Why You Should Use a Google Maps Alternative

Google has informed individuals using the app that each user is in control of the location history data and provided with the ability to ‘edit, delete or turn it off at any time.’ However, if you turn off the location data on Google Maps, this only stops Google from being able to create a timeline of your daily activities. You will also need to turn off another option known as Web & App activity.

Whenever you use Google search or Google Maps to find something, the app will send back timestamps to Google. Data is used by Google to serve you specific ads that are targeted to your interests. This makes your data very valuable to Google as it can adjust the ads you see.

5 Google Maps Alternatives

There are Google Maps alternatives that you can use to find directions, restaurants or a gas station while you’re traveling. Some of these apps require you to be connected to the internet, and others allow you to download their maps and review them offline. 

So which Google Maps alternative you should pick? Here’s our selection.

Here WeGo

here we go

Price: Free

Compatibility: iOS, Android and Windows

This Google Maps alternative can be accessed by going to Wego.Here.com. The app gives you the ability to download offline maps for about 200 different countries. Of course, you can also use it while you’re online if you require directions. When you click on the options menu, you’ll find Directions, Traffic and Places. Here’s a synopsis of each option:

Directions: Allows you to enter a starting place and your destination. Similar to other map applications, you’ll see the directions written on the left side of the app. By clicking on the “In this area” arrow, you’ll also be able to see local hotels, gas and dining establishments.

Traffic: Provides you with an analysis of current traffic conditions in certain areas. You can find out if there is light, moderate, or heavy traffic or even be notified where traffic has stopped. Data is collected from cameras, police reports and construction sites to provide this information.

Places: Let’s you discover theme parks, tours, museums, restaurants and wineries. By selecting one of the places listed, you’re able to get directions and approximate driving time. You’re also given the option to use a QR code with your mobile device to gather information.

You will also be pleased to know that the timestamps used for navigation are deleted after you have finished using this app, which means that the timestamps, GPS location and places that you access will not be associated with your activity. One aspect to be aware of is that this app does use behavioral advertising. However, you can easily turn this off.

OpenStreetMap and OsmAnd

osm

Price: OpenStreetMap is Free — OsmAnd offers a few free maps but is $4.99 if you want unlimited maps.

Compatibility: iOS, Android and Windows

The OpenStreetMap app is similar to Wikipedia in that it is edited by volunteers from around the world. The data that’s used for the app is collected by volunteers using cameras, GPS units and ground surveys. You won’t find any fancy features with this Google Maps alternative, and you won’t get served targeted ads with this app as it’s run by volunteers who don’t have any need to sell your data to third parties.

If you need directions, you just enter your beginning location in the field on the left side of the map and the destination in the second field. You’re provided with written directions, time and distance. It should be noted that you can choose to get directions for a car, bicycle or by walking.

The app is easy and simple to use and has an offline mode. For this, you’ll need to download the OsmAnd app, which receives its data from the OpenStreetMap app. You’re able to get a few maps for free with this app, which is perfect if you’re only going on a small journey. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay a fee for unlimited maps.

If you’re using the map and notice that there’s an error or would like to add more information, you’ll need to create an account. This can be done by using a nonidentifying username if you’d really like to stay private. To add notes to the map, you need to zoom into the area on the map that you’re targeting and click on the “Note” icon, which allows you to type in extra information.

Maps.me

mapsme

Price: Free

Compatibility: iOS and Android

If you require offline maps that point out many areas of interest, the Maps.me app may be your best option. This app is open source and receives its data from OpenStreetMap. You’re able to get directions for 345 different islands and countries, which helps if you need an app that works globally. You have the ability to bookmark your location and share with friends if you’d like. It does have an online version that provides public transport, traffic information and cycling navigation.

When looking at the points of interest, you’ll find that they have all been categorized into main areas such as Attraction, Entertainment, Shops and Food. You’re able to filter what you’re looking for and find the best hotels, restaurants, cafés and tourist attractions in your location. In fact, you can even book a hotel room using the app. In addition, there’s also a Maps.me Guide that provides a list of attractions that are recommended by locals.

This is a fairly secure app as it’s open source and any vulnerabilities are usually fixed when they are found. However, the app does use your location to target you with ads and specific points of interest. Third parties will not get any of your personal information.

MapQuest

mapsquest

Price: Free

Compatibility: iOS, Android and Windows

This is a straightforward and easy to use app if you’d like to discover points of interest that are in your vicinity. Acquired by America Online from its founders, R.R. Donnelly and Sons, MapQuest is still one of the top players in the niche with its mobile and website apps.

If you’d like driving directions, you’ll be provided with a few different routes that you can choose from, which are listed on the left in text and also on the map. One of the features that make this app stand out is that you have the ability to discover businesses along your chosen route by just clicking on that area. This provides you with information on gas, food, hotels, groceries and shopping. For those of you who are looking for an app that provides offline information, MapQuest is not a good choice.

You can also explore a specific city to see what is offered. As you enter your chosen location, you’ll receive suggestions that you can click. You’ll also be able to use a satellite view option, check for traffic incidents and even send a map to your mobile device. MapQuest also allows you to book vacations, flights, rental cars and hotels due to their integration with Priceline. If you’re looking for a solid Google Maps alternative, MapQuest is a great option

Bing Maps

bingmaps

Price: Free

Compatibility: iOS, Android and Windows

Bing Maps is another handy map application with a number of options. Microsoft acquired the app from MapBlast.com in 2002 and quickly utilized it by placing it in their Maps and Directions area of MSN. Later, they changed the name to Bing Maps and offered it as a single app to users.

When you use Bing Maps for directions, you’ll be able to receive information that pertains to driving, transit or walking. Data is given in miles or kilometers. One interesting feature is the option to set up your journey so that you avoid tolls and highways.

Similar to MapQuest, when you are searching for directions, you’ll receive text instructions on the left and a visual representation of the directions on your map. You’ll also be able to see information along your route that pertains to shopping, attractions and hotels.

If you would like to learn more about a specific city, information automatically pops up when you enter into the search box. Bing Maps provides you with “Things to do,” “Eat and drink,” “Where to stay,” “Places to explore,” “Events” and even “Suggested Itineraries.”

You can use the “Traffic” option to find out if there are closed roads, heavy or light traffic. It even has an option for cameras if you zoom in. The “My Places” option allows you to save your favorites, itineraries and collections for home or work.

This app also has a number of features, which include 3-D maps, venue maps, road view and an aerial view. While you are not able to use this offline, you can always print out a map and take it with you while you head to your next destination. Bing Maps is a good Google Maps alternative.

Why You Need a VPN

Many alternative apps are free. If you’re not paying for the service – you’re not the customer, you’re the product. There are many security and privacy vulnerabilities which come with free apps, and criminals have many attack vectors to use the most out of them.

Hence, when you’re using a free app, you should always consider connecting to a VPN. It encrypts your traffic and makes it extremely difficult to snoop on your online activities. Also, Surfshark has a CleanWeb™ feature which blocks ads, trackers, and protects from malware.

However, it’s basically up to you to choose one or more of these apps that are transparent about the data they collect. 

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