» The best GPS and map apps on android
Review & Guide App
views: 12 publish: July 20, 2016
Of all the apps out there in the Android world, GPS and navigations apps are arguably the most useful, as anyone who’s ever been lost will attest to. This is backed up by the sheer number of such apps that are available for Android, some great, some not so great. To find out which ones you can rely on, read on for our pick of the best Android GPS and navigation apps.
- 1 Google Maps
- 2 BackCountry Navigator TOPO GPS
- 3 HERE Maps
- 4 GPS Essentials
- 5 Waze – GPS, Maps & Traffic
- 6 MapFactor GPS Navigation Maps
- 7 MAPS.ME – Map & GPS Navigation
- 8 MapQuest GPS Navigation & Maps
- 9 Navmii GPS World (Navfree)
- 10 Polaris Navigation GPS
- 11 GPS Navigation & Maps Sygic
- 12 Scout GPS Navigation & Meet Up
- 13 CoPilot GPS – Navigation
- 14 OsmAnd Maps and Navigation
- 15 TomTom GPS Navigation Traffic
If you’re here thinking that Google Maps doesn’t let you use offline navigation, and therefore you need an alternative, well turn around. Google Maps recently added the ability to download areas of the map for offline use, and that includes for use with navigation.
For the Google Maps regular, this is a big and welcome addition. It all works just as it would online, except you don’t get updated traffic information. Just make sure to download the area you need before you leave home.
BackCountry Navigator is first on our list and if you’re a camper or hiker it’s one you should look at it. We looked at it briefly on our indie apps of the daysegment and liked what we saw. It’s pretty expensive but what you get is a number of offline topographical maps that is perfect for those places where there is no data service to download them. There are a few fun features like marking the map and maps from multiple countries. There is a trial version you can try first and it’s a great option for those who need maps for things like hiking and camping.
HERE lets you download maps of entire countries and use them almost exactly as you would online. You have to register to download maps, but once you’ve done that, you can download as many as you want, and it’s free to register, so you can’t complain that much.
The app is developed by Nokia and originates from those once lofty devices. It offers a different aesthetic to many other GPS and navigation apps, and some might prefer its ways. Certainly one to try out, as it is undoubtedly an excellent app.
GPS Essentials has an antiquated interface but it is still a pretty decent app. The app’s claim to fame is its dashboard that allows you to monitor all kinds of stats including your average speed, altitude, distance traveled, moon phase, ETA to destination, and a number of other stats. Another unique feature is a HUD that will show you your waypoints and we liked that a lot. It also comes with some of the standard navigation features which means you don’t have to change to other apps for directions. It appears to be designed for the outdoors rather than driving so if you’re one of those kind of people this is definitely worth checking out. It also comes with a few plugins to give it additional navigation features, but those do come with an extra charge.
Waze – GPS, Maps & Traffic
Waze is a free Navigation app that relies on its community for its traffic information, so it’s just as well that it’s one of the most popular apps of its kind on the Play Store. As a member of the Waze community, you can report accidents, police traps and road closures, which then get cross-referenced with other users’ input and broadcast for other users. It also has a very nice interface and a few other nifty features, such as showing you the cheapest gas stations en route, and a points-based system, where being an active member of the community sees you climb the Waze ranks.
MapFactor is one of your classic turn-by-turn navigation apps for those looking for a replacement to Google Maps. It downloads and installs the map files to your SD card so you can use it offline if you need to. It uses OffStreetMap data which has support for a lot of countries around the world with more being added every day. It’s not as polished as Google Maps but it has enough features to use it effectively and enjoyably. It’s also worth mentioning that map data and the app itself is totally free. You can also purchase TomTom GPS navigation maps for an additional charge if you prefer those.
Maps.Me was well worth the US$4.99 price tag it used to have on the Play Store, so imagine our delight when the app was made absolutely free. If you haven’t picked this one up already, we highly recommend it, because not only is it one of the best Android map apps available – with a clear and simple UI – but it also works offline and includes points of interest such as subway stations, ATMs, petrol stations, and so on.
MapQuest used to be one of the “go-to” direction websites on the internet many years ago. Unbelievably, the service still exists and it does have an Android app. It has the standard turn-by-turn features along with some unique ones like live traffic updates, automatic traffic re-routing, and a service to find cheaper gas stations on your route. It also has walking and driving directions in case you feel like hoofing it. It’s a solid offering overall and it’s a name people are familiar with.
The app formerly known as Navfree features offline search, voice navigation, and a neat interface that takes cues from Android (complete with the iconic hamburger menu). It integrates with Google Street View and Foursquare, and provides great-looking HD maps for more than 30 countries. It also includes community map reports, real-time traffic information, and OSM maps, which can be used offline.
Polaris Navigation tries to be the all-in-one map sources and in most cases it succeeds. Its biggest feature is that it has access to Google Maps, OpenStreetMaps, MapQuest maps, and Cycle Route Maps. So whatever source you want is the one you get. It also features multiple coordinate formats, trail recording, a unique waypoint management system, and your standard stuff like turn-by-turn directions. It’s rated fairly well on the Play Store and appears to be pretty stable.
Sygic is one of the most popular offline navigation apps on Android, and with good reason. The TomTom-powered app offers high-definition maps for most countries in the world, and recently received an update that brings it more in line with Android Lollipop (i.e. it’s easier to use than ever). It’s recently gone down the freemium route, offering many maps for free, but providing extra features such as live traffic information, regular updates and extra navigation voices at a price.
Scout GPS is actually an older GPS app with a fresh coat of paint. It used to be called TeleNav and it’s changed it’s name, icon, and appearance to give it a fresh look. It’s still a reliable and stable navigation app with all of the basic features, including turn-by-turn navigation. However, Scout GPS focuses more on people rather than navigation which gives it a unique flavor. It can do things like text people automatically with your ETA and alert you when other people need you. The location-based, social media element is actually kind of nifty and works well. Especially if you have a family to drive around. Those looking for hardcore navigation features may need to look elsewhere, though.
CoPilot GPS offers offline maps for pretty much the entire planet. Cleverly, CoPilot can sync with social network accounts like Facebook and Twitter, and set turn-by-turn directions to events you’re scheduled to attend. The first map is free (you can choose from a specialized list), and then CoPilot functions in license form. If you buy the premium version, you get 12 months traffic information for free, too.
This free version of OsmAnd offers everything you need for easy offline navigation. The app uses OSM data, and is updated regularly to take into account new roads, traffic lights, and so on. It’s a great app for hikers and cyclists too, with a special display mode showing bike routes, walking paths, and contours to indicate steepness.
The physical SatNav is all but dead, but the legendary TomTom lives on in Android form. The maps are updated for a lifetime, there are also multiple navigation options, all of which are available offline. A new version recently came out to make it better suited to Android Lollipop, and it offers real-time traffic information, 3D landmarks and buildings, and camera alerts. The paid versions are quite expensive, but offer detailed maps for all the regions in question. if you bought the old TomTom app, you can update it to the new one by following the instructions on TomTom’s support page.
If we missed any of the best GPS apps or navigation apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments!