By 12 August 2011 | Categories: news


At the same time as the announcement was made of fees for the controversial toll roads, Nokia South Africa serendipitously launched its latest update to Nokia Maps, in a bid to enable people to more effectively manage their road travel and reduce their time spent in traffic. The latest update to Nokia Maps, version six, which will run on a range of Nokia touchscreen phones, including the 5230, N97, N97 mini, N8, C7 and C601, is free to download.

The company explained that the latest update shows people real-time traffic conditions, enabling users to pre-plan the quickest and most environmentally-efficient route. Nokia Maps traffic includes updates on congestion, road closures, road works and other traffic incidents, colour-coding roads as red, amber or green depending on traffic flow. The maps software comes pre-loaded on all Nokia smartphones, and provides free turn-by-turn voice guided navigation, while the traffic service is available on all touch Symbian smartphones.

Wake-up call

Gary Ronald, from the Automobile Association (AA), gave a grim but eye-opening context for the importance of managing one’s way around traffic more efficiently. He explained that, while the country has a fantastic road network, the conditions of the roads themselves are shocking and rapidly deteriorating. While between R32 billion and R35 billion was needed per year to maintain the country’s roads, there was a backlog of roads repairs  that would cost in the region of R149 billion.

He warned that, if the state of the road remained as it was, the country could face a time when almost all of its usable roads were tolled. Making matters worse, was that, in many instances, the same piece of road had to be repaired multiple times for the repair to be done effectively. Ronald explained that, along with congestion, the condition of the roads has a direct impact on crashes, with one million crashes being reported last year.

“When we don’t look after our roads, an increase in car crashes, the use of alternative routes and accelerated wear and tear on motorists’ vehicles is the result,” he added.

Management is essential

Navteq’s Irvine Aitcheson added that, along with traffic information, incident data was equally as important. This could include roadblocks and road works, for example, which had a direct impact on the flow of traffic. “Traffic is not going away, however, if we can manage our way around road traffic, it makes driving that much easier on our roads,” he stressed.

Nokia South Africa’s Patrick Henchie explained that Nokia Maps included 100% coverage of the road network (554 239 km), with speed limits for major roads and lane guidance for all motorways. Along with walk navigation, which is available for Joburg and Cape Town, Nokia Maps for desktop ( has also been updated and now includes photo-realistic 3D imaging of Cape Town, amongst other major global cities, such as San Francisco.

He asserted that the maps functionality was on a level where it could challenge dedicated GPS devices, and pointed out that all the Nokia maps for all countries were free, along with voice guidance. Additionally, Henchie pointed out that the advantage of having navigation on a cellular device meant that users were able to post their location online, as well as call for help in the event of an accident.

The new maps are currently available as an update via the Ovi store on Nokia devices, from or as a software update within the existing Nokia maps application.

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