Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Modern Day Maps

Every explorer has a map. With the birth of the internet and smart phones, maps have gone high-tech in the form of apps. Not only they are virtual, you can almost download any map from any location you are (whether it is accurate or not, that's a different story) and have several suggested routes for you to choose from. 

Since moving to Sydney, I find myself wearing the hat of an explorer. Irregardless of me finding my way to tourist attractions or the grocery store, I find myself relying on 6  different apps to get from Point A to Point B (in Malaysia, it was only 2). I do not use all of them together as they do not necessarily agree with each other but more to complement one another. 

Google Maps

I relied heavily on this app when we were house hunting. Unlike in Malaysia, the full address of a property is listed in the advertisement. 
With Google Maps, I am able to "calculate" the walking/driving/cycling distance from a potential home to Mr. H's workplace for example. We short listed our options using this app. 

Nowadays, I use this app when other apps confuses me.

We used this only after arriving in Sydney. Apparently the app is much more reliable here (as compared to Malaysia) since the maps are maintained locally. 

Nevertheless, we only use this when Waze is not available or when we don't feel like exploring the nooks and crannies as recommended by Waze :p

My first public transport application I downloaded even before landing in Sydney. It was useful initially but I never got the hang of it. I found it more confusing than not. 

The good of this app is you are linked to the bus/ferry schedule in real time. You will know

- if the next bus is on time or delayed
- how many stops to go to your stop

For this app to work well, knowing the address (your location/destination) is not good enough, you need to know the location of the bus stop/train station etc. If you don't know this, be prepared for frustration.

Sydney PT
Sydney's Public Transport application. I downloaded this app out of frustration (with TripView) and it hasn't let me down ever since. 

By keying in Point A (where you are) and Point B (where you want to go), this app lists the various routes you can opt to take involving the various forms of public transport available. It also provides the estimated duration to get there.

The benefits of this app is, I don't need to know my exact location and the destination address. Sometimes I just enter the landmark and routes are displayed.

Note: Estimated duration is calculated based on travel time. Wait time not included.

This is my new toy and I still find this much better than TripView. Similar to Sydney PT, this app allows me to enter my start and end point and will provide me with the various routes available.

The part that gets me all excited is, the app also calculates the estimated cost of each suggested route!

For example, my search result to Ikea resulted in the following:

  • Self drive - 9min, $2
  • Bus #422 - 15min, $4
  • Taxi - 11min, $15

Cool right? Not only that, the app also provides the carbon dioxide emission for each trip. 
Last but not least, another one of my favourite is...


Before you go "Foursquare is not a navigation app", let me clarify that I am the only person I know that uses the app the way I use it. 

This app is useful when I am within the vicinity of my destination but not quite there.

For example, the cafe I would like to go is located on Missenden Road. I am at the road yet the cafe is nowhere in sight.  I will then 

  1. whip out my phone
  2. Go to Foursquare 
  3. Press Check In
  4. Perform Search for the name of the cafe/outlet 
  5. The search results will state the distance of the outlet from where I am.
This is of course a rough guide as the accuracy of the distance is dependent on the BTS you are connected to (might not be the closest) and where exactly was the "check in" point created.

So there you have it, my list  of modern day must have maps that gets me around without getting lost.

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