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The best free and open-source alternatives to Google Maps on Android

We have already lined the perfect open-source options to Gmail and Google Calendar, however there’s nonetheless loads of floor to cowl as we head into 2020. Now it is time to check out options to Google Maps — one thing that’s broadly considered being higher than each different mapping service.

I will not make you anticipate the conclusion: none of those provide the identical characteristic set you get with Google Maps. As unhappy as it’s, Google’s superior site visitors detection and point-of-interest knowledge are solely potential when you will have an set up base counting within the thousands and thousands. Nonetheless, if all it’s good to do is get from level A to B, different apps can do the job.

Why does open-source matter?

Free and open-source software program (FOSS) has an a variety of benefits, however to most individuals, the primary profit is privateness. All of the code is out within the open, so anybody with programming information can undergo it and see precisely what an app is doing. Proprietary apps can generally really feel like black containers, the place you do not actually know what is going on on behind the scenes. That is not often the case with FOSS.

I say ‘nearly,’ as a result of there’s technically nothing stopping open-source apps from spying on you, however that habits is extraordinarily uncommon. If a developer is doing one thing they don’t seem to be purported to be, like spying on customers or bundling malware, they most likely would not announce it to the world.

Many individuals merely desire open-source apps out of precept, in the identical manner that some individuals desire buying at locally-owned shops as an alternative of Walmart or Goal. These apps are sometimes created by people or small teams of their spare time, versus massive firms with earnings generated from promoting or enterprise capital.


OsmAnd is a well-liked mapping software accessible for Android and iOS, developed by the corporate of the identical identify within the Netherlands. Its mapping knowledge comes from OpenStreetMap, a collaborative Wikipedia-like undertaking to create maps of the world.

A lot of the core performance of Google Maps is current: turn-by-turn navigation with lane steerage, discovering factors of curiosity round you, sharing your location with others, discovering bicycle routes and mountaineering paths, and even pace restrict info. It could actually additionally show satellite tv for pc pictures from companies like Bing. There are a variety of settings and choices, so you possibly can customise OsmAnd to your liking.

Your expertise with OsmAnd will fluctuate enormously relying on how nicely OpenStreetMap has mapped your space. Most opinions of the app are optimistic (it is sitting at 4/5 stars on Google Play), however there are quite a lot of complaints of the navigation mode taking individuals by unusual paths.

OsmAnd additionally has a big concentrate on offline performance. Whenever you open the app for the primary time, it recommends you obtain your whole state/nation, much like the performance Google Maps added a number of years in the past. You may solely seek for areas in areas downloaded to your machine.

OsmAnd is on the market free of charge on the Play Retailer. There’s additionally an $11.99 paid model, which not solely helps assist improvement, but in addition removes the utmost restrict of seven offline maps.


Maps.me is one other standard mapping app, from the builders of… American Dad Apocalypse Quickly? Nicely, I wasn’t anticipating that, however you gotta pay the payments someway.

This app additionally makes use of OpenStreetMap knowledge, so it presents a really related expertise to OsmAnd, although with a simplified interface. When you save areas to your machine, you possibly can seek for areas, use turn-by-turn navigation, bookmark locations of curiosity, and extra. Maps.me has additionally partnered with Reserving.com, so you may make lodge bookings with out leaving the app.

The primary differentiating characteristic of Maps.me is that it presents curated journey guides for a whole lot of locations world wide. There are fairly a number of free guides, however the remainder would require a subscription of $32/12 months (or $13/month).

Maps.me can also be a bit excessive with regards to ads — there are complaints of push notification adverts within the Play Retailer opinions, and certainly, the Maps.me web site says firms can promote by banners, sponsored search outcomes, notifications, and “deep integration into the appliance.” Sadly, there isn’t any paid model of Maps.Me that eliminates the promoting.

Axet Maps

This app, merely referred to as “Maps,” is primarily developed by @axet on GitLab. It is a fork of Maps.Me with added monitor recording, a customized path for bookmarks (to be used with syncing functions), optionally available display screen locking, and no ads. I am often not a fan of forks the place one of many important intentions is to take away adverts from the unique undertaking (it is akin to reuploading another person’s YouTube video), however when the unique app is delivering adverts by push notifications and questionable integrations, it is most likely honest recreation.

There is a massive catch to Maps proper now: as of when this information was initially written (January 2020), the app can now not obtain up to date maps from OpenStreetMap. There’s a bug open for this, so hopefully it ought to be mounted quickly. The app would possibly already be mounted by the point you learn this.


About Corbin Davenport

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