me get off I-90, then head on some smaller road. Which, as you can probably imagine, wasn't the interstate.
Want to know how many animals I almost hit on that road? More deer than I can count, three opossums, one skunk, and three *coyotes*. Seriously. For over an hour, I have never been so worried about running into a wild animal.
I also had to stop six hours earlier than I intended because I needed gas again, and in the small town of Ashland, Montana, 24-hour gas stations aren't a thing. I had to wait until the next morning to get gas.
And after I got gas? Maps directed me right back to I-90 west. So it took me into Montana, took six hours of my trip, just to eventually put me right back on the same road I was on to begin with. As I said before, it's all about timing, and that was a ridiculously terrible time to give me an extended detour for no reason. As you can see from the image above, I was going to be in Montana anyway. It just put me there earlier than expected. At a bad time.
But, I know that Maps is still in Beta. Even if the iPhone 5 has been announced, it won't be until the end of this month that iOS 6 gets released to the public. So, there is still time for Apple to "work out the kinks." And, I'm sure they will. Or, at least I hope they do. Because if they don't, then I don't really see a reason why they'd even give you the chance to pick a route. Why not just let it keep picking it for you? If you're just going to change it on me, then I don't necessarily need the choice right out of the gate.
If Maps doesn't get fixed in the final version of iOS 6, then I'm going to reroute myself to Windows Phone. Why? Because I know that works. And it works well. As often as I drive around, and as often as I need a GPS unit (and I don't want to buy a stand-alone model. Consolidation, people!), I need one that I know will work the way I expect it to.