Keep track of where you go with this wide-ranging mapping app
Size: 115.3 MB
Update! What a strange time to be revisiting an app all about visiting places. Despite being in a global pandemic, Mapstr has actually spent a considerable amount of effort in boosting the app’s capabilities.
So what’s new? Well, in response to the world’s hospitality venues opening up again over summer 2020, the app added the capability to reserve tables at restaurants directly in the app. In response to it all shutting down again? The capability to order delivery. They’re smart moves that will benefit users when things get better again. Alongside a bunch of speed improvements and collaboration tools with others, Mapstr’s now far more usable.
Revised rating: Collaboration is really helpful for households and friends, plus in-app capabilities means we’re upping this to ★★★★½
Our original review, written in August 2018, is presented in its entirety below.
Location tracking apps can have mixed results. The obvious players like Facebook and Instagram allow you to tag by location in their apps, while the recently retired Moves app tracked passively so you could view a record of your location.
However, it’s getting that information out again into a usable format that’s tricky and is why many ultimately don’t catch on. Mapstr, on the other hand, doesn’t just focus on recording your location, but making it useful, and more importantly shareable.
The idea is, you manually add locations you’ve either been or want to go via a search to create your own personal map, then tag them based on type. This could include restaurants, gig venues, cinemas, and even friends’ houses. You quickly realise that the tagging elements essentially provides you with multiple maps based on each category – or it can simply be reviewed as one big map.
It can be quite a daunting task getting started, but usefully, Mapstr gives you a quick into populating your map by importing from Facebook or Instagram. While your map now looks heavily populated proving to everyone what a busy little bee you are, the blanket ‘Instagram’ or ‘Facebook’ tags doesn’t make it that useful for finding places. Of course, you can retag, but we’d recommend building up slowly.
Why not start by creating a series of restaurants you’ve always meant to try? Or add all your favorite music halls so you can quickly look next time you fancy catching a show. In fact, one of the key elements to Mapstr is it provides plenty of info. Tap on a location on the map that you’ve saved and it will show opening times, an option to call the location, and even provide travel directions based on the apps you have e.g. Google Maps, Uber and Citymapper.
This is where Mapstr is at its best – not the passive tracking of where you’ve been just so you have a record, but setting up places for you to try in the future. Next time you go on holiday, you can add a tag for, say, “Restaurants – Rome” and you can then add options based on your research so that when you’re actually there you can quickly peruse and get directions.
There’s a lot of potential to Mapstr and we hope it’ll keep getting attention. The friends element is a little underwhelming until you can encourage a few of yours to download the app. But if you get your group to go all in, then you can easily share maps, locations and other bits and pieces. However, unlike many apps like this, it isn’t make or break on having friends join you. If they don’t, you can still share via text or Whatsapp a location and they’ll receive a photo and address and a recommendation from yourself. It’ll also include a link to download the app so if you use it enough it could encourage friends to get on board. But we’d say its primary use is as a personalized collection of places you plan to go.
Even without friends, Mapstr has plenty going for it as a personal location planning tool. Always forget the places you mean to go? You should probably give Mapstr a try.