13. August 2013–
Google Maps is the most commonly-used smartphone app in the world but it's not designed for those who want to do more than just get from A to B. Enter Komoot, a German company that this week opened up its hiking and cycling map app to countries throughout Europe, including the UK.
The Komoot app – dreamed up during its three co-founders' tour of the Alps in 2009 – plans tours and provides map and voice directions, drawing on data from sources including OpenStreetMap, NASA, Wikipedia and user data. It's now available in English as well as German and can be used in 17 countries in Europe.
Search by location and the amount of time you want to spend and Komoot will generate customised options sorted by difficulty – and serve up surface-type, gradient, likelihood of busy roads and snaps for each so you can get a picture of what you'll get. It's social, too. App users can design tours, share them with others and follow other users.
Access to all the web services is free. For voice navigation and offline maps, the first region is free but further regions cost €3.59 each or €29.99 for a complete set.
Komoot, founded in 2010, employs 15 people and is headquartered in Potsdam, Germany. It said yesterday it had reached two million downloads – and profitability. There are no plans right now to bring in other business models such as advertising, Komoot co-founder Tobias Hallermann said. "This model works quite well for us."
And how long can the app run before it drains the battery? The company tested this with a fully-charged iPhone, Hallermann said – with display and WiFi switched off, so just voice navigation, the phone lasted between five and six hours. The typical user wouldn't need more; those that do can opt to carry a spare smartphone battery – or, as a serious hiker should probably do anyway, a backup old-fashioned paper map.
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