Telenav's Scout is my preferred iOS Maps Alternative

Telenav's Scout is my preferred iOS Maps Alternative

Summary: With Apple failing to deliver a solid map experience, alternatives are surfacing. I took Telenav's Scout for a test drive, and it has become my preferred iOS Map App.

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TOPICS: iOS, Apple, iPhone
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Following the Apple iOS 6 release, users around the world posted pictures and comments about Apple's new Maps app, highlighting its inaccuracies. As a result, Tim Cook posted an apology, and then directed iOS users to alternatives, including Bing, MapQuest and Waze, and web-based Google or Nokia maps. In addition, the company created a dedicated area on the App Store that highlights Navigon, Scout, Garmin and MotionX, just to name a few.

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Over the years, I've tried just about every GPS App out there, with Navigon ranking as one of my favorites. However, when it came time to grab real-time updates and turn-by-turn in the early days, I gravitated towards TeleNav. Then as TeleNav continued to improve, the only thing that I didn't like was the interface. Enter Scout.

My co-author, Matt Miller, highlighted Scout as an iOS 6 Maps replacement a couple of weeks ago, but I'd already been using it for a couple of months, so I was glad to see it getting some recognition.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been doing a lot of traveling. One thing that I can't live without while traveling is a solid GPS solution. Thankfully, Scout has delivered time and again.

If you're not familiar with Scout, it uses the insides of TeleNav and bit of TomTom and delivers a great voice-guided (free for a limited time) turn-by-turn experience. Telenav paid particular attention to the user interface in Scout, and as a result, from the home screen you can instantly navigate to a Place (lodging, movies, gas, and grocery, just to name a few), previous destinations, search for a destination, and even see the weather of your current location. My words can't do the interface justice, so I included pictures below.

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In my usage, I've driven all around Atlanta, Boston, Rhode Island, and parts of Connecticut, and never once encountered a situation where I couldn't find my location. In addition, Scout features the ability to download regions of the United States to use navigation when there's no cell coverage. This has helped since there are times in a route where the cell signal drops, and in other map apps, I'm left with not hearing the next turn. I've also used it, mid-route, to find the nearest gas station, and when driving, if I pass a destination, it re-routes effortlessly. 


I've read some complaints on the App Store and in other places about the App not having addresses in it. In my travels I've yet to come across that, and I've visited places that are not more than two years old.

Scout is currently free in the App Store, and for a limited time, includes free voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, via Scout Plus. In my case, I paid $10 for unlimited usage of voice-guided turn-by-turn before the special offer came, but it's a $10 well spent.

Check out Scout in the App Store and share your comments below.

Topics: iOS, Apple, iPhone

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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10 comments
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  • What about the iPad?

    Any good map alternatives for the iPad?
    camcost@...
    • MotionX-GPS Drive is Rated #1 in the App Store

      9.0

      It's available on the iPhone and iPad. The data is accurate and the UI is very intuitive. In addition to having voice activated turn-by-turn, you can easily find things like hotels, restaurants, parking spaces, gas stations, and convenience stores. You can see your speed vs. the posted speed and get lane guidance which is great for tricky interchanges. Posting to FB is also quick and easy.
      u2fan
  • Not so fast!

    5.0

    and for a limited time, includes free voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, via Scout Plus....

    Scout has almost as many negative ratings as it does positive. I have been using GPS Navigation 2. Aside from having a much better community rating, the turn by turn voice is 0.99.

    Now let me see a free GPS app that's hobbled until I pay $9.99, or a GPS app that cost $0.99 and is fully functional.
    mkyoung
  • The TomTom app works great - and the maps are stored locally

    Have had nothing but good experiences with the TomTom app.

    It might seem pricy for an app (I paid $40 for US/Canada). But we have it on 4 devices. So that makes it a great deal. And the maps/points of interest are stored on the iphone/ipad so are (a) always there, (b) super-fast...
    MammyNun
  • Need alternative for a real "map," not voice-directed

    5.0

    Apple couldn't possibly deny Google Maps into the App Store because it "duplicates a native service." Could it? There are numerous map apps in the App Store from companies like TomTom, Garmin, Navigon, MotionX, MapQuest/AOL, AT&T and even Google Earth. ---Ogrady ZdNEt Review, 9/21/12

    I’ve long used hard-copy/paper maps, and when I got my iPhone 4S began using my Google map display in the same way—as a map. The screen shot you show for Scout's "Route Planning" looks like a miserable substitute. Much of the screen real estate is wasted, leaving 60% or less room to display the actual map, and the route illustrations appear to lack detail.

    I’m not up for an app to tell me where to turn, etc. I would like to know if there's an accurate map app that displays a map with details showing the little side streets with their names and rural routes with their numbers; in short: a map app that lets ME figure out where I want to turn, etc.

    Thanks, Marc
    marcgro
  • Possible related question: iPhone's built-in compass recent failures

    5.0

    My built-in Compass in the iPhone, which was located under Settings in the 4S/IOS 5.X, has been failing frequently in the past few weeks. I'll turn it on, and it'll just show a big globe without markings, looking like a sun or as if I'm facing a flashlight. It's happened several times when I’m hiking in deep woods. I thought it might be a reception problem, but it even occurs in woods where months before the compass worked fine. Could those failures be due to the IOS 6 "upgrade," or unrelated?

    Thanks,
    Marc
    marcgro
  • Fine if you're using iPhone 5 (or 4S or 4 or ...)

    I just can't get past the 10 bucks for any turn-by-turn nav app. I've had that - for FREE - on Android for two years (when I got my first Android phone) via Google Maps (or MapQuest among many others). What the hell is Apple thinking? I'm sure they're cool with making their iPhone users pay a $10 fee (per month? I don't know ...) for unlimited "service", since they have a more-or-less captive audience for now. However, I wonder whether the Apple snafu is just the first of many cuts that cause people to start seriously considering alternatives.
    Njia1
  • I'm sticking w/ Android and Google Maps!

    Google Maps, Street View, etc. No Apple Ford Model-T phone for me.

    Android, the onSly mobile OS that can be used in many other devices other then direct user input devices.
    Maarek
  • My Go To Nav App!

    Scout is hands down my favourite nav app. Tom Tom is decent too, but the interface and additional features Scout offers are incredible! Looking forward to seeing what these guys come up with next.
    Mo Govindji
  • Cheapest alternative; Waze

    I have owned Telenav since I got my iPhone 4 18 months ago. Repeated hassles over uncounted payments, but finally it worked well - until an upgrade about 3 months ago. Then it just stopped working.

    For months, my kids have been praising Waze, a free iPhone and iPad GPS app with turn-by-turn voice directions. It works vastly better than Telenav.

    And it's free.

    And it works internationally (anti-Israel readers beware - it's an Israeli program). Worked perfectly in both Israel and Istanbul, but like all GPS programs, requires roaming charges outside the USA.
    MedAdMan