May 23, 2024


Safe Travel USA

Map For Mobile Phone

Let assume that you like travel. Every year you will travel to a few unknown cities during holiday. When you visit a foreign city, the first thing you need to look for is a city street map. Most likely you will buy a paper map from local book shop when you arrive there. Without that paper map, you will lost. So you need to carry the paper map with you all the time. You will stand at the junction of the streets, look at the paper map and ask people around how to go here and there.

Having city street map on mobile phone is a dream of very traveler. You no need to carry paper map with you. What you need is a mobile phone and an application that can display city street map on you mobile phone.

Different type of mobile map application

There were a lot of attempt to build city street map application for mobile phone in the last few years. Some try to scan paper map into picture image and write an application to display these map pictures on phone. Some try to connect to map server such ac Google map, yahoo map from mobile phone and download map tile from the internet. All these attempt are called raster map approach because the map on phone is just raster (group of tile pictures). Raster map approach has one big disadvantage: it likes paper map, you can not search for a specify street name or place name. You need to scroll the raster map like you scroll the paper and look for the street by your self.

There is another approach call vector map for mobile phone. Vector map has a lot of advantages. Here name a few: you can search for specific street name or place name, vector data is much smaller than raster data, you can even do the routing, find shortest route or fastest route with vector map (which is impossible with raster map)…

Two years ago (2006), there was no vector street map application for mobile phone because of two main reasons: no free map data, phone is not powerful enough…

Today (2008), mobile phone is getting more powerful in term of having faster processor and more heap memory. Vector street map data can be found from OpenStreetMap project. The two main reasons that prevent the develop of vector map are no longer exist. It is possible to have vector street map on your phone if you can find an application that can use vector map data from OpenStreetMap project.

There are also a lot of attempt to build vector map for mobile phone. Some store vector map in phone, we call off-line vector map. Some retrieve vector data from internet, we call on-line vector map. Of course if you go for on-line approach, you need to pay for data plan whenever your phone download any data from map server. If you are traveler in a foreign country, it is most likely that you do not have any mobile phone data plan to use. So the best approach is to use off-line vector map.

Tip to find the best mobile map application for your phone

To find the best off-line vector map application for your phone, you need to consider whether the application that your plan to purchase has following features or not:

  • Off-line vector map up to street detail level.
  • Can display direction arrow on one-way street
  • Can work with any bluetooth GPS receiver for real time tracking movement.
  • Can Zoom in/Zoom out/Pan.
  • Can search for point label, street label.
  • Fully support touch screen.
  • Can calculate shortest/fastest route from waypoint start to waypoint end and guide you along the route.
  • Can rotate map. When you use real time tracking movement and/or routing function, the application can rotate the map so that the facing direction (heading) is always “UP”.
  • Have voice guidance. When guide you along the route whether on car or on foot, the application can tell you when to turn left or turn right.


  • Having city street map in mobile phone is the dream of very traveler. It is very useful when you are in foreign city.
  • Vector map has a lot of advantage over raster map: zoom in/out, search, rotate, routing…
  • It is possible to make vector street map for any city around the world (map data from OpenStreetMap project)