Driving Directions For India On MG Maps

I few days back I had talked about my pursuit of better maps for India on my N95 in the post Mapping India.

Although I was more or less satisfied with MG Maps running Yahoo India Maps, there was one drawback in application which was preventing it to be a perfect mapping and navigation solution for the Indian user. As I had mentioned in the earlier post, the driving directions feature is still not available in India since MG Maps uses Google for all its searches by default including routes (Google does not have driving directions/ route search for India yet). So even if you get detailed maps using Yahoo India maps, with your current location, speed heading etc on the screen, you still cannot use MG Maps as a GPS navigation system.

I posted a request to the developer of MG Maps to include Yahoo India maps in the search feature of the application and found that there is thread on the subject the forums section of MG Maps. At the forum I also discovered that there a very talented person who goes by the alias spadival has managed to create a pipe on Yahoo using Yahoo India Maps to get driving directions for India. Click here to read more about pipes.You can find the pipe created by spadival here.

Now what this pipe does is, it uses Yahoo Maps India to search for directions which are fed into the “from” and “to” fields and gives an output on the map. The best part is that the output can also be saved as a kml file which can be loaded to the phone running MG Maps and then the application loads the file and the way-points are show on the phone.

Here is a detailed “how to” on plotting your route in advance, sending it to the phone and then taking it up from there:

  • Go the pipe by clicking here.

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  • Fill in the fields of “From” and “To” and run the pipe.

You will be presented with a result on the map and the details of way-points will be shown under the map (I’ll stick to Jalandhar and Shimla as in my earlier post).

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  • Click “more options” and select “Get as kml”
  • Save the file on the computer

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  • Now you can transfer the file to your phone. You can make a separate folder in the memory card eg. mgmaps and save the file in the folder
  • Start MG Maps and select “services” and then click on “View KML” and select “Open file”.

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  • You will be presented with an option to manually type the file name or browse for it. Unfortunately the browse feature doesn’t load the file so you have to type it in manually and select “load kml”. Don’t forget to type in the maximum no of place you want to display. In case the no of way points in the kml file exceed this limit they won’t be shown on MG Maps.
  • Now you will be presented with the list of way-points. Just select the first way-point and in the options menu select “Center Map”.

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  • Success, You can see the way-points on the map.
  • Clicking the center/ select button will open a detail of the way point and you go to the next way-point by pressing 3 and the previous way-point by pressing 1.

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This still might not be a perfect navigation solution as it still doesn’t highlight the route and it also doesn’t have voice directions. I’d still say its the best free navigation solution I’ve been able to find for India.

Try it and tell me how it worked for you?

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