Best satnav for walking

Apple Maps – free on iOS

The important bit first: from all of our Apple Maps experiences this month, we’d recommend getting hold of a postcode. Every single marked business within a few hundred metres of our tester’s home is in the wrong place, for example, often by a street or two; instructions that appear correct are little help if the final destination is wildly inaccurate.

If we take it as read that the location database is several divisions below Google and Nokia, and judge the walking part of the app on its own terms… it actually does rather well.

The interface is similar to that given while driving, with a mock road sign at the top and a mapped route below – and it can be angled into a 3D view. Your GPS dot triggers the next instruction as you pass each point, which alone makes it better than Google Maps for iOS.

iOS maps

Apple Maps has its foibles, and its locations can still be hilariously
off-piste. There’s nothing as useful as voice instructions, and it’s annoying to have to come out of a planned walking route and press another button to access a list view of directions. But when walking it gets the live information across clearly and simply, and that counts for a lot. – £1.99 on Android and iOS

The smaller name to consider for Android and iOS is the app version of Don’t expect big-budget polish: the interface is clunky, the search has no autocomplete, and the maps look like paper guides from 1980. And yet, this dedicated walking app has some unique tricks.

At any point you can flip to a screen showing the distance and number of steps, the calories burned and time taken at a slow, medium or fast walking pace.

That’s just your overview; when planning a route you can go direct, or take the “less busy” or “low pollution” options. The app stumbled when we added these demands to longer routes, but for short journeys it knew to avoid main roads – just be aware you may end up in poorly lit back streets.


Walkit’s list directions are ugly and static, but make up for that with extra information – a café to look out for before a turn, for example. It costs £1.99 and map coverage is limited mainly to cities at this point, so it won’t knock the free apps off your phone any time soon, but health-conscious walkers should give it a try.

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