Navigon iPhone GPS app 1.5.0 update hits the store

Navigon releases the 1.5.0 update for its popular MobileNavigator application that adds a few more useful features.

Version 1.5.0 of the MobileNavigator comes with Panoramic 3D map view that show accurate terrain of the area including elevation, shadow, and geographic images. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

As promised, on Tuesday Navigon released another major update for itsiPhone MobileNavigator app, version 1.5.0, to add three more features to the already feature-rich navigator application.

The new features includes connection to Facebook and Twitter, Panorama View, 3D with 3D terrain views derived from NASA data, and personalized route recommendations via Navigon MyRoutes. The update is free, except for the Panoramic View 3D feature, which costs $9.99 via in-app purchase.

The 1.5.0 update connects social networking sites to the GPS app.

I found the new features useful, especially MyRoutes. Each time you enter a new destination, the app will present you with up to three suggestions clearly shown on the map, with estimated time to arrival for each. You then can pick one depending on the time of day and the traffic conditions.

The connection to Facebook and Twitter would come in handy when you want your friends to keep track of your whereabouts on the road. This would be especially convenient if you took a road trip with multiple cars. The status update posts to Twitter and Facebook automatically once you activate it, and it won't interrupt the navigation or the music playback function of the app.

The Panoramic View 3D, on the other hand, doesn't offer any added functionality--just a much nicer-looking map view with accurate depictions of the surrounding environment, including elevations, shadows, and geographic images. This is really a nice feature if you are in a new area, as it gives you the feel of the place's terrain and scenery, beyond just the generic maps. Apart from costing $9.99, this features also uses another 700MB of the phone's storage and will require a Wi-Fi connection to download. The good news is you won't need to use the phone's data connection for this feature to work, as the download includes all the 3D map data.

MobileNavigator update 1.5.0 is available now in the App Store. The app include maps of all of North America and currently costs $79.99. Its Live Traffic feature costs another $24.99. If you don't want to pay for maps of the whole country, you can opt for a customizable app called Navigon MyRegion, which comes with maps of just Eastern, Central, or Western regions for a much lower price. You can later add more maps via in-app purchases.

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