Have you ever been lost in an unfamiliar place? I remember that one time when I went to Barcelona and left the map on the kitchen counter. If it wasn't for my smartphone and a maps app I've downloaded the day before, I probably would not find my way around the city.
This is just one example of how technology can help us solve some problems. Maps apps have become an essential part of every modern smartphone. Coupled with built-in GPS, they make sure we travel safe and always reach our destination.
There are many great mapping apps on Android, which vary in price, functionality, and interface. Some, especially the ones backed by big companies like Google and Nokia, can be downloaded for free. Others ask you to pay a small fee for using them or access to high-quality maps.
We've reviewed the most popular maps and navigation apps for Android and cherry picked those that, in our opinion, provide the best experience. Enjoy!
Chances are this application is already installed on your phone. Google preloads it on all Android devices as a gift to users who want to use free turn-by-turn navigation and offline maps. Google Maps sports a beautiful interface that puts the app's functionality first.
As far as features are concerned, there is real-time traffic information, driving and walking directions, support for local transport services, and StreetView mode, which allows you to see both the outside and inside of select restaurants and museums.
Nokia is famous for their amazing maps and navigation applications. I've had the pleasure of driving with them a couple of times and they've never failed them. The Here application for Android offers the same quality and features. You can browse and download 3D maps of single areas or entire regions as well as browse recommendations and POIs around you.
There's also free turn-by-turn navigation with voice guidance, easy location sharing, and seamless data sync between all your devices.
CityMaps2Go is a free application that allows you to download offline maps of virtually the entire globe. Whether it's Paris or Tokyo, the app won't let you get lost in the city. It comes with a large POI base, built-in traveller's guide, and various recommendation features.
Selected as one of the best Android applications of 2014, MAPS.ME offers top-class offline map experience. It gives you access to free maps of 345 countries and islands, along with millions of POIs and data collected by users from all around the world. You can search for POIs and addresses, add favourite places to bookmarks, and get real-time driving directions.
OruxMaps cannot replace a GPS navigation while driving a car, but it may become very helpful for hiking or running. The app can be downloaded completely for free and has no apps or hidden microtransactions. Without paying anything, you can view online and offline maps (OruxMaps supports most popular formats) as well as save your route and share it with friends and family. You can also connect a GPS Bluetooth dongle or heart rate monitor to track your health.
This is one of the very few applications that support PDF maps. It comes with a built-in store, where you can buy and download professionally created maps for a wide variety of uses. All maps are saved offline, which means that you do not need Internet connection to view them. PDF Maps can also show your GPS position and display specialty routes that will come in handy while hiking in a national park.
Garmin viago is a powerful navigation application developer by one of the leading mapping companies. It offers a plethora of options and features that other free apps lack. Those include turn-by-turn navigation, built-in line assist, and access to millions of addresses and POIs anywhere in the world.
Additional features, like downloadable maps and real-time traffic information, can be added as in-app purchases.
Sygic is a well-known brand responsible for one of the best GPS navigation software on the market. Their Android application offers all features you'd expect from a professional mapping app, including turn-by-turn navigation, 3D view, traffic information, and free updates for maps and POIs.
AutoMapa is an extremely popular navigation application in Europe. It helps you reach the destination quickly and without any hassle. The app offers turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, real-time traffic information, line assistant, and intuitive interface design with drivers in mind. The only downside is the subscription-based pricing, which requires a monthly fee to unlock all features.
MapFactor is a free turn-by-turn GPS navigation application that uses OpenStreetMaps data. It can save maps on your SD card so you do not have to worry about connecting to the internet whilst driving or walking around a city. It comes with voice guidance, route planning, various map display modes, and access to a large POI database.
By popular demand, Waze has been added to the list. This wonderful little app collects data submitted by other drivers to tell you where traffic accidents are, giving you the ability to re-route before you're stuck in the long line of cars. Waze can also share your location with friends and co-workers in real-time as well as download meeting appointments from your Facebook or Google calendar. Other built-in features include voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation and map of the nearest gas stations.
If you recommend any other maps and navigation apps for Android, be sure to leave them in the comments below and we may add them to the post.