AR-Maps Brings Google Maps and Augmented Reality to Your Phone!

by on November 21, 2012 · 20 comments

If you’ve been missing Google Maps app on your iPhone or you’re looking to get more from a maps app, check out AR-Maps. Similar to Nokia City Lens, mentioned in the Lumia 810 review, AR-Maps lets you use Apple or Google Maps on your iPhone and adds a camera view with a layer of text to identify what you’re seeing in front of you.

The app uses a split screen, with the camera view at the top of the screen and the map view at the bottom. As you move your phone, the orientation of the map moves with you.

The app is cleverly designed, disabling the camera feature when the phone is pointed towards the ground. When you raise the phone and point it ahead of you, the camera turns on again.

You can use this app for navigation and to discover places of interest around you. You can also use this app if you’re lost or disoriented. The app shows you a hybrid view of both the buildings ahead of you through your camera lens and the map with the names of the streets.

Here’s a video showing how the app works:

The app has a search function that lets you search for nearby keywords, your history, the phone book and places on the map. You can also share your current location with a friend via email or a text message, in case you’re lost, running late, or trying to meet up with others.

What You Should Know

You can switch back and forth between Apple Maps and Google Maps within the app in Settings.

The app is free but has ads. The ads appear infrequently, but when they do appear along the bottom of the screen, they block the menu bar. Tap on the edge of the screen and the menu bar will reappear and the ad will disappear. Let’s hope a paid, ad-free version comes soon!

The app is only for iOS devices and works best on the iPhone 4S and 5. An Android app is planned soon.

AR-Maps connects to the Internet to work. If you’re away from Wi-Fi you’ll be using cellular data on your phone so mind your data limits.

Because the app is using your camera, GPS, gyroscope and other features on your phone, this app can drain your battery quickly. If you’re using the app in the car, make sure to plug your phone into a charger so you don’t arrive at your destination with a depleted battery. When you’re done using the app, close it. I’m serious. If you ever doubted my guidance in Close Your Apps!, this app will restore your faith in my advice. Leave this app running in the background for a while and say good-bye to your battery charge.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a free maps app that lets you use Apple maps or Google maps, adds augmented reality and notifies others where you are, check out AR-Maps.

AR-Maps is free for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store.
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Staying Safe when Shopping Online

If you’ll be shopping online on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day of the year, be sure to stay safe when purchasing products from websites. According to Trend Micro, phishing incidents are up over 200% since 2006 and over 10 million malware sites have popped up on the web.

Trend Micro offers these tips for staying safe with your online shopping:

  • Only visit websites with HTTPS in the web address, especially if you’ve never visited the site before. Look for the padlock icon at the lower right of your screen or in the address bar as a good indicator of site’s security.
  • Websites don’t need all of your personal information. A website will never need your date of birth or social security number for you to make a purchase.
  • Keep it Private. Don’t shop in a public “hot spot” or in places with unsecure networks. Limit online shopping to when you are at home on your password-protected Wi-Fi network to be sure of uninterrupted and safe shopping sessions.

Happy shopping!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Gary Braley November 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

I just checked out AR-maps and was not impressed. Instructions are confusing and frequent ads actually prevent you from using the app until they go away – and then reappear!

I’m generally happy with the new Apple map app. Street view on Google was fun but not a necessity. Turn by turn directions have worked great. I’ve had two minor errors in directions. The destinations were across the road and one block away.

The vector graphics in the new Apple app will go down as the biggest improvement in mapping in decades. I’ve travelled over 200 miles without an Internet connection and could zoom in and out using only the high level map originally downloaded to plot the trip – a great way to save on your data plan. Bit-mapped graphics continually reload as you zoom in and out; vector graphics do not.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hi Gary, That’s great that you are a fan of Apple maps. You sound like you’re not craving Google maps to be back on your iPhone.

Sorry you’re not a fan of AR-Maps. If you press the edge of the screen the ads go away, but I agree with you, the ads should not be blocking the menu bar.

I really liked all of the functionality of this app. I thought the features were intuitive and innovative.

Happy Thanksgiving, Gary!
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Sherryl Perry November 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

This looks like a great app Carolyn. I look forward to the release of the Android version. Thanks for the share.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Hi Sherryl, Im glad you like this app. An Android version is promised soon. I also hope they offer a paid version that is ad-free for both Android and iPhone.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Mike Maynard
Twitter:
November 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I think maps on a smart phone would be something I would use. I use Google maps and Streetview a lot. I saw the Streetview car a few weeks ago. My car will be on Streetview! I like the look of the new Samsung camera with Android built in. It not quite worth the money, but smart cameras are getting quite good now. I think they should give me free ones to test!

I’ve been testing Photoscape, a freeware photo editing program. It has some good features.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Hi Mike, When I lived in England, I saw the Google car in our neighboring town. I told a friend of mine that the Google car was outside her house so she could come outside if she wanted to be on camera or stay inside if she wanted to stay out of the picture. She stayed inside!

I think you would like having a smartphone that has a good camera. You would be able to have it with you wherever you go!
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Praveen Rajarao
Twitter:
November 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hi carolyn – My wife has been complaining about the new maps in her iPhone5…i think i got what i was looking for here…will download it for her and hope she finds it useful enough.

Thanks for the share and also the shoppping tips.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Hi Praveen, Yes, for those who want Google Maps back on their iPhones, this app is a find. Just be sure to warn your wife about the ads that block the menu bar every so often (just tap the edge of the screen to make the ad disappear) and to close this app when she is done using it!

If your wife is traveling some place new, she might like the augmented reality part of the app to help her identify places. I love how that feature turns on and off by the angle of the phone!

Happy Thanksgiving, Praveen!
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Wenie Langacre November 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

There are so many apps are now existing and all of them seems really great. I think AR maps is great too but I am most prefer to Google maps. Hence, they have a little difference.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Hi Wenie, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, Google Maps has many great features, but that app isn’t available any more on the iPhone. If you’re looking to get Google Maps back on your iPhone, this is a way to do it for free while adding augmented reality. This doesn’t have satellite or street view, but has a lot of other features that are very useful!
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
November 22, 2012 at 1:32 am

I am going to download AR-Maps. I’ve been missing Google Maps on my iPhone and this seems to be a great way to start using my maps again. The reason I am using maps is mostly in order to find a place I’m looking for while walking or driving. I am not sure if this works as good in Norway as it does in the US, but as long it’s free I can test and see for myself :-)

Thanks a lot for sharing Carolyn.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Hi Jens, This is a Japanese app, not an American app. AR-Maps has been around for a while, but was only recently available in English. I don’t know whether the app works in Norway, but I am looking forward to you letting us know whether or not it does! :-)
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
November 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I have installed it, and it seems to be working in Norway. But, I have only been looking at it from inside my house :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Cool! Great to know that it works in Norway. Thanks for letting us know, Jens!
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Sneha November 22, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hi Carolyn,

Everyone including me was feed up with the iPhone map app and was wondering to have a good actually very good map app.
Hope the app AR Map you suggested fulfill my expectations going to download today only..

Thanks..!!!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Hi Sneha, I hope you like AR-Maps. It has a lot of features that make it very useful. There is no satellite or street view, but the augmented reality feature is especially useful.
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Clarkmartin November 23, 2012 at 12:18 am

Awesome post. Using the device’s GPS, compass, and gyroscope, the app automatically switches between a split-screen map/video view of your surroundings, or just a flat map depending on if you’re holding your device vertically or horizontally. And not only does it let you search for a specific address or landmark.
Thanks for share it.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Hi Clark, I’m glad you enjoyed this article. I hope you emjoy using AR-Maps as well!
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Adrienne
Twitter:
November 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Ah, another cool invention to help those who really need to find their way. I had a girlfriend who always got lost even with her GPS. I know, I have no idea how that continued to happen but she would call me to look it up online. Now she has the type of cell phone that this app would work great with. You know, so much more advanced then me.

By the way, the only shopping I did today was buy my niece’s Christmas gifts on Amazon. That’s it, I’m done. My nephew hasn’t sent me his list yet and my other niece and nephew out of state, I always send them money so they can go buy what they didn’t get. They love doing that plus it helps me too.

Thanks Carolyn and hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving. Now, on to a fun weekend.

~Adrienne
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Hi Adrienne, Yes, this app would be great for your friend. I know people who get lost even with a GPS and when they try to describe to me where they are, chances are that they aren’t very accurate in communicating their location.

That’s great you avoided the malls today, Adrienne. I can’t blame you. If I do shopping today, it will be online only. The mall isn’t some place I want to be on Black Friday, no matter how great the sales are!
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