Osmand: Bye Bye Nokia Maps – Bye Bye Google Maps

Osmand-1Due to Nokia's decision to back away from freedom and open source I was forced over the past year or so to rely on a two device strategy while traveling as there were two crucial applications missing for me on Android so far: A decent camera and offline maps + navigation functionality. While the camera issue has improved significantly in the past year I was still hanging on to Nokia Maps and its offline capabilities as Android's Google maps was just too expensive to use abroad and leaked too much of my location information to Google. But now, things have changed.

Open Street maps has come a long way over the years and Open Street Maps for Android (OSMAND) has developed beyond my wildest hopes and now offers car navigation on Android with downloadable maps that worked just great during my recent car trips between Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. Car navigation worked well, there's a lane assistant that even Google maps does not have and it's ultra configurable to show or hide many details one can be interested in or not. Finding and address is quick, the routes calculated are good, the lane assistant worked.

Osmand-2The only two major downsides I came across was that while it perfectly calculated a route between Austria and Germany it wouldn't come up with a route for my trip between the Czech Republic and Austria so I had to split that particular route in two parts. Also, while route calculation for short tips is quick, trips of several hundred kilometers take a bit to calculate, I estimate it to be in the order of 30 seconds. Nokia maps does better in this regard. Like Google maps, Osmand also stops navigating in tunnels when the GPS signal is not present. This is better in Nokia maps which continues to show the route based on a speed estimation. One thing neither Osmand nor Nokia maps in offline mode can do is to show the current traffic situation which is a strong point of Google maps. Having said this, I feel that those drawbacks are a small price to pay for getting an open source solution that doesn't transmit location information to some big web company.

The screenshots on the left show how Osmand looks in practice and I was more than happy to pay the six Euros for the full version to be able to download more than four maps for offline use. So while I had my old Nokia phone as a backup with me on my current trips I didn't use it a single time once I figured out how well Osmand works. From now on I guess it will remain in the cabinet.

Kudos to the OSM and Osmand team and all people contributing to the open maps, this is really incredible!

One thought on “Osmand: Bye Bye Nokia Maps – Bye Bye Google Maps”

  1. Thanks for the short “report” about an OSM App… i did not even try to check google play for it… Would be nice if it would have live traffic data some day… that would be one more use case for which we could ignore googles solution and go for the opensource one…

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