Google Maps is one of the most useful applications that one can use on Android. Without it, one may find himself/herself lost in some jungle instead of heading where they were going.

But Google Maps is a proprietary application that invades user privacy.

It is part of the Google family, so every bit of information about you (location, headings, places, favorites… etc) are all connected to other Google apps without you knowing.

Google uses this data to enhance your experience across its suite of apps, and even displays personalized ads for you according to the places you visit.

Sadly, there isn’t a real viable drop-in replacement for Google Maps. OpenStreetMap and other open-source map systems have not caught up to the competition yet, and they have a lot of missing data for roads, shops, places and other entities in most of the countries around the world.

However, with a combination of these open-source map applications for Android, one can perhaps reduce his/her dependency on the official Google Maps application to the uttermost extent. In this way, you can stay away from Google’s family of apps for your own good.

Alternative Open Source Apps for Google Maps

In this article, we will see some of these useful alternative map applications for Android and how you can install them.

OsmAnd

OsmAnd is the official OpenStreetMap app for Android devices. It can display place information, navigation directions and route planning information. The app can also download maps for offline usage to eliminate Internet connection needs.

Basically, it contains all the features supported by OpenStreetMap in an Android app.

Parts of the application, however, are not open source, such as the artwork and some assets. Also, the application has simple tracking enabled by default when you install the application (a unique tracking ID will be sent to OSM to count users). However, the application is %100 ad-free.

OsmAnd is available on the F-Droid store; the open-source store for Android apps that only contain open-source applications. If you don’t have it already, then you can install it from here:

It’s worth noting that OsmAnd is also available from the Google Play and iOS app stores. But on Google Play, the program is separated into two versions: Free which includes most features, and paid which includes an additional subset of features. However, if you install it from F-Droid, then you will be getting all the premium features for free, as they are merged into the app as well.

Additional tracking and some integration services are also removed from the F-Droid version due to store policy.

The F-Droid version is built and maintained by the F-Droid store developers themselves, and they ship it under the “OsmAnd~” name.

Organic Maps

Organic Maps is an open-source maps application for Android that uses OpenStreetMap as well, but it is optimized for travelers, hikers and drivers. Basically, it shows ready maps for people in these groups rather than having to deal with the Swiss army knife mobile app of OpenStreetMap itself.

The app is %100 open source and ad-free, and contains no trackers at all. Moreover, it supports downloading maps for offline usage so that you can use them and navigate through them without having an Internet connection.

Use Organic Maps if you want to find places, shops or restaurants where you are currently located. You can also use it to display various transportation roads according to your needs.

You can get Organic Maps for Android from the F-Droid Store using this link, or just search for “Organic Maps” from inside the F-Droid store. It is also available in Google Play and iOS app store.

If you are thinking of downloading it from Google Play, then you may want to check this open-source app store as well:

GMaps WV

If you are still in need of Google Maps to fulfill your navigation tasks, then you may at least do it using a restricted wrapper rather than the official Google app.

GMaps WV is simply a restricted web window of Google Maps that works in a confined browser. By using Google Maps from this app instead of the official Google Maps app for Android, you are preventing Google Maps from leaking your data to other Google applications.

This happens because you won’t be signed in to your Google account by default when you use the app. And since the Google Maps window is isolated as just a browser window and not really an independent app, it won’t be able to communicate additional data about you to other Google apps installed on your smartphone.

It doesn’t guarantee maximum privacy, of course, as your IP address is still sent to Google for the map queries that you make using Google Maps. But it is better than nothing.

The only downside of using this app is that the navigation feature does not work; Google requires that you use the official Google Maps app for Android if you want to use the navigation feature in Google Maps, so sadly, it will not be available in this app.

GMaps WV is fully open source and contains no ads or tracking scripts. It is available for download from the F-Droid store via this link.

Conclusion

So these are the open-source map applications that we can recommend for using as an alternative for the Google Map application on Android. While they may not be a perfect drop-in replacement for Google Maps, they can get you going in most cases.

Other people in some blogs or online forums may also recommend services such as Magic Earth, but Magic Earth is a proprietary service that is not open source. So it can not be claimed that it respects the user’s privacy since no one knows what is in the source code. Maybe even online faxing is a better solution than that

If you know of any additional Android applications or other alternatives for Google Maps, then we would love to hear about them in the comments below.

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