I’m getting out of town this summer — way out, as my Congolese wife has grown homesick for the land of her birth. For me the fun has begun already, since it’s an excuse to indulge my longstanding love of digital maps.
The available offerings are quite good and getting better fast. In the past couple of weeks, Google Inc. has launched a major upgrade of its Google Maps service for desktop computers, making it an excellent resource for travel planning. I’ve also come across some good mobile options from Finnish phone maker Nokia Corp. and a German company called Skobbler. Each offers apps that include downloadable maps, so you can use your smartphone as a GPS navigator even if it’s disconnected from the cellular network.