A U.S. study of mobile map usage based on data from comScore's MobiLens service found that 48 million mobile users accessed maps on their mobile device in May 2011, marking an increase of 39% from the previous year. The study found that map usage via mobile applications was the primary access point for smartphone owners as the map app audience doubled in size over the past year.
A comparative look at map usage among fixed-Internet users (i.e. accessing from a home or work computer) found that map visitation saw a slight decline in total audience in May 2011 versus the previous year, dipping 2%, while still maintaining a substantially larger audience of 93.8 million visitors.
The number of smartphone map users reached 38.2 million, an increase of 75% from the previous year and outpacing the total smartphone audience growth of 57%. Applications represented the primary access point for approx. two-thirds of smartphone map users (up 98%), while browser map access was about half as popular as apps and grew at half the rate.
comScore also reports that 88.9% accessed maps on their mobile devices from a car or other vehicle, with 16.9% doing so while walking, running or biking, and 13.6% while using public transit.
The most utilized types of maps were graphical maps with turn-by-turn directions (64.0% of mobile maps users), followed by 48.3% using a graphical map without turn-by-turn directions and 46.0% using turn-by-turn directions without a graphical map.