Mobile App Development

Citymapper is better than Google Maps for city dwellers

If you live in the city, try ditching Google Maps for Citymapper – I guarantee you’ll find it infinitely more useful for getting from point A to point B…

If you live in a city and use Google Maps (or Apple Maps) to get around, you’re missing out on one of the best navigation apps currently available for iPhone and Android.

I am of course talking about Citymapper, the transport application specially designed for city dwellers. And in this article, I’ll show you exactly why Citymapper is a better option than both for getting around your city. Google Maps and Apple Maps combined.

And while Apple Maps has some very useful features, like the possibility of dropping a pinCitymapper is a brilliant third-party maps app to run alongside.

No cars pass…

If you live in the city, as I have for almost 12 years, chances are you don’t own or drive a car. Instead, you take the metro or bus everywhere. Or an Uber if you’re feeling flushed. Either way, you don’t have wheels so you rely on public transportation and, as any seasoned public transportation user will tell you when it comes to buses and subways, knowledge is is power.

You need to know the times. You need to know what’s going on, where and how they all connect. If you’re new to a city, say London, it can take months or even years to master the complex network of bus and tube routes. At least, that was the case. You now have Citymapper. And basically, that changes everything.

What is Citymapper?

Citymapper is basically the only app you’ll need to navigate a city. In the app you can extract data about buses, subways and taxis. You can find exact routes, times and even costs. Citymapper, like Google Maps, uses your location via GPS to calculate routes, then gives you options for every form of transportation available – from buses and subways to boats and taxis.

The amount of information you can extract from Citymapper is incredible. Once you’ve set up a few locations (where you live; where you work), you can then navigate entire cities in just a few clicks, making your travels much more efficient. You’ll never have to guess again and in some cases, like me, you’ll find faster routes home from work.

Case in point: I worked near Tottenham Court Road. I took the same bus to and from work every day. For several years. Then I discovered Citymapper, after a friend recommended it, and realized I had done everything wrong.

I followed Citymapper’s instructions and saved 15 minutes on my journey. The new route was quicker, less crowded and involved a nice 10 minute walk at the end. And for me, the less time I spend on buses, the better.

How to use Citymapper

Citymapper is very easy to use. Simply download the app, open it, select your city, London for example, and you’re done. From there, you can add saved locations – where you live and where you work. And that’s literally it.

Now that you have Citymapper installed on your phone, you can use it every time you need to go somewhere. Citymapper is particularly useful when you are in areas that you are not completely familiar with. As a journalist, I travel to briefings all over the city, so I use Citymapper all the time to plot my route to and from events and briefings.

To get somewhere, simply open Citymapper and enter the address or zip code. Run the search, select where you want to go, then select the type of transportation you want to use. Citymapper supports the following transportation modes:

  • Bus
  • Ride a bike
  • Tube
  • Rail
  • Smart driving
  • Uber
  • Get

Or, to get a macro overview of your trip, select ALL and Citymapper will present all the potential options, so you can look at them all to see which is quickest, cheapest, or the one with the fewest changes. You also have options for Uber and Gett, with estimated travel times and approximate costs.

Selecting a route in Citymapper

Once you know where you are going and how you want to get there, Citymapper will then give you detailed directions. For example, let’s say you take the tube; Citymapper will first give you a walking route to the metro station you need, then it will tell you which metro line to take, as well as the time of the next metro. Along with this, Citymapper will also plot the exact times for each leg of your trip, so you know exactly how long it will take.

How to register your home and business address

As stated earlier, when you start using Citymapper, you will want to register your home address and perhaps your business address as well. This just makes the app smoother because you don’t need to add your home and/or work address every time you plan a trip.

Registering your home and/or business address on Citymapper is easy, just follow these steps: Open Citymapper > On the main page, select PLACES > Click SET > Select Either GET ME HOME or GET ME TO WORK > Enter your address > Save. You’ll want to do both, so just repeat the steps to complete both addresses.

Other great features of Citymapper

OK, we’ve covered the basics of Citymapper. Now we’ll look at ALL of Citymapper’s features, so you can use the app to its full potential. This part will be quick, because all we’re doing is giving you a quick overview of Citymapper’s features and how to access and use them.

  • How to share location with friends: If you are traveling to a location to meet friends or family, you can share your location with people using Citymapper. To access this feature, follow these steps: Click the Arrow/Share icon in the top right corner > A number of sharing options will appear (Whatsapp, Messenger, Messages, Email or Copy to clipboard ) > select the one you want to use, then tap the Share button to send it.
  • Use Citymapper offline: If you’re abroad and don’t want to use data while traveling, you can save your trips offline to access them later. It’s great if you know where you’re going, because you can plan your routes from one place to another, using your hotel or apartment’s WiFi. This is not as effective as having access to Citymapper in real time. But it’s infinitely preferable to using a real map!
  • Citymapper tracks calories: When you use Citymapper and it involves walking, the app calculates how many calories you burned during your trip. This feature is a nice addition for anyone who wants to take more steps per day but has no way to track them. In terms of precision, it’s only an approximation but it’s better than nothing, right?
  • Find out how many trees you have saved: Another unique feature of Citymapper is that it will show you how many trees you saved by choosing to take public transportation instead of using your car. Again, this is an approximation, but if you’re someone who wants to be more environmentally conscious, this feature is a really nice touch.

Which cities does Citymapper support?

As stated in the first paragraph of this article, Citymapper ONLY works in cities and at the moment it ONLY supports the following cities:

  • London
  • Birmingham
  • Manchester
  • Brussels
  • Paris
  • Lyon
  • Amsterdam
  • Rotterdam
  • The Hague
  • Utrecht
  • Cologne-Düsseldorf-Ruhr region
  • Hamburg
  • Berlin
  • Milan
  • Rome
  • Copenhagen
  • Stockholm
  • Barcelona
  • Madrid
  • Lisbon
  • Moscow
  • Istanbul
  • Boston
  • new York
  • Philadelphia
  • DC-Baltimore
  • Chicago
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Angels
  • Toronto
  • Montreal
  • Vancouver
  • Mexico
  • Sao Paulo
  • Tokyo
  • Seoul
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney

You can download Citymapper via Apple App Store And Google play.

And check In which cities are Apple Maps AR walking directions available?

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has worked as a technology journalist for over 10 years. He is the publisher and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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