OnStar (Live Operators/Cloud-based POI Databases)
A restaurant’s name, location, and phone number might only take up a few bytes of data, but there are thousands of restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, and auto mechanics in this country, and they’re frequently changing names/places. On-board navigation systems might try their best with Point of Interest databases, storing them on Secure Digital cards and hard drives, but the fact of the matter is this: a 2010 model-year car–and its POI database–isn’t going to know about the new Costco around the corner from you. Furthermore, many POI databases aren’t accurate for businesses with less than a handful of locations. Enter services like OnStar and BlueLink, which connect drivers (and their cars’ Nav systems) to vast online databases that are constantly updated. While we credit services like Google and Bing Maps and Hyundai’s BlueLink system (which are automated), we reserve a special shout-out for OnStar. The service may not be cheap–$28.90 a month, included in some GM leases–but it’s well worth it for its immensely helpful reps and its ability to turn any new GM car into a nav-equipped one, regardless of what’s in your dashboard.