Free Mapping Software: to Use or Not to Use?

Should you use free mapping software
Featured image credit: Koldunov/iStockphoto.com

Who doesn’t love free software? From Google Drive for storage to WhatsApp for staying in touch, from Youtube for entertainment to Google Maps for traveling – we use a plethora of free software every day.

Speaking of traveling – isn’t Google Maps one of the most used apps on your smartphone? According to a report, nearly 77% of smartphone owners regularly use navigation apps, and almost 70% (of this 77 %) of navigation app users indicate that Google Maps- which is one of the best free mapping software- is their preferred navigation app.

Strengths of a Free Mapping Software

So, why do people prefer free online mapping software? It’s because they are user-friendly, viewable on a smartphone, offer real-time ETAs based on live traffic data, and use GPS navigation to automatically re-route you based on current road conditions, such as diversions. The mapping tool also allows you to choose alternate routes, should you prefer to take a toll-free route or a more scenic route. If you don’t feel like driving, you also have the option to bring up walking or biking routes and utilize real-time transit information to find the best public transport option.

If you’re interested in finding the shortest or fastest route between points A and B, almost any free web-based mapping software will do a fantastic job of finding the best roads for you. These freebies will not only give you the best path from A to B, but they will also provide you with an accurate ETA.

Google Maps- or any other free mapping software- is great if:

  • You have five or fewer stops
  • You only need to plan for one driver
  • Your routes don’t have constraints like delivery time windows
  • You can manually determine a sequence for addresses

If you’re planning a family trip this holiday season, free online mapping software can help you get there with the least amount of discomfort.

Free Mapping Tools Have Limitations, too!

A free GPS mapping software is the preferred option when it comes to getting turn-by-turn directions from one point to another… but what happens when you need to plan the most fuel-efficient route with multiple destinations? The more addresses you add into the route plan, the less appropriate free mapping tools become.

Let’s say you are running a field service business, and you have 100 parcels to deliver in a day. Free mapping software cannot tell you the most optimal path to every single one of those addresses. It will merely create a map based on the order in which you entered those addresses.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

When running a field service business, there are many factors crucial to your delivery operations, such as:

  • Specific delivery time windows: When customers request deliveries within a specific time window.
  • Multiple drivers: When you have multiple drivers who start and end their day at different times or locations.
  • Delivery vehicle loads: The capacity constraints of delivery vehicles affect where and when your vehicles can go.

For most field service business owners, free software works well in the beginning when they have simple needs , such as one or two drivers and hundred-odd parcel delivery every week. As the business scales and the customer base grows, owners start looking for better solutions that will help them deal with increasing customer demands and an ever-increasing volume of parcels.

Consider this scenario: Your delivery driver sits behind the wheel and heads out for the scheduled deliveries, but how will your driver know which package to deliver first? How do they make sure all delivery time requests are considered while consuming the least amount of fuel?

That’s when premium route mapping features or an advanced route planner become necessary.

Difference Between Free Mapping Software and a Route Planner

The routing problem is a complicated one. Trying to solve it manually or using free mapping software doesn’t make sense in the long run. There’s a lot of differences between the efficiencies of Google Maps or Bing Maps and a premium route optimizer.

Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps is a quick way of getting the fastest and most accurate route from point A to B. It is not capable of considering customer delivery time requests or other constraints that your business might have. Free mapping software is not designed to help you optimize delivery operations.

On the other hand, a route optimizer is powered by algorithms to help you efficiently schedule the order of deliveries for multiple vehicles, accommodating customer requests, and other constraints.

The most significant benefit an advanced delivery route planner- such as Route4Me- has over free mapping software is its ability to optimize a multi-stop route. Route4Me can create efficient multi-stop routes in less than 30 seconds while factoring in weather, traffic, construction, weight capacity, and many other critical constraints.

You can track your vehicle’s location and speed in real-time, and even receive speed alerts if a driver engages in speeding or rash driving. You can send alerts and notifications to customers when the driver is about to reach their address.

It also comes with an eSignature feature that allows drivers to use their mobile devices to collect customer signatures as proof of delivery. Route4Me will reduce your fuel expenses and increase your customer satisfaction by ensuring timely deliveries.

Conclusion

If you are starting out, a free mapping software will fit the bill, and you should take advantage of it. However, when your business starts to grow, you will need a tool that is more robust, flexible, and efficient. Amazon has raised the delivery benchmark, and your customers are expecting at least the same level of efficiency, if not better. Invest in an advanced route optimization software today, so that when the time comes to up your game, you’re ready to deliver.

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

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