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Images: A quick spin through Nokia's free Ovi sat-nav

ZDNet UK checks out the features of the latest Ovi Maps, Nokia's turn-by-turn smartphone sat-nav application
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1 of 5 David Meyer/ZDNet

On Thursday, Nokia announced it was making its Ovi Maps product free to use.

Previously a paid-for app, Ovi Maps is largely based on technology brought in-house by the acquisition of Navteq and other navigation companies such as Gate5.

Nokia's announcement came a few months after Google said it was introducing free turn-by-turn sat-nav functionality for US users of some Android phones. The new version of Ovi Maps offers similar functionality, but will work across the world and on a wider range of handsets.

Unlike Google Maps Navigation, the new Ovi Maps can also operate offline, so users can preload maps for foreign destinations, then travel overseas and use those maps without incurring data-roaming charges.

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2 of 5 David Meyer/ZDNet

The screenshot above shows a standard driving view in Ovi Maps.

Ovi Maps presents its information using vector-based graphics, which are far more lightweight than the bitmap-based graphics used by some competing products. This makes the maps quicker to load.

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3 of 5 David Meyer/ZDNet

Ovi Maps also has dedicated functionality for pedestrians, allowing navigation through parks and pathways in over 100 cities.

Rival applications usually support only navigation along roads, as they are intended only for drivers.

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4 of 5 David Meyer/ZDNet

Ovi Maps's vector-based graphics provide 3D images of 6,000 landmarks in over 200 cities.

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5 of 5 David Meyer/ZDNet

Nokia's maps are not the only features the company has made free of charge.

Premium, formerly paid-for features such as Lonely Planet and Michelin travel guides are also now free to use.

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