May 14, 2010

Skobbler sat-nav iPhone app launches in the UK

by Darren Allan

The oddly named Skobbler navigation app for the iPhone launches today in the UK.

Already a big selling app in Germany, where it has some 150,000 users, Skobbler may prove just the thing for those who are jealous of Android phone owners and their Google Maps Navigation.

The app is different from the norm in its approach to data gathering, as it uses crowd-sourcing, letting users highlight problems with the map database.

For example, if a new roundabout has just been opened in town, the user can update the map of that area and let everyone else know. It’s a bit like a cartographical version of Wikipedia.

This means that the maps are constantly kept up to date, and for no extra charge to the user-base, as they are effectively doing the work.

Of course, it occurs to us that this system could be open to abuse much as Wikipedia is, but it seems to have worked well enough over in Germany.

Skobbler is now available in the UK app store, and it costs £1.19, although that’s a limited introductory offer price.

However, feedback thus far in the store hasn’t been very positive. One user called the quality of the maps in the Birmingham area “laughable”.

Another bemoaned the lack of map caching, which means the app isn’t usable if there’s no net connection available.

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