Microsoft's mobile ecosystem is in rough shape, so it didn't help when Nokia sold its Here mapping software to a German auto consortium. That group promptly pulled Windows support, leaving users with few navigation options. However, the software giant is working to improve Windows Maps, the native app for Windows 10 users, and has just issued a big update. It says the improvements go "far beyond directions," but perhaps the biggest one is for guided navigation.
The company made turn-by-turn instructions easier to see at a glance, whether you're in landscape or portrait mode. To make it easier to use the app with one hand, navigation has also been positioned at the bottom of the screen. Transit users get some love too, as the app will notify you to get off the bus or train, even if you don't have the app active.
For planning, you now get multiple searches on a single map view. That means you can find one restaurant, view it on the map, and then search another without losing the first results. It also shows a label for each location, rather than making you cross-index a number to a list of results. Once you've settled on a spot, you'll get improved detail cards that show walking, driving and transit directions.
Like Here, Windows Apps has offered offline map support for a while now. However, the new release lets you save favorite spots offline, making it easier to plan a vacation. When you travel, Cortana will even remind you to download maps before you leave.
Finally, to help users migrate from Here to Windows maps, Microsoft is letting users import up to 300 favorite Here locations to Windows Maps automatically. As a reminder, Here apps (including Here Drive, Drive+, Maps, Transit and City Lens) will completely stop working on Windows 10 devices on June 30th, and while they'll still work on Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 8.1, they won't be updated. The apps will continue to work on Android and iOS.