iPhone App Review: Route Master

iPhone App Review: Route Master

May 8th, 2011 by

Have you ever been checking directions or a route map and wondered if the traffic reported was truly accurate? Or maybe you’ve wanted to be able to automatically let someone know the progress of your route, or to somehow be able to track your driving through an app or through a website? Route Master from Precision Apps brings you a standard mapping app, with the added ability to see other users’ route info (or to allow others to follow your route online), and the promise of crowd-sourced traffic information from other users of the app. It’s a great idea, but are the developers able to deliver a mapping application with traffic info that beats the built-in Maps app that ships with every iPhone?

How It Works

The first window you see when you open the app is a map, with the familiar blue dot marking your position. There are just two buttons in the app, a Setup option and a toggle to turn Auto Center on and off. In Setup you can see your route ID (along with an alternate route ID), adjust the units of measure between MPH and KPH, adjust the date refresh interval, and a button for emailing a link to someone to be able to follow your route online.

The idea of the app is that you’re able to see pins on the map that represent data points from other people using Route Master. Someone with the app installed can follow your route using your route ID, or they can follow it in a browser window by using the email link you provide. The route will update using your selected refresh interval and show an accumulation of pins representing your trip.The app has no feature for finding a route or getting directions.

Pros And Cons

I think the idea behind Route Master is a brilliant one, but it’s hampered by two major flaws.

The first is the lack of directions. Unless you know exactly where you’re going all the time, in order to use this app you would need to toggle back and forth between it and the built-in maps app (or whatever app you use to help you get from point A to point B). It seems rather awkward to have to use two separate mapping apps, but perhaps the ability to share your route with someone overrides that inconvenience and makes it worth it to you.

The second flaw is the apparent lack of users, though the app has just launched and its user base is growing by the day. If this app is supposed to help you see real-world traffic conditions by showing you other users’ (anonymous) route info and driving speed, it would seem essential to have users available from which to draw the data. This will obviously change over time, but the question is how quickly and by how much?

The app is currently also pegged at a fairly high price point for the App Store, but I don’t like to criticize price. The value of a service varies from individual to individual: I’ve personally paid $9.99 for something that someone else might think was crazy. The App Store market economy will sort out whether $3.99 is a fair price for this particular app.


Route Master is an app with a brilliant concept but does not yet have a critical mass of users to make one of its core features useful.

In the meantime, it does have the route mapping feature that could be handy in situations where you want someone to be able to know how close you are to getting somewhere, without having to call or constantly text them. It could also be handy for someone to be able to follow your route from behind you without having to worry about tailgating you the entire time.

While the price may seem a little steep for what it currently offers, Route Master is an interesting app with the promise of becoming a very useful travel utility, all for less than the price of two cups of coffee (or at least two decent cups of coffee).

  • WatcherMan22

    I can't wait for City Maps to come out of beta testing so I can get it for my iphone. It's amazing…if you don't know anything about it please please sign up for the beta at http://citymaps.com You won't be sorry…It's unique and helpful. It sort of combines social media and mapping all in one!

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