These map apps for Android and iOS will help you avoid road closures, navigate without an internet connection and master complex public transport systems. Google Maps is an excellent mapping service, and one so familiar that you will likely turn to it first. More than a billion people use this app every month.
It’s great for exploring your future apartment’s neighbourhood or adding driving directions to your website However, Google’s reputation for handling data leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re privacy-conscious, you should try and find Google Maps alternatives ASAP.
There are many more navigation apps to choose from if you feel Google Maps isn’t working for you. Here are the 18 best Google Maps alternatives that respect your privacy.
Scout GPS Link was made to work well with display screens in cars, so you can easily connect to the app via Bluetooth and see your directions without having to look at your phone. The app provides 3D and 2D maps, shows where you can find amenities, saves recent locations, and more.
If you would rather use it on your phone, you can do that as well.
- Provides multiple route options.
- Traffic and safety camera alerts.
- Made to work with a car display.
- Outdated UI.
- Pedestrian mode can be buggy.
- Ads in database.
2. BackCountry Navigator
Found yourself in the middle of Lord Knows Where, perhaps on a mountainside or in a dense forest in the Canadian wilderness? Google Maps won’t be much help because it doesn’t detail the topography of land like BackCountry does. Designed with hikers and outdoorsy types in mind, this map uses GPS waypoints and allows you to do such manual things like enter the longitude/latitude coordinates of your location.
It’s a crucial companion when you’re out in nature, relying on highly thorough topography maps from various established sources like USTopo, OpenCycleMaps, and even nautical maps from the NOAA RNC.
3. Rand McNally
One of the most well-known names in the mapping world is Rand McNally, the publisher of traditional map books.
Not to be left behind in the dust in the digital age, the company offers Rand McNally online maps. Using the Rand McNally online map website is simple. Just type your origin and destination and click Get Directions to see the route.
Just like their paper maps, the online Rand McNally maps are detailed. You’ll spot even the smallest bodies of water and even obscure walking trails. The map tool itself doesn’t have the sort of transit and walking layers other online mapping tools have; it does have an impressive satellite view to see the contour of the land.
You won’t find a companion Rand McNally mobile app, but the online site is an excellent choice for planning your routes to any destination.
How Rand McNally is better than Google Maps:
- More detailed than any other mapping service.
- Quickly save locations to your own library.
- The zoom tool is fast and simple to use.
- Impressive and useful satellite view.
At a glance: find, share and save precise locations using a unique code made up of three words. What should you do if you’re stuck in a remote location and need to direct a rescue team? If there are no roads or landmarks nearby, this is tricky.
One option is to share GPS co-ordinates, but these would be a nightmare to read out over the phone.
Another option is an app called what3words. The idea is simple: the entire map of the world is divided up into tiny squares, and each square has a unique name made up of three ordinary words. So instead of having to laboriously give your location as ‘10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA’, you can simply say that you’re at ‘slurs.this.shark’.
So while it does collect personal data (not good), it doesn’t share that data with third parties (good). Navmii is also one of the only navigation apps that provide additional equipment. With connected car integration, you can combine the touch-screen device of your choice into your dashboard.
If you don’t want to do that, you can also download the app for mobile navigation.
This will remove the need for a continuous internet connection. It also provides a driver behavior analysis if you fancy your phone commenting on your driving. With its own unique features, Navmii is a bit more than your other online map tool.
It is a web mapping interface that provides commercial and personal support without sharing your data with unwanted sources.
- Suited for both personal and commercial use
- Enables developer support through software development kits (SDKs)
- Provides detailed maps suitable for semi-truck movement or commercial vehicles
- App available on Google Play or Apple App Store
- Great if you want dedicated navigation tools
OsmAnd is a navigation tool that offers both online and offline functionality.
It uses the OpenStreetMap database, which allows them to provide extremely accurate live traffic updates. The app is also packed with various features that aim to improve user experience, including different tools that change the look of maps, dark mode, and even Wikipedia integration.
The latter can be a nice addition to a long boring road trip since it provides fascinating highlights about your location throughout the trip.
If you like to have most of your maps saved offline, Sygic is a great app for this.
It allows you to search for offline maps and download them to your phone, so you don’t have to worry if you get stuck without service.
You can also use offline maps whether or not you have a Premium membership. Another great feature Sygic has is 3D real view maps, so it’s much easier to understand where you are and where you need to go in relation to what’s around you.
- Download maps to use offline.
- 3D maps available.
- Premium membership required for many features.
- No voice controls.
- POI icons detract from map view.
8. Bing Maps
Did you know that Bing Maps is just as old as Google? Yep, the Microsoft-owned map service was originally known as MapPoint before taking on its more catchy name.
It’s packed with plenty of features, including a traffic overlay and 3D views. For you more traditional mappers out there, or people working in town planning, it has the full ordnance survey map of the UK, too. Bing tends to pick different routes from Google, and when you compare them, Google usually comes out on top when it comes to journey planning.
But if you’re looking for neat extra features, like 3D views and OS maps, as well as its own comprehensive answer to Street View, then Bing’s worth a pop.
While other mapping services only have a website but no mobile app, Maps.me is the opposite. This is a mobile-only service without any companion website.
However, it’s also one of the few mapping apps that let you navigate anywhere offline. It’s a perfect way to save on your mobile data plan by downloading apps while you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi network and using those maps when you’re mobile.
It also doesn’t use a whole lot of storage. You can download general maps of the entire United States of America, consuming only 21 MB of your phone’s storage. You will need to download more detailed maps when you plan more specific routes.
How Maps.me is better than Google Maps:
- Download free travel guides for your destinations.
- Includes traffic and subway layers (subway layers don’t work with other online mapping apps).
- Bookmark and store locations in the cloud.
- Discover nearby businesses and attractions.
At a glance: a smartphone game that plonks you in a random part of the world and asks you to guess where you are. GeoGuessr isn’t a navigation app – instead, it’s an addictive guessing game available both as an app and on the web As a player, you’re virtually parachuted into a random location from Google Street View, and your goal is to guess where you are by placing a pin on a map.
It’s fiendishly addictive, as the more you play the more you discover the subtle differences between places to narrow your guesses down.
Play enough and you’ll tell the difference between Turkish and Greek number plates, and the trees that differentiate Canada from Norway.
11. Apple Maps
Among the big three – Apple, Google, and Microsoft (Bing Maps): that means Apple is the best company with your data.
It only collects randomly associated identifiers that are regularly reset, ensuring little chance of tracing. You can also download maps using Apple, making it on par with Google when it comes to accessibility. However, you’ll still find the features aren’t any better than old-fashioned Google Maps.
- Doesn’t share your data
- Offers simple navigation
- Allows you to download map data offline
- Mobile app is exclusive to iOS
- Offers weak map features compared to other map tools
OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of apps—it’s built by the people who use it and all the information is open data, meaning anyone can reuse the maps for anything.
It’s kept up to date by people using GPS devices, aerial photography, and other free sources of information.
If you go somewhere and the map isn’t correct, then you can create an account and suggest changes. There aren’t many fancy features, but it’ll give you directions (via car, bike, or foot) and is run by a nonprofit organization.
There are, however, third-party apps that use its data. These tend to come with trade-offs. Maps.Me has downloadable maps that can be used offline, but also has adverts.
Citymapper is a truly unique app on this list.
Unlike Google Maps, this app is built to show you routes and directions exclusively for traveling via public transport. Citymapper has an up-to-date database with all of the public transport routes that will help you navigate your way through the city and never miss a bus again.
Among other useful features is the ticket price information, as well the ability to save your favourite locations.
- Provides info for many major cities.
- Shows easiest route.
- Updates with issues in local public transportation.
- Some cities unavailable.
- Doesn’t provide nearby restaurants.
- Routes not based on current conditions.
If you are using navigational tools while driving larger vehicles, like RVs or trucks, you may notice that the routes most apps give you aren’t the best for your situation.
CoPilot fixes this issue, giving you the best routes no matter what kind of vehicle you drive. You can also download your maps to use offline whenever you need to, and you can plan your trips by adding multiple stops along the way to your destination.
These features make CoPilot especially great for long road trips.
- Routes can be optimized for different vehicles.
- Real-time traffic updates.
- Maps can be downloaded and used offline.
- Lengthy setup.
- POI search somewhat lacking.
- Navigation errors.
15. Here WeGo
This navigation service may not be quite as well known or popular as Google Maps or MapQuest, but it has its own unique features.
The Here WeGo mobile app is well known, but there’s also a website worth using if you want to take some time before you head out to plan out your trip. The online map interface is clean and simple but filled with great features like many route options like transit, taxi, or even car-sharing routes.
There are also just as many layers like Google Maps, including transit, traffic, satellite, and terrain. You won’t find advanced route planning or any extra bells and whistles that you may find with Waze or MapQuest, but that’s because the crown jewel of Here WeGo is the mobile app, and that’s where you should be using it the most.
It’s simple to use. With just a couple of taps, you can switch to satellite, transit, traffic, or classic view.
When you first open the app, you can set your home location. After that, type your destination and launch the navigation tool to start driving. The website and the app are perfect for minimalists who don’t want many distractions from their navigation app. With the app, you just set your destination and go. That’s it.
How Here WeGo is better than Google Maps:
- Must faster to plot a route and start navigating.
- Fewer distractions in navigation mode.
- Large, easy-to-follow mobile navigation screen.
MapQuest has been around for about as long as Google Maps has.
It offers both a web-based tool as well as a mobile app. With a MapQuest account, you can sink all of your navigation plans between the web and your phone. MapQuest works much like Google Maps does when it comes to searching for locations and finding directions.
It’ll recognize your current location based on your IP address (if using the web) or your phone GPS (if using mobile). Just type in a location and click Get Directions to see the route. Route directions are very accurate and include current traffic levels, distance, and even estimated fuel costs to make the drive.
A hovering tool along the right provides you with zoom controls, satellite or traffic views, and share or print buttons. The MapQuest mobile app actually has more features than the web-based tool. It offers more one-button location finding options like hospitals, parking, post office, schools, and more.
It also displays the current temperature at your location.
How MapQuest is better than Google Maps:
- Directions include estimated fuel costs.
- Re-routing the planned trip path is more user-friendly.
- One-button tool for finding gas stations, grocery stores, coffee shops, shopping areas, food, and hotels.
- An integrated tool for quickly finding hotels and making reservations.
Waze is a free app that uses reports from other drivers to warn you about traffic, police and hazards. While Google Maps relies on official data from transport agencies, it has a scrappier younger sibling called Waze.
Designed with drivers in mind, this free Google Maps alternative relies on crowdsourcing for identifying traffic jams, road closures and other problems. According to people who use it, this makes it quicker than Google, because a jam might not be immediately spotted by officials.
Waze is also more customisable. if you’ve ever fancied being given directions by Morgan Freeman or Jeremy Clarkson, you can download their special celebrity voice packs to change the voice to use their familiar tones instead. Other Waze features include built-in support for your music and podcast apps (so you don’t need to exit the app to control your audio), plus live speed limit information.
18. Pocket Earth
This iOS-only map app uses the popular OpenStreetMap data to give you up-to-date navigation all around the world.
Crucially, you can download maps for offline use, and it has great organizational tools such as pins, which can be categorized into groups. There are plenty of layers and some extra info you can add to Pocket Earth, and you’re given a lot of flexibility about what level of detail is shown on your maps.
A real bonus here is the Wikipedia layer which links to the online encyclopedia for various points of interest on your map. The basic version is free, but for £4.99, you get topographical maps as well as improved offline functionality and other features.
- Highly customizable.
- Detailed trips and map plotting.
- Offline and off-road maps available.
- Learning curve.
- Limited support.
- Not available for Android.
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best Google Maps Alternatives.
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