Memory Map on iPhone

It’s finally here, the iPhone app from Memory Map. See here. They’ve kept the launch fairly quiet though – I subscribe to their newsletter and I was expecting advance warning of the posting of the app in the App Store, but no I had to trip over the release as I was searching on their website for something else. Ho hum.

Straight away I was disappointed. It’s priced at £19.99! I was hoping for something in the region of £5, possibly £10 and I thought I’d probably pay up to £13 for the app. At £20 however, I’m not even going to download it. There’s not even an introductory special offer as with many new apps on the iPhone.

The feature list looks quite good:

  1. Offline ultra-fast dynamic map scrolling even without phone signal
  2. Topo Starter Pack including OS Landranger® and OS Explorer™ maps
  3. Load your existing Memory-Map v5 maps and charts via WiFi
  4. See your GPS position, course and tracklog on a moving map
  5. Trip computer records time, distance and average speed
  6. Upload, download or email GPX routes and tracklogs
  7. Buy and download additional topo maps directly through your iPhone
  8. Automatically downloads free base map of your current location

However, number one suggests that you still need a phone signal to use the GPS on the iPhone. If this is the case (and opinion on the net is divided as to whether this is a hardware limitation in the iPhone or a choice the app developers make) then it makes the software almost completely useless on the hills and only good for the occasional bimble around towns and cities.

The app currently has 3 stars from the reviewers and that seems to be a mixture of 1 star ratings and 5 star ratings – so a real “marmite” effect developing there.

They’ve already released the features due for v1.1 of the product:

  • Automatically downloads free map of your current location
  • Auto-rotate screen for Portrait or Landscape view
  • Screen lock button to lock map display
  • Compass Bearing displayed with iPhone 3GS compass sensor
  • ‘Search and display’ place name index
  • Add POIs/Marks directly to the map OS Grid, Lat/Long, or UTM grid display
  • Email position marks or tracklogs as GPX files

Things like auto-rotate seem to be fairly basic iPhone features, so it makes me wonder if 1.0 was rushed out quickly. Another reason I’ve decided not to buy.

All in all, I’m very disappointed – but in truth – not particularly surprised. I’d love to move away from Memory-Map to something like Quo or Anquet and to be fair the iPhone app development has delayed my decision. The other reason of course is the investment already made in maps. Announcements later in the year from the OS with respect to freeing up the digital mapping of the UK could be the final nail in the MM coffin for me.

lonewalker

Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

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5 Responses

  1. Tim Woodward says:

    Hi and glad I found your blog, some interesting stuff here thanks 🙂 As far as this OS mapping and iPhone thingy goes, have you investigated Route Buddy’s offering? And what do you think of the price of OS maps for the iPhone? I am a coast path walker (can’t get lost – blue one side, green the other – reverse sides to get home!) and to get just the South West coastal path I will need loads of OS maps… at typical £20 a map it would cost hundreds of pounds, that’s just plain silly I think – but maybe I am missing something here?!!

    • lonewalker says:

      Hi Tim, I’m trialling a version of RouteBuddy on the iPhone at the moment – don’t want to pre-empt the review, but I’ve had mixed results with it so far. I don’t have and won’t pay for the MM version, so can’t compare like for like. I’m also trying to get hold of a trial version of Anquet for the iPhone.
      The price of electronic versions of OS maps is a national disgrace and you need to shop around for the best prices. Some companies are significantly cheaper than others. Some let you select a specific portion of the country – so you could select a thin strip along the coastal path – ignoring all the detail further in-land – this will make your money go much further. Look at Anquet and Quo as well as Memory Map.
      Also consider your GPS platform. Do you really need OS mapping on it? A simple GPS and a paper map may sometimes be the best way.

  2. Steven Horner says:

    I bought Memory Map for iPhone last night and was very unsure as the price is far too expensive. Especially when I’ve been using the superior Windows Mobile version for some time and its free. The thing you list as coming soon in 1.1 are in the version on the app store.

    It needs work but because I have already bought several maps I am invested in Memory Map so decided to give it a try. I haven’t had a chance to do any proper testing, but once I have I will write something up.

    3 Stars on iTunes store is probably about correct, I had no problems uploading maps, routes & POIs but have used a similar method with Stanza to transfer books and is an iPhone issue not Memory Map.

  3. lonewalker says:

    A recent topic on the Memory Map support site asked about GPS signal and phone signal and whether the former was reliant of the latter. It would appear they are not….

    “This is a good question, and has been discussed a lot on other sites.
    The answer is, the GPS does work when there is no phone signal.
    BUT… it does not work if you put the phone in Airplane mode. Airplane mode turns off the GPS as well as the mobile phone functions. With other phones, we have advised using flight mode as a means of saving battery power, but you can’t do this on the iphone. Turning off the 3G data feature might save battery power.
    ALSO… it may take significantly longer to acquire a GPS fix if you have no mobile phone signal. If you have not used the GPS for a long time, or if you have travelled a significant distance from where you last used the GPS, it may not be able to acquire a fix at all. So, the advice is to run Memory-Map and make sure you get a fix before you head out for the day, and check it at regular intervals.
    All the Memory-Map data, once downloaded, is stored on the device and can be used without any internet connection.”

    Full thread can be found here:
    http://www.memory-map.co.uk/supportforum/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=585

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