8 of the 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.”

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.

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.

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.

PlatformsAndroid, 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.

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).

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, four 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.

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?

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.

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 May 2018.

24 comments

  1. MapQuest, like Google Maps, is available for the Web. Also like Google Maps, when asked for a “direct” route, it will use major highways rather than actual shortest direct routing even using secondary roads. You’ll eventually get where you’re going but necessarily by the shortest and/or quickest way.

    I did not know about Here and Waze. I’ll comapre their accuracy with Google Maps and MapQuest.

    • I compared Waze to google maps this weekend looking for a country address (in Australia) and everything was similar on both, until Waze lost internet connectivity and then was completely lost – G Maps seemed to know that it needed to download what it needed before going into a known dead zone. Unless there is a setting to anticipate such situations I can’t get excited by Waze for us in Australia.

  2. When I traveled to mainland China I discovered that Google Maps is blocked. Can you comment on whether any of the others can be used in mainland China? Also, can you comment on whether these applications support downloading an offline copy of a map so you can navigate without having a connection to the internet? Thanks

    • You should try using MapQuest, It has great offline navigation and it is said to work in China (haven’t personally tried, though).

    • I found Locus Map to be very useful, and it is possible to download map areas for offline use. I used this one because it has a tracking feature (ie. recording paths you take).

  3. Here has been on Nokia phones for ages, and thus on Windows phones too: So these should be added to the ‘compatability list’

    What makes Here a big contender is the fact it offers offline navigation: You can load the map of the entire country (or countries) you want to visit on your phone and not incur roaming charges (unless you enable the traffic updates of course, however these are only a few KB)

  4. in mainland china, you can use baidu map. it is a offline map. but i don’t know if it has an english version or not.

  5. I would recommend using OSMAnd on android phones/tablets. It uses downloaded maps in offline mode, but also has online option.

    The maps are based on OpenStreetMaps,, which are updated frequently by the users. As an example, it was the only map I could find when traveling in Iceland, which showed every place I was looking for. I was not able to find these locations under Google Maps, Microsoft/Bing maps or even Expedia.

    OSMAnd has turn-by-turn voice guidance navigation, in your chosen language, and many other features, like ‘where am I?’, topographic maps, tracking (GPX), etc.

    I warmly suggest that you give it a try. You may find it at Google Play, or read more info about it on their web site: http://osmand.net/

  6. The thing I most want in a map is distance and when I try to find how far it is from one place to another, I cannot find it.Perhaps and most likely it is my fault but I have a house in the country I’m going to rent and I cannot figure how far the place is from the nearest town.u7 UI

  7. I used to use Google Maps all the time, being the default, but as I wean myself off Google products and search for alternatives, I have found Here (We Go) Maps (https://www.here.com) to be a no-compromise new personal default. It does:
    car,
    public transport,
    car club (I don’t know what this is),
    taxi (I don’t know what this is),
    walking,
    cycling,
    Android app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.here.app.maps),
    iOS app (https://itunes.apple.com/app/id955837609?mt=8), and
    web browser (https://wego.here.com).

  8. you know… as much as I’m against Google’s growth in power. Google Maps wins hands down. I’m developing an app that relies on mapping functionality. The ease, simplicity, robustness, features, etc… are better than sex. IMHO. Again I’m not for Googles business decisions or it’s abilities to conquer the world. But they have done an excellent job with Google Maps and I have to give credit where credit is due.

    Abe

  9. Managing to find *seven* different mapping alternatives to Google while avoiding to mention the multiplatform, free and open source OpenStreetMap.
    I never would have thought it possible.
    (in fact, you mention OpenCycleMap, based on OSM, but still, such a silence is deafening!)
    Maketecheasier, I call this a significant bias.

  10. Just tries maps.me.
    Can even get a map to view att before I have to select lost of things like a catagory. FFS why?
    If you just want to see a map where you can acivate layers to see what’s available DONT USE THIS ONE

    • Maps.me looks like a very nice app except for one thing that is important to me. There is not obvious way of getting directions between two or more points.

  11. beta.map1.eu is amazing when it comes to details! With zoom from level 12 to 18 you can practically see all the hills and heights.

    • “beta.map1.eu is amazing”
      It may be but how do you find places if you do not know the Cyrillic alphabet?

  12. I was looking for an app for my roadtrip and I ended up using TravelMap (https://travelmap.net). They have paid options but the free tier was enough for my needs. It’s based on OpenStreetMap and it’s great to trace itineraries.
    I use it in combination with Maps.Me when I arrive in cities.

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