AccuTerra is strong on trekking, weak on maps

Sep 25, 2009
Tech

I just spent a week with AccuTerra by Intermap Technologies and I’m confused. AccuTerra received high accolades from Apple with its Best iPhone O.S. 3.0 Beta Award, but for an app developed by a map-making company, I’m wondering why I feel so lost. Perhaps I should start by noting that this navigation app doesn’t come […]

I just spent a week with AccuTerra by Intermap Technologies and I’m confused. AccuTerra received high accolades from Apple with its Best iPhone O.S. 3.0 Beta Award, but for an app developed by a map-making company, I’m wondering why I feel so lost.

Perhaps I should start by noting that this navigation app doesn’t come with any usable maps. You have to buy those separately at costs ranging from 99 cents to $2.99. And are these maps any good? Well, if you want the opinion of a guy who uses the iPhone’s built-in Maps app to get around the local forest preserve, you will get an earful. By comparison,  AccuTerra’s offerings seem almost childish.

The purchased maps are too grainy and don’t offer enough zoom detail. And the fact that I can’t search landmarks or trail heads really chaps my hide.

Ask a hiker, though, and you may hear something different. The whole point behind this app is to have access to your maps when you’re completely off the grid. AccuTerra’s maps work offline and the GPS functionality is solid, but I’m just not impressed.

For 99 cents plus the cost of maps, I was hoping for more.

AccuTerra’s bells and whistles—trek recording, picture taking, sharing, summaries, etc.—work fine and I have no complaints. Also, the map-buying process is simple and painless. You do have to register with AccuTerra, but whatever maps you buy are charged to your iTunes account, which is a time saver. 

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Despite all the great features, though, I still can’t get over those maps.

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Justyn Harkin

Justyn Harkin lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.  He writes. He teaches. He goofs off on his iPhone.

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