The Scout navigation app adds chat, meetups and personalized traffic

Scout has always been a worthwhile free alternative for people looking for something beyond Google and Apple Maps. A just-issued update gives users predictive, intuitive traffic push notifications for users' everyday trips, eliminating the need to manually check for traffic delays.

Also added is a chat function for groups, so you can coordinate getting together. The app also supports inviting guests from contact lists, picking a day, time and location. Then Scout offers real-time location and ETA insights so guests are able to view the position of other guests on the navigation map. Scout is powered by OpenStreetMap (OSM), which is not best-in-class navigation data, but it is used a lot and is frequently updated.

I gave the updated Scout a try and found all functions to work well. The ETA feature is similar to Glympse, but not as flexible feature-wise. The chat functions works, but should never be used while driving. The personalized traffic reports are a clever idea, and you can schedule report updates giving you road conditions and advising you of alternate routes. I still don't think the Scout POI database can touch Google or even Apple's, but it is serviceable.

Scout is certainly worth a look, and many people will like the integration of traffic, ETA and the chat function for getting groups together in a coordinated way.

Scout offers a subscription service that provides offline maps, but at US$25.00 a year Scout starts to brush against better and less-expensive competitors. Scout requires iOS 7 or later. It's optimized for the iPhone 5. Hopefully another update will let it more fully match the screen resolution of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.