Nokia HERE Maps iOS App Appears in App Store, Challenges Apple

Nokia's new cross-platform mapping service hit its first specific platform today with the launch of a free Nokia Here Maps app for iOS, which hopes to fill the gaping void left by a missing Google Maps app and Apple's own lackluster native implementation.

Here Maps may only be a week old, but it's built on top of Nokia's years of cartography experience. The maps themselves already offer a lot of functionality, including traffic maps, very basic public transportation info, full 3D maps, and automatic identification of nearby points of interests. The iOS app adds voice guided turn-by-turn walking directions, something missing from the native Maps app.

Perhaps more importantly, Here Maps lets you download the maps for a particular area for offline use, though the download is limited to 10MB in size. In other words, the bigger the area, the lower the image quality.

After you sign into the app with a Nokia or Facebook account, you can organize your preferred locations into "Collections," which are then available on the HTML5 website, as all. Your Collections would presumably be available on other platforms that Here pops up on; Nokia already pledged support for Android and the upcoming Firefox OS in 2013.

Intrigued? The Nokia Here Maps app is already up and available for download in the App Store. Be warned, however, that The Verge already took the app for a spin and reports that its public transportation directions are more miss than hit.