[this post reflects my experience with iOS6 beta 4, but i just checked on the final version, and the problems are still present.]
i had the iOS beta installed on my phone while i was on my last vacation, and let me tell you, the maps application left a lot to be desired, especially as a tourist when you’re trying to find your way around a new city. you want detail, you want searchability, you want subway stations. i kept fumbling around with the built-in maps application, and i don’t know why i totally forgot about maps.google.com in safari. (note i did not have any problems with the app’s walking directions once i managed to find where i was going.)
detail and subway stations
compare iOS Maps, which has much less detail, and subway stations missing until you zoom in more (if you aren’t zoomed in enough, you could be totally confuddled thinking “i could have sworn there was a subway station there”, like i was!).
it seemed to me that google maps has a much larger (and/or better-searchable) database of places. when i was in istanbul looking for the chora church (pics), iOS Maps was no help (searching for “chora church”, the name practically every english-speaking tourist knows it as). now that i tried it on maps.google.com, i’m headdesking. SO MUCH BETTER. : i don’t need to be figuring out all possible names for a place, wondering if it’s even in there or if it’s an exercise in futility.
clearly, accessing google maps through safari isn’t the most ideal of solutions, and it’s doubtful that apple will ever let a google maps app in the app store, but at least now i know my options. the website can’t access the compass so i’ll have to use the built-in app to figure out what direction i’m facing, but i think for now, maps.google.com will be my go-to map application. we’ll see how well that works out, but it seems like a safer bet than the built-in app.
i just noticed this on my ipod touch (the first device of mine that updated to the final version, which i used to verify the problems above):