The 9 Best Google Maps Alternatives You Should Try

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Google Maps is good. Let’s just get that out of the way first. Google’s ever-updating, ever-improving navigation is popular and robust enough to have more or less brought on the death of the paper map, and it feels like it’s getting more and more accessible by the day.

But there are still reasons why you wouldn’t want to, or can’t, use Google Maps. Some countries, like China, run a pretty tight ship when it comes to regulation, making Google Maps over there as good as useless, or maybe you just don’t want Google algorithms profiting off your data. Whatever your reasons, we won’t pry, and instead treat you to the best map apps that aren’t prefaced with “Google.”

1. OsmAnd

Platforms: Android, iOS

One of the best features of this robust open-source navigation app is the presence of offline maps, which ensures that wherever you are in the world – no matter your signal – you’ll be able to find your way. The maps are very nicely detailed, recalling the aesthetic of Ordnance Survey maps, and frequent updates mean you’re never out of date.

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You can really break down what you see on your map, too – from things like toll roads and street lighting to more specific variables like road surface and road quality. You can select roads to avoid and multiple stops, and everything is super-responsive once you’re on the road. The UI isn’t gorgeous, but it’s highly customizable, letting you fine-tune which elements take priority during navigation.

2. Citymapper

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web

Citymapper is more narrow in its scope than Google Maps but does its sole job better than any app out there. Namely, it’s a public transport app, showing you how to get around tens of the world’s top cities using bus, tram, subway and other forms of public transit.

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The app keeps an up-to-date database of all public transit routes in its supported cities, showing prices and alerts, and letting you keep a list of your favorite locations to travel to.

3. Maps.me

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web

Now this is a nice one. Maps.me has all the necessities you’d want from a map app – traffic info, public transport, cycling navigation, you name it. Unlike many other map apps, however, it also has that Google Maps perk of letting you download maps to use offline – handy when traversing foreign cities or if you find yourself Internet-less.

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It’s good for all kinds of scenarios. If you’re exploring a city, it shows all the important points of interests and things to see, while hikers in the wilderness also benefit, as it has a regularly updated database of hiking trails all around the world. Once you’ve planned your trip or hike, you can bookmark it and send it to a friend, too.

The Web-based version is excellent, too, letting you pick from dozens of categories, then set up filters to find exactly what you’re looking for.

4. Bing Maps

Platforms: Web

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 ordinance survey map of the UK, too.

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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.

5. Here WeGo

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web

If a consortium of BMW, Audi and Mercedes were willing to cough up $3 billion to Nokia for this app, there must be something good about it, right? It supports over 200 countries and provides all basic features like navigation, places to visit and detailed routes, as well as giving you up-to-date info and prices on all the public transport links around your area, calculating them for you.

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Here WeGo offers current route conditions using different information like police reports, cameras, Twitter feeds, construction sites, speed cameras and other data to keep you informed and provide a faster route if required. Its offline maps support is also amazing with the ability to archive a whole continent and get step-by-step navigation even while offline.

6. BackCountry Navigator

Platforms: Android

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 the land like BackCountry does.

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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 detailed topography maps from various established sources like USTopo, OpenCycleMaps, and even nautical maps from the NOAA RNC (should you get shipwrecked or something).

7. Waze

Platforms: Android, iOS, Web

Waze is a community-driven map service that is fast to navigate and very intuitive. Its highly interactive system, which lets you warn other drivers of changes in traffic, speedcams, hazards and so on on the roads, proved so popular, that Google bought the company in 2013. It’s telling that, six years on, Waze continues to exist as a separate entity from Google Maps.

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You can get information about the cheapest gas stations near you, under-constructions sites, accidents, speed cameras, police and other information that is updated by millions of other Waze users. You can even track other Waze users’ and your friends’ locations in real time. Bear in mind that it’s designed more for drivers than pedestrians looking to get around a city.

8. Navmii

PlatformsAndroid, iOS

Navmii is a feature-rich maps and navigation service that is serving over eighty-five countries. It offers all the basic features such as turn-by-turn navigation, bookmarking, nearest locations, and search and satellite views.

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It provides alerts like speed limits, traffic, speed cameras, construction sites, slow-downs and much more. All this gets even better with community-driven updates from other Navmii users. Navmii also partners with Foursquare, TripAdvisor and What3Words to provide customized searches.

Its other features include Google Street View, ETA indicator, Automatic rerouting, HD maps, and full offline navigation support, though my favorite has to be the Driver Scoring which rates your driving based on the movement and GPS sensors in your phone! You’re interested now, right?

9. MapQuest

PlatformsAndroid, iOS

MapQuest is another great Google Maps alternative, especially if you use public transportation for commuting. It will let you compare local transportation services for your route like Uber or car2go and also book cars right from the app. It also provides quick updates about all local transportation options near you. If you like walking to different places, it will show you how many calories you will burn, too, which is a nice perk!

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Its advanced features include automatic re-routing, real-time traffic conditions, ETA, the ability to detect cameras/accidents/construction sites/slow-downs, location-sharing, weather reports and roadside assistance. It also has some basic features of Google Maps like turn-by-turn navigation, bookmarking, best route, satellite view, nearby locations to visit, etc.

Conclusion

Most of the above-mentioned apps focus on providing the most up-to-date information about your local area, perhaps even better than the great G-Maps itself. What do you think? If you’ve tried any of these (and others) and have some experiences to report – good or bad – let us know!

This article was first published in December 2015 and was last updated in June 2019.

13 comments

  1. No mention Of OpenStreeMap. No mention of any applications for a Linux OS. Article not general enough.

    1. OSMAnd is Open Street Map maps. Every application that is “Web” is usable on Linux.

  2. Rome2Rio is pretty good for journey planning, whether by car or wanting to use public transport. I’ve used it for a number of years.

  3. Apple Maps

  4. Waze performance worsening – doesn’t update for alternate, faster routes anymore. 25 minutes added to commute and didn’t provide alternate route.

    1. Could it be that the now-parent “Big Brother” is gradually degrading the product after siphoning off the better features into the main platform so that you’ll abandon it and come crying back to “mommy”? Hmmm…

  5. “3. Maps.me”
    Cannot be used in a browser. Try as I might, I could not find the option for directions between two points.

    “5. Here WeGo”
    uBlockOrigin claims the site is full of malvertising.

    “9. MapQuest”
    Mapquest can be used on the web. I use it all the time.

  6. I browse on Palemoon yes no Chrome.
    I use Outlook yes no Gmail.
    I use DuckDuckGo yes no Google search engine.

    But I wouldn’t want to trade Google Map.s It’s so convenient and full of detail. Nothing comes close.

  7. I disagree with your assessment of MapQuest. It used to be a pretty decent site, but now it has too many ads to be useful.

  8. I was told that cities, subdivisions, neighborhoods, and others pay Google to route directions away from certain streets and force directions onto thoroughfares or other routes. This finally explains why Google Maps often routes not the quickest or shortest way, which is often obvious. I just didn’t know when until recently. I have abandoned Google Maps and won’t use Waze either for likely the same payoff reasons.

    1. I recently took a trip to Logan Airport to pick up someone in the middle of the night. Waze wanted me to get off the highway and take surface roads. I ignored that and saved 15 MINUTES off my estimated arrival time. It’s not the first time Waze wanted me to get off the highway.

      A few days later I read that Waze sometimes deliberately tells you to take a route that is not optimal because it wants to time you to see how long it will take. I’m officially out on Waze.

  9. Still no maps that show dirt tracks from a zoom out position. Living in the Australian country , thousands of miles of minor dirt roads are like highways to us and you can only see them when zoomed right in. Which means the roads are recognised, but just not highlighted to see in a usable fashion. If there is a less city-centric interactive map app out there would love to know. Gas stations? Traffic lights? Public transport? What are they?

  10. I use here wego both in Canada and the US. Once you get the map of the area you are in you can navigate off line with step by step instructions verbally. This saves a ton of Data while getting great directions. Overall an excellent free ap

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