As we recently announced, HERE Maps, HERE Drive(+) and HERE Transit have been updated and are now available to all Windows Phone 8 smartphone users. If you’ve yet to use any of these first-class location tools, our HERE walk-throughs are here to help. We’ll bring you these over the coming weeks, starting with HERE Maps today.
HERE Maps works offline, which means that you don’t need an Internet connection to find your way around a new, sometimes international, environment where data charges could stop you from exploring or navigating safely and accurately.
Offline maps also mean that should you venture into a subway, where you might not get reception, you’ll still be able to look at a map, search for places and plan routes – something only possible with HERE Maps.
Storing maps on your phone also means that you’ll be able to view the map much faster than if you were waiting for it to download each time you needed it.
Get ready for offline
In order to take full advantage of the offline capabilities in Windows Phone 8, bring up the menu by tapping the (…) icon at the bottom, then head to download maps. From here you can select which maps you want to install, delving down through continents, countries and then regions. But remember that you need to be connected to WiFi in order to download the maps.
The HERE Maps data that you download and store on your smartphone is also used across other services, such as HERE Drive, HERE Transit, Foursquare and Michelin to name only a few, thanks to the integration into the Windows Phone 8 OS.
If you want to download maps without going into HERE Maps, you can do it from the phone settings, by following this process:
Settings > Applications > Maps > Download maps
With the maps stored conveniently on your phone, you’re ready to explore the world! Or just your neighbourhood, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling.
To make sure that you’ve got the latest version of HERE Maps, go ahead and scan the QR code on the right to download or update – we’ll wait right here.
Now that you’ve downloaded it, launch it on your Windows Phone 8 smartphone.
Select your view
With any maps app, there are some essentials that need to be covered: you’ll want to use it to see where you are to gather your bearings, use it to explore new places around you, or use it to get somewhere from the exact point you’re standing.
If you prefer a different view on the world, pressing the map options icon on the bottom right will allow you to do that. Options available are, map, satellite, public transport, traffic and LiveSight.
Map is the standard view, whereas satellite gives you a more realistic view of the world as if you were flying overhead in an airplane. Public transport overlays information such as train lines over the standard map which may be useful when trying to learn how different parts of a city connects, and traffic view delivers real-time traffic information to your screen, showing you what roads are congested, or not.
Then there’s LiveSight. This gives you a unique, yet strangely familiar, view of the world through your camera lens.
LiveSight combines the real world view with a digital one and overlays points of interest (POI) directly onto whatever your camera is looking at.
While using LiveSight is convenient and natural, you may not want to hold your phone up for prolonged periods of time. Instead, you can pause the scene by tapping the pause button. This takes a snapshot of your environment but still allows you to explore different POI categories, and interact with different POIs, without having to keep the phone in an upright position.
LiveSight is the best way to explore the world around you in a natural way and it can be pinned to your Start screen as a tile for easy access whenever you need it. Once you’ve selected LiveSight from the map options, slide up the bottom of the screen to reveal a list of local places and press the pin to start icon to put LiveSight on your Start screen.
Click on the image above for more HERE details.
Tap away for quick access
While the public transport map view is there to show you how everything connects and how to possibly get around using public transport, you can also see some details about public transit lines without selecting that map option.
Instead, just tap on a public transit station on the standard map view to reveal the transit line and tap anywhere on the map to hide it.
Of course, if you’re searching for something specific, the search icon at the bottom is your best friend. Tap it, type what you’re looking for and select the right location.
HERE Maps now also includes a new navigation symbol (arrow) that’s been added right to the map screen – once you’ve selected a location. It gives you quick access to directions and navigation. Just tap that icon and you’ll see a route of how to get to your destination, leaving you more time to look around and enjoy what the world has to offer.
If you decide that it’s too far to walk, you can easily switch between HERE Transit and HERE Drive by selecting either the walk, public transit or drive options at the bottom. From there, you can see the whole journey details and the buttons you need to press to start navigation or get more routes buttons. These will then launch HERE Transit or HERE Drive if required.
Find your way indoors
What if you’re at a shopping mall, a train station, an airport, or a football stadium? You may think that you’d be left to fend for yourself as you wonder around aimlessly trying to find the correct store, security gate or even a local toilet – think again!
Venue Maps currently details over 50,000 buildings in 60 different countries around the world. The HERE team are constantly improving this by regularly adding more venues. With Venue Maps not only can you find the right store, but also ATM machines, escalators, elevators, info points and more.
There’s still much more to explore with HERE Maps, but we’ll leave you to do that now that we’ve given you the right tools for the job.
Download HERE Maps to your Windows Phone 8 smartphone today – for free!