This is a tried and tested platform that works great, led by people who know their stuff and care deeply about the user. Please donate if you like it: https://github.com/organicmaps/organicmaps
Dont forget that most european state mapping projects get integrated into OSM and the data is often better than what Google has. Their only upside is all the tracking data so they know where people currently dont drive. Something open source apps (and most likely even commercial european ones) wouldnt dare to gather.
You'll be surprised. I cannot speak for Organic Maps, but I can speak for OSMand tested for years in Germany and Japan. Same OSM data at the end of the day. Even today, OSMand distinguishes better between building blocks. I see subdivisions of address numbers, which Google Maps hides with it's minimalist grey for the whole apartment block design.
Further more, I often see small walkways and paths simply not represented in Google Maps, whereas they are in Google Maps. And for some reason, here in Japan Google Maps often suggests too-clever for its own good detours, which end up being way slower, whereas OSMand with it's simpler(?) navigation algorithm sticks to more consistent routes along bigger roads.
If address and POI search could be further improved, I wouldn't see a reason to use Google Maps ever again.
What I miss in Organic Maps compared to OSMAnd is being able to choose a category of POIs which are then shown even when zoomed further out - useful if you are looking for e.g. restaurants nearby.
For some data in some part parts of the world. In rural (and even suburban) Sweden for example half the buildings are missing, many roads aren't named and search is straight up broken. What it will give you over Google is that every hiking trail and bike path is included.
For my part this works well enough on OSMand/Organic maps but what they lack is traffic information.
On my main route there can be anywhere from 0 to 1h of traffic, and Google maps seems to be very accurate at estimating it.
Anytime I don't need traffic info, I use another map application because Google maps had all kinds of errors and missing information, but no other app has reliable traffic information (I realise Google has it because people use Google maps, but I wish it was different).
Organic maps has large labels, building numbers, a lot of relevant details visible, I can immedeately find the area I am interested in, see all possible routes, find addresses by sight etc.
It does not matter how much information google has, if it does not show you anything at all.
Technical capabilities. But not incentives, and not even capabilities without the qualifier "technical", for the simple reason that they as companies can't decide to not do the evil or stupid thing for the sake of not doing an evil or stupid thing, only ever for other reasons. The bright people at Google or Apple can't decide "fuck it, let's just do something that's actually good instead of what middle management and fucking marketing thinks is software". They do not have that option, any rando is more free (though not necessarily capable) to make something great than anyone at any of these large "players". OSS can turn bad and be run into the ground too, of course, but not necessarily, while these giants pump out crap because there is no way they couldn't.
See image at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Google
(but it uses approximately no OSM data)
OSM-based apps are much better for "I'm in a middle of nowhere and want to understand the detailed topography of the place, and see what's available in the village".
Since COVID, these hours could have been hallucinated up by ChatGPT and be more accurate, at least in Europe.
It's not the most complete data but it's by far the fastest mapping app when using offline data. Most intuitive point and click routing. Elevation data. Ability to load GPX/KML if you hike. And it will blow your mind how much is contained in the offline data: wikipedia articles, open/close times, etc
Campgrounds were even worse... In Jasper about 90% of the camp trails were on OSM, Google had none. And I took the opportunity to add the rest because OSM is editable by anyone. Google's "ground truth" effort is an abject failure.
For hiking, OSM data and by that OsmAnd and Organic Maps are just massively better and have more paths, with an better interface and visualization, which also works perfect offline.
For cars and routing, and finding special shops sure google is bettwr - on the other hand here I am on a tourist island and Google marking certain roads blocked though they are not (and by that, making more cars turn early, so this is a positive feedback loop? Thought by just driving the road multiple times I could fix that, but not that easily :D)
Apple does, Google doesn't!
All the business and places (so you don't have to remember the exact address for a place, just enter the name), schedules, traffic, temporary route changes (like road workers, accidents or the like...). That conveniences are great.
OTOH, in OSM you have all the metadata accessible and free. Trash bin locations, type of roads, traffic lights, tactile floor for blind people, number of steps on a stair, type of buildings...
But where I use OSM the most (almost always) is out of the city. For hiking, bicycle routes, out in the field...
Google Maps exists as a place to show ads.
Organic Maps exists to be a map app.
Apple Maps doesn't even support bike directions. I live in Copenhagen, therefore making Apple Maps pretty useless. It's a classic Silicon Valley app made for the tech boomers in charge at Apple who presumably drive everywhere in electric cars.
Google Maps is better at bike directions, but when I use it for public transportation it's now trying to sell me on routes where I need to rent an e-scooter instead. I only use public transportation (as opposed to riding a bike) when I need to bring our baby somewhere with me. Since there is no way to turn this "feature" off, the directions are often useless to me. I now use a Danish app for all public transportation directions.
Just about the only thing Google Maps is clearly better at is satellite images and open/close times for shops.
I fully believe that OSM apps already beat it for specific use cases (e.g. Organic Maps for tourism, OSMAnd for cycling & hiking, etc.), and I don't think that being small & open source is a real limit even for an all-purpose maps app, as long as the big players like easy money more than providing features & value to the user, and don't feal threatened by any of the alternatives.
TL;DR: it's good for competition and Google Maps isn't really that good, as long as it's enough to still make loads of money.
Pretty sure Google doesn't use OSM
However, one thing I don't understand is why they don't make the history show the things you actually routed to alongside the things you searched for? Sometimes you search and have to scroll a bit to see the actual result or you searched multiple times and it's a little confusing which one to click if you don't remember what worked.
I guess I'll dig around github and see if I can find an answer.
op is author of the linked blog post, not the app
seems well done
Still, as someone who has contributed tens of thousands of edits to OpenStreetMap, uploaded hundreds of GPS traces, donates to Organic Maps, and compiles the Organic Maps Android application from git master a few times a week, I constantly find myself wondering when it will finally be good enough that I won't second guess it.
This is true of any software developer. Something that looks great from the outside can be really nasty under the hood. It's easy to bias your view of your work based on the tiny flaws you see in it, but the average user wouldn't see those faults.
Since it appears like none of the big maps apps seem to be interested in this feature I’ve sometimes wondered if it could be done by contributing to something like organic maps. I’ve found some academic projects about doing code-switching tts like that, but nothing built into an actual product. If anyone has any thoughts on that it would be interesting to hear.
Doesn't work for Apple Maps unfortunately, which has a nice voice but is dependent on the Siri voice setting, which I prefer to be in English.
Don’t the voices for different languages sound quite different so it’s a more jarring transition when a location is being spoken? Or is it not that noticeable?
I tried putting in "46/8B/29 Xô Viết Nghệ Tĩnh" and it directs me to some place 132km away even though it is actually a few hundred meters from my current location.
With Google Maps, it will let you see the specific walking directions to the origin train station and how long it takes, it will tell you the line and direction to take, how long that train journey will take, which stops are between the two stations you are travelling between, which exit to leave the destination train station at, and walking directions to my destination once I leave the train station. It will also let me put in what time I want to arrive and work backwards to figure out what time I need to leave, taking the train schedules into account.
It’s great that there is an open source option available, but it has a long, long way to go before it’s a good choice.
Half the results were in different cities.
The results for my city (Ho Chi Minh City) are for totally different roads. For instance "Hem 46 Vo Van Tan" is listed as a result, as is "Hẻm 46 Trần Quang Diệu". Also notice that one has correct diacritics and one doesn't, which gives the whole thing a weird amateurish vibe.
I know this is probably the fault on OSM data and not the app itself. But OSM sucks and anything built on it will suck.
In the last few years, Apple Maps was just as good/bad in VN, so I switched to it.
There are people on here that don't live in the US, and it's sometimes exhausting to have to add these suffixes in your head by default. You always have to assume that, if the author doesn't specify, they're talking about the US, whereas most of the world doesn't actually live in the US.
In the meantime, OSM is open source. If you are particularly concerned about non-US performance, perhaps the problem is not with blog authors but with OSS contributions to OSM outside the US?
Nobody here demands that an OSS project works well in every part of the world. What is being criticized here is the US-centric view of the article author, and the original comment merely noted that you can't make a general assumption of suckiness based on one location.
Again, the problem isn't with the app. It's with the way the article assumes everyone reading this lives somewhere where the app doesn't suck.
i guess fuzzy-matching locations and sorting by distance is hard
I have been successfully using it for over four months now for both car an bike navigation.
(I’ve never installed Flatpak before, but installed it just briefly to see what it would say, and it seems to want to download one gigabyte to install this—mostly KDE stuff—which is presumably compressed so that it’ll take even more disk space afterwards. Note that I think I might be overestimating its figure by up to about 350MB, as org.kde.Platform.Locale is “< 355.1 MB (partial)”, so maybe it only downloads the locale you’re using. Either way, my disk is close enough to full at present that I can’t really afford this stuff, even if I didn’t find things like Flatpak and Snap distasteful.)
The benefits are that, you don’t need to be on a specific version of anything to make this work properly.
For what it’s worth, flatpaks do share dependencies as much as possible. So that inflated size isn’t going to be replicated for each application.
Also, flatpak _is_ a proper distribution. It doesn’t really do anything fancy other than isolate the dependencies from other tools on your system.
Flatpak doesn't solve the dependency problem, it just kicks the can down the road.
We need better tools to package and deploy apps that's language and system agnostic, and an easy to use extension system to accommodate this.
Nix is the first package manager that actually gives a proper solution, and it is just much much better and has no space overhead either.
Organic Maps: quick, minimalistic UI, can display but not navigate along GPX tracks. Lighter on battery. I use it like I would use paper map when hiking.
While I haven't extensively used OrganicMaps, I found its search functionality to behave much better.
Such help is really welcome!
If you are on Android then I recommend StreetComplete which asks questions and edits OSM based on answers (disclaimer: I wrote parts of it)
(Organic Maps has some limited editing capability, but for example you will not change road geometry or add forest area with it)
Right now, osmand on my phone is virtually unusable.
I slow down, and as if I were stepping on egg shells, I still try to use osmand because of its wikivoyage and Wikipedia integration. But seriously, not caching off-screen rendered vector tiles make it feel like an app from the 90s. It's feature-full, but redraws on each user interaction. :-(
Organic maps is super fast, in comparison. Their open communication on Telegram makes the project look even more sexy.
Loading and rendering those vectors on a 6 year old phone though, woof. I still miss the OSMAnd features though: tracking my rides, altitude/speed/gravel metrics.
I also live in a very densely mapped area, which definitely affects rendering performance. Very remote places / not well mapped areas (South America, Laos, Eastern-Europe) render somewhat better, but nothing comparable to Organic maps or StreetComplete
The road was added three months - apparently based on "updated satellite imagery" - but poorly tagged. It was then edited 9 days ago to improve the tagging.
Perhaps the more recent edit was from Organic Maps so that their router handles the tags appropriately?
Looking at this area on Google streetview (from June 2023), I can't see anything that looks like a service road:
I wonder why Organic Maps would take the U-turn rather than the more obvious ramp. Perhaps it is to avoid the toll gate?
Also, regarding this:
> it can take a few weeks for an OpenStreetMap update to get pushed out
OpenStreetMap updates within a day or two, but Organic Maps' own ingest process might have a lower frequency.
So not useful for that purpose.
OSMand both has the "shortcut" and knows about the ferry.
Unfortunately most bike routing apps will always prefer bike path even if it is just 100m along the main road where you need to go of the road and then return.
In this case there was no reason at all to take the major roads. Many parallel options existed.
You can probably navigate fairly well off of major roads maps that are publicly available for long trips, but the last mile local roads and short distances are paradoxically the major challenge.
When I want to be able to zoom into any and all of my bookmarks, I have to keep the map data of all countries I've ever been visiting. Thats tens and tens of GB of data on a mobile phone.
And everytime there are maps updates I have to redownload all of it. Tens and tens of GB of data.
When you're traveling and forgot to DL everythibg beforehand and have to use some WIFI hotspot you might not be able to get your maps downloaded. Happened to me multiple times.
So, my feature request:
- smaller maps data
- incremental updates
- online maps
...oh and better search of course. ;)
you get better maps than with gog/apl but have a slightly "different" ux
I mainly use it for offline access to hiking trails and it has been great for that.