Phil Gyford’s website

Wanted: A walking map of London for Palm OS

A little while back, after months of dithering, I replaced my barely-working SonyEricsson T610 phone and my aging but dependable Palm Vx with a shiny Treo 650 off eBay. After the inevitable initial fiddling and cursing (and praising The Missing Sync) it’s proved to be a lovely, if chunky, slice of technology. But there’s one thing I really, really miss from my Palm Vx: a walking map of London.

On my old Palm I have a program called CityMaps from TomTom, which had a zoomable, scrollable map of central-ish London. I could ask it to plan a journey from one road intersection to any other and, as well as the conventional driving directions, it could also provide a walking route.

I used it any time I walked somewhere new and even on familiar routes it would suggest cutting corners here and there, not only providing the quickest route but also introducing me to some of London’s tucked-away backstreets and alleys. It was a great way to see London on foot and see it with new eyes.

Unfortunately CityMaps crashes my Treo. So I’ve been trying to find a replacement, with no luck so far. If you have any ideas I’d love to hear them. Here’s what I’ve ruled out so far.

TomTom
Obviously, I wondered if TomTom did a newer version of CityMaps. Unfortuantely they seem focused on selling “total navigation solutions” which include GPS units that I don’t need (I know where I am). I’m not sure if their “solutions” offer walking directions either (driving directions are most definitely not the same).
Mapopolis
Plenty of maps but they only do driving directions. And boy, those maps are ugly buggers.
Vindigo
Vindigo’s maps are pretty close. They have walking directions but unfortunately the maps don’t let you zoom in very far — it’s hard to see the details. The maps also seem to only name a few roads, apparently chosen at random (of all the roads near Lincoln’s Inn Fields it felt Remnant Street was the important one to pick out). It’s also a subscription service and I don’t want to pay $25 every year for an A-Z. Yes, I’m picky.
iFodor’s
Oooh, I thought I’d struck gold when I Googled this page. I tried their free demo of New York and it seemed fantastic: detailed maps, walking directions, even plenty of landmarks and businesses mapped. I don’t know NY well enough to judge its directions, but I hoped… Unfortunately, if you click the link to buy iFodor’s London it’s listed as “unavailable”. Emails to Handango and Fodors eventually revealed that they’re no longer producing the guides. Dammit. If you know how I could get hold of an old copy, do let me know.

So that’s as far as I’ve got. Vindingo seems to be the only option but, even if I’m prepared to subscribe, its maps really are feeble. Any more ideas appreciated…

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Monday 24 July 2006, 9:21pm

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