ZENRIN DataCom’s[J] new application is a valiant push toward a genuine GPS car navigation system for the iPhone 3G. It’s currently sitting at No. 4 on the App Store’s Top Paid list and it only(!) costs 1,800 yen (at the time of writing, just under US$20). The application’s name is いつもナビ 地図＋ルート (apologies if this is unintelligible) which translates roughly to “AnyTime Navi: Maps+Routes”. (OS 2.1 or higher required.)
The maps are multi-touch and their data is optimized for the iPhone, while the route data covers almost all of Japan with 400,000 entries (map and route data are ZENRIN’s own).
Functions include route planning, toll road information (toll roads are quite common here), GPS tracking, search (using keyword and/or data types). These functions and others can be gleaned from the following screen shots.
Without voice instructions, the app can’t replace a standard navigation system, and could prove dangerous if constantly monitored by a driver. Using handheld devices while driving is against Japan’s Road Traffic Act.
The iPhone’s SDK does not allow realtime route guidance, but this app gets pretty darn close.