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Are navigation apps useful in Zimbabwe?

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Navigation applications provide a map of a country which can be viewed on a device like a smartphone. Using an app like that, you can then navigate around your city, country or anywhere in the world. An example of an app like that which you might have heard of is Google Maps. That all sounds great but do they have a use case locally?

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I think so. Consider this, how many times has someone asked you for directions to a place? Probably a couple of times if you’re lucky otherwise you’re quite familiar with such experiences. Why do we ask for directions so often? Most of us are constantly on the move and sometimes you can find yourself trying to get to an unfamiliar place. With smartphones in our pockets that we can just install an app for this purpose, should we consider using navigation apps?

One might argue that the apps consume a lot of data so then no-one can use them. That’s very true especially if you’re loading a satellite view of the area you want to navigate around. However, some navigation apps now support the download of maps for offline navigation. This removes the issue of not having data all the time to use the app.

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You can just spend some data once and have a map of Zimbabwe or even Africa for free and forever. So what options are out there for people? You can’t talk about navigation apps without mentioning Google maps. It’s the app that most associate mobile navigation with. Other options are Here WeGo and Maps.me.

All these apps provide features like turn by turn navigation, satellite view, 3D view and offline maps access. Offline maps on Google Maps expire after 30 days and need to be updated. This is a good thing if you’d like to constantly have updated versions of a map. However, if you don’t need that, the other two provide offline maps that don’t expire. So far Maps.me has had the lowest download file size for the map of Zimbabwe so you could take a look at that one if you’re looking at using the least data.

Now that we know that they do have a use case and they do provide data friendly options. How many of you use navigation apps? If you do, do you use them offline? Also how frequently? Curious to hear your thoughts.


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11 thoughts on “Are navigation apps useful in Zimbabwe?

  1. Have used Sygic offline navigation many times in Zim. It’s actually better than maps.me and is offline. Once off download is like 25 MB Zim map and about 100MB SA map. The basic version is OK never tried premium version though.

  2. Offline maps have been in existence for a very long time. Here drive nd here maps are 1 of them. They used to be called nokia maps before Microsoft took over. They still there.

  3. Always told my friend that MAPS is the best google app ever created . I use Google maps online when in Zim since the data usage is very low and acceptable. When travelling outside the country its wise to pre download the area u intend to visit and avoid the risk of any poor connection. Offline Maps worked flawlessly for me in SA.

  4. just today i was roaming around Joburg and these google maps actually rescued me from getting lost around the N1 ,,R25 roads of Joburg..i give it a 5 star..google map is the best you should give it a try

  5. Google maps works just fine even in Zim but as the writer was saying either the data gets chewed or I get

  6. I use Maps.me. Sygic free version doesn’t have voice guidance so I switched to maps.me. Offline maps are the best when travelling to another country. For more detailed info however use Google maps. Best for finding places and roads but uses data

  7. Why use your phone when you can use a dedicated Gps Navigator . That does not use any data airtime . The perfect model is Garmin nuvi 50 drive Assist

  8. I recommend Waze
    Waze uses crowd sourced reporting. As a result, as I drive around, my movements generate traffic reports to benefit other Waze users.
    In addition I can (and do) report traffic problems, police presence, road closures (like Newlands Bypass recently), again benefiting the Waze community
    It’s not just about navigation. It’s about current conditions. And “current” is where, I believe, Waze is a winner
    The Zim Waze community is still small. And the more who use it, the better the results.
    Certainly I have been saved some significant time on my daily commutes. Sometimes it seems I am being taken on some weird routes, only to find that there was a hold up ahead that I had no way of knowing. (Results vary. Sometimes, the gain is not significant)
    Thoroughly recommend it!
    Data usage? Yes, it’s there. But not too bad.
    My bigger issue is battery life, but that too is manageable

  9. I have used HERE WeGo Offline Maps and GPS. To my own opinion, the app uses non of ur data once you download ur local map e.g Zimbabwean map. You have an option to use it offline and the accuracy is on point with most of the streets up to date. You might need to try it for those that haven’t heard about it. I have used it countless time even without any data or airtime in my smartphone.

  10. I’ve been using Here Maps from a while back using my Nokia N8 and downloaded map of Zimbabwe to my phone, found the maps invaluable when I was new to Harare it would drain my battery considerably though, smaller towns not so much, so I became a contributor for both Here Maps and Google map creator ( I had time on my hands), just yesterday I logged on to see, Here maps had improved but Google map creator had changed completely. These days I hardly use them.

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