The built-in Maps app on Windows 10 Mobile is pretty good, both in form and function. The UI is intuitive, there’s the ability to download maps offline, and turn-by-turn voice navigation is perfect.
However, for some regions outside the US, on several occasions you’ll find a landmark or location missing. Incidentally, in these instances, Google Maps would list that location. One, Google Maps is pretty good at map data and POIs outside the US, and since Google Maps is much more popular, most businesses only list themselves on Google Maps and not bother about other mapping services.
But of course, there’s no official Google Maps app for Windows. There’s gMaps though – an impressive client for Google Maps since the early days of the Windows Phone platform. The app allows you to find your location on the map and search for venues using powerful local search with support for multiple layers like street, satellite, traffic, bike, weather, et al.
Yet, I prefer using the Maps app. It’s integrated with Cortana and Bing, and just looks and feels much better. Also, it’s free and built-in. Interestingly, gMaps introduced an interesting feature – the ability to choose the default navigation app – that a lot of people are unaware of.
When I’m unable to find a venue on Maps (the coworking space I work out of is not present on Maps, for example, but listed on Google Maps), I fire the gMaps app and search for that location. Now, to navigate to that address, instead of using the gMaps UI, I choose Maps as the navigation app. The app transfers the lat-long coordinates of the location (behind-the-scenes) to the Maps app which shows me the directions that I can navigate to.
Essentially, this trick allows me to find venues and locations on gMaps and still use the familiar user experience of the Maps app for navigation. gMaps is also available for Windows 10 PCs (It’s not a universal app though), and maybe this works there as well, but for navigation, only the mobile scenario makes sense. If you’d like to try this out yourself, download the gMaps app. It’s free and ad-supported, with an in-app purchase unlocking the ad-free experience.