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Review of Free Offline Map / GPS software

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by ogami_ito, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. ogami_ito

    ogami_ito Newbie
    Thread Starter


    I live in China and so don't have 3G. Also I don't like to wait for maps to load and I don't like to pay data charges. So I started looking at off-line map programs. These programs which I review here all have the ability to download and cache maps. I'm not looking at apps which are primarily meant for outdoor activities and download customized maps. I'm using a Galaxy S

    1. MapsDroyd. Nice that this program has vector graphics instead of raster maps. That means it could use offline navigation, and the map files are smaller because its a vector graph instead of thousands of map tiles. However, this is useless to me because the level of detail of China maps is just not usable. It has not points of interest. This does has rotating maps. I would consider using this if I lived in an area which had map data, and I just wanted a simple map program. BTW, it evidently does get position from cell tower as well as GPS

    2. gvsigmini. Downloads and caches maps from many sources. Has a lot of features, including sharing, directions, weather, others. In my opinion, this app is sometimes slow. The on-screen features activate with a long press, which activates when I don't want it to. Actually that may be because I openned a lot of apps while testing. If this is the only one running, its quick enough. One thing about this program is that you can tell it to download all tiles within a given area- bulk pre-caching. . In general, tt works pretty well, but not perfect. Also wish it would share maps through the service that it uses (ie. if I'm using a Google map layer and I want to share it, then share through google). BTW, it evidently does get position from cell tower as well as GPS

    3. Maps(-) . It caches (and can bulk pre-cache a large area) from Google maps and open street map. nothing else. No search. I thinkg it does get position from cell tower. So... simple, quicker, low features... but it works.

    4. Maverick. Does what the above programs do: caches maps from a variety of sources, including bing, google, and open street map (which I don't have in China). This program also has track recording, which is cool. Has search. It appears need a trackball to use some features. Somethings I don't like: name of the program reminds me of Sarah Palin talking about John McCain. Which turns me off. There is something about the UI I don't really like, like the cartoonish icons. But overall, this is a usefull program. It also has a compass. No bulk pre-caching

    5. Locus: Promising. But right now broken. Does not get position from Cell Tower. Somehow keeps defaulting to Prague.

    6. Rmaps. Very similar to Map(-) above, but with much more map selections.POI does not seem to work. Has track recording features. POI seems broken. I think this is a good program, although it feels a little bare-bones in the UI department. Connects to cell tower for location.

    7. Mulit-Map. Very nice mass pre-cache function. Clean UI. Does not do much else though. No search.

    So which would I use? I think I can eliminate for my needs multi-map, Locus, and Mapdroid. The rest I need to play with some more to see which I like better.

    Edit: Just in. ravisghosh turned me on to Brut Google Map. You can find this with a Google search and the original thread is in XDA forums. I don't know if its OK to link to the thread here, because Brut Google Map is a hack. It is Google Maps. But with caching on the SD card supported. I'm pretty sure this violates Google's TOS. For that matter, so do most of the above programs except MapDroid, which uses Open Street Map. But Brut Google Map allows using... Google Map off-line. With all of Google Maps features and stability. The only thing I can say bad about this is that it does not really have a pre-caching tool like some of the others. If you want to cache a map for offline, you need to go to the area you want to cache and scroll around until all the tiles are loaded; some of the above programs allow you to go to the higher-level area and the program will cache everything underneath. Anyway, this is my new default map program

    rafiee2 and phlojo like this.
  2. ravisghosh

    ravisghosh Newbie

    Things that we need a map program with 2-g are:
    1. Ability to search locations.
    2. Ability to give directions from point a to point b.
    3. Ability to use GPS in addition to cell tower.
    4. Ability to cache/pre-download maps.

    Which android app has all this?
  3. athegn

    athegn Android Enthusiast

    Tried using Locus.

    Would not use the GPS on my HTC Desire; Google maps does us it but Locus says not turned on!

  4. vani77a

    vani77a Newbie

    ^ have you tried manually turning on your GPS?

    Locus, with offline maps made in Mobile Map Creator, is quite good.
    it does, however, center on a weird place. saved me from getting lost a few times already :)
  5. athegn

    athegn Android Enthusiast

    Yes. I have a widget on my Home screen to turn on/off Wifi, GPS, Bluetooth, Sync and screen Brightness.

    That is the way I turn on GPS.
  6. athegn

    athegn Android Enthusiast

    I have changed to MapDroyd.

    I does not have a search feature but I can use it to go to a place by zoom in/out/dragging; for now it fills my need until I find a functioning searching off line map. Preferably Google but OpenStreetMap seems very comprehensive.
    rafiee2 likes this.
  7. ravisghosh

    ravisghosh Newbie

    try Brut Google map, it has all the things one would want. The only way to cache maps is by loading the specific region on the screen. So, it takes some time to cache the entire region, but its quite good. Its not in market, however.

    Search for brut google map, go to website, download and open it in your mobile.
  8. ogami_ito

    ogami_ito Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I'm someone who would never use GPS for directions because I'm just really good at navigation. But for a navigational aid without search and turn-by-turn, I think Vector maps like MapDroyd are far superior to raster map type applications (like Google Maps, Yahoo, the rest). However, Openstreetmap has almost nothing on China where I live.
  9. athegn

    athegn Android Enthusiast

    I live in UK so OpenStreetMap is quite comprehensive however there seems to be a problem with the data downloaded to the SD card.

    Not all features shown on OpenStreetMap make it to MapDroyd e.g in one small town the bus stops and banks are downloaded but the police station, pubs and toilets are not; the last seems to be a particular unfortunate miss!!

    Perhaps I am too anal?

    I have looked at other locations and find the same misses.
  10. ogami_ito

    ogami_ito Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Holy cow. Will now update post to reflect this.
  11. athegn

    athegn Android Enthusiast

    deleted as
    repeat of earlier post
  12. thangbom

    thangbom Lurker

    Thanks for this really interesting topic, and I have another related problem and need your help. I have some specific maps as JPG and GIF files (like soil map, land use map, forest coverage map, etc), and need to get it work in a handheld GPS software so I can know exactly where I am in that specific map. I used to be a Win Mobile user, and had used Efficasoft GPS Utilities (Efficasoft - FAQ - Efficasoft GPS Utilities for Windows Mobile), and wondering if Android has any similar software? Thank you for your attention
  13. mrlovat

    mrlovat Lurker

    this is a very interesting topic.

    I used nokia maps on symbian which was excellent. it had vector maps with offline search and navigation (both car and pedestrian).
    Unfortunately now symbian is dying so i need a replacement.

    I think locus is promising but still there seems to be no app with downloadable vector maps for the whole world that can be searched and navigated offline
  14. elpedro

    elpedro Lurker

    For only 4.95 this map software downloads and caches maps, at all depth levels, from a large number of sources including google maps. It has excellent reviews and sounds quite stable.

    I haven't tried it but am about to give it a go. Anybody else try Maverick?
  15. Harry2

    Harry2 Extreme Android User

    I like Maverick because it has such a easy UI :)

    A lot of maps to choose. For some countries there are excellent topo maps available.

    But not Google maps, Google doesn't permit their download any more.
    But you can use Bing maps for the satellite view :)


    ziyadnour likes this.

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