Nokia has added features to its mobile-mapping service, with a revamped interface and a status indicator to alert users when they're connected to a GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite.

The new version of Nokia Maps is free and became available for download yesterday. Other improvements include a more refined "nearby" search feature, which scouts out preprogrammed points of interest on the maps based on where the user is located.

Basic route planning is free, although users may incur data-transfer fees from their carriers. Other navigation upgrades are available for a fee. Nokia charges for a voice-guided navigation feature as well as other city and travel guides. Guides contain information on local cafes, music and clothing stores, museums and Wi-Fi hotspots, Nokia said.

Nokia is offering a three-day trial for some of the advanced navigation features.

Nokia said map data will be available for 150 countries by the end of 2007, with 50 of those able to use the application's navigation feature. Nokia has published a list of countries for which a navigation license is sold.

Also improved is the PC Map Loader application, which lets users load maps onto their devices from their home computers before needing a map on the road. That function is now 10 times faster. PC Map Loader is also a free download.

The mapping application, launched in February, is compatible with devices running on Symbian Series 60 second and third edition operating systems.