One of the most common questions I get via e-mail is: "how can I use a web-based mapping program like Google Maps on my PDA or Smartphone?" Like many other web services Google Maps doesn’t play nicely with Pocket IE or IE Mobile on a Windows Mobile 2003 or 5.0 device. If you can supply the connectivity, Virtual Earth Mobile can supply the maps and is powered by Windows Live Local.
This small free application is available as a CAB file that you copy to your device and then execute the CAB for the installation. Once you’re installed, you’ll see a Virtual Earth Mobile icon in your Programs and you’re good to go where ever you want to! You can request driving directions, change maps from Road to Aerial views (or combine both), locate yourself via GPS or WiFi, even find a Contact on the map. As a standalone app, there’s an advantage over a web-based service; the application integrates with your Outlook contacts, so if you have an address for them, Virtual Earth Mobile can find it.
I created a "dummy" contact and used a previous address of mine for the entry; sure enough, as the map to the right shows, my old address on Clawson Avenue in New Jersey was found correctly. There’s more information at the Via Virtual Earth site, so if you’re looking for a mapping service with plenty of features, I highly recommend taking a look. You might even recognize the "head honcho" behind the application; it’s none other than Dr. Neil, the HiTech Hobo!