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Free Driving Directions by Phone Call

DIR-ECT-IONS is a service that offers free directions by phone call. What a godsend if you’re in a strange city and your navigation system goes on the fritz or you need to reroute from your printed maps.

With DIR-ECT-IONS, you can get driving directions from your cell phone. All you have to do is dial the word D-I-R-E-C-T-I-O-N-S, which in phone translates to (347) 328-4667. Then, tell the voice-activated service your starting address and destination. You will then receive a text message with Mapquest driving directions. Excellent.

You know the pros and cons of using Mapquest. If you’re in a city or larger town, it should be a piece of cake. But in my experience (as a sales person visiting random addresses on highways and random locations throughout the United States), not every address will show up. And you shouldn’t be too worried about missing the short cuts.

If you need a business address but you don’t know EXACTLY where you need to go, you’re in luck. The service will search for business chains like Starbucks or FedEx. DIR-ECT-IONS was released in limited areas over the summer, but is now available across the United States.

“The mobile phone is at the center of the location-based services revolution,” said Chris Hazelton, senior analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Technology and Trends program. “With increasing government regulations limiting the use of mobile phones by drivers, voice-activated services provide a simple, easy to use alternative to more complex input methods.”

DIR-ECT-IONS is also introducing a new ‘mobile invitation’ feature called Meet Me. It sounds more or less like Evite for your phone, which is handy for arranging meet-ups with your friends or acquaintances in your destination city. Sounds even better than sending a mass text message and hoping you hear back from people.

If you’re a text-er at heart, you can also give Google Text a shot. The Google application offers driving directions and local business listings, among other things. But I haven’t had a lot of luck with the Google directions up to this point. You usually receive multiple messages, albeit very quickly, with incomplete or incomprehensible directions.

MapQuest directions can be sent to your phone from the website. DIR-ECT-IONS is more for directions on the fly, when you have to change plans or add a location or find someplace for dinner. The provider also offers a mobile site, but if you don’t have a good data package with your phone your directions could get awfully pricey using this option.