Without a doubt, Google Maps is the most popular navigation app today.
Millions of users rely upon Maps in order to find their destinations. The app provides coverage for locations around the world free of charge. Not everyone likes the user interface or features of Google Maps, though. Fortunately, a number of alternative navigation apps are available for mobile devices. They’re all great and come with their own features that differentiate them from Google’s product.
Here’s a quick overview of five free navigation apps that users will love, in no particular order!
MapQuest GPS Navigation & Maps
Before Google came along, MapQuest ruled the turn-by-turn navigation scene. Millions of people relied upon the site for directions. Now MapQuest is available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Currently, the app offers a number of great features for users. Traffic information is integrated into directions. Alternate routes take into account these traffic conditions, too. The app lists local gas prices and allows for hands-free operation through voice commands. On top of that, users can share their location with others through various means.
Pros – Maps available for worldwide locations – Constantly synced with traffic data – Gas prices built into the app
OsmAnd+ Maps and Navigation (Free)
While OsmAnd+ offers a paid version, the free option will prove adequate for most users. Users are granted access to a wide array of features, including offline map saving. This allows travelers to navigate even without a cell phone signal, assuming the map is saved in their app. Places of interest are listed as a person travels through a particular area, too. When travelers leave the intended route, the app automatically creates a new route to the destination. Still, offline map data is the most desirable feature of this app by far.
Pros – Maps are available offline – Places of interest are listed on maps – Automatic re-routing after deviating from directions
MapFactor: GPS Navigation
MapFactor offers another unique feature not found on most GPS navigation apps: speed camera warnings. When travelers near a known speed camera, the app emits an audible warning. Travelers can avoid unfortunate tickets without having to think twice about speed cameras. The app comes with two- and three-dimensional apps along with day and night features. Also, directions can be audibly given in more than one language. It’s a basic app that offers features that users won’t find anywhere else.
Pros: – Warnings for upcoming speed cameras – 2D and 3D maps – Directions available in multiple languages
Polaris Navigator GPS
Although it’s a relatively new app, Polaris Navigator GPS has quickly become a favorite among countless users. The app features a sleek user interface that’s unparalleled by other apps. While it works like a traditional navigation app, Polaris excels at off-road navigation like no other app. Users can create their own trailers and use a variety of features, including a compass, offline accessibility, and more. For travelers that hit untamed roads, Polaris is the number one option by far. No other app will assist an adventurer more than this one.
Available on Android OS.
Pros – Attractive UI – On and off-road navigation – Create and save personalized trails – Wide array of extra features not found elsewhere
For combating traffic and rush hour, Waze is the perfect navigation app. The app relies upon third party data and crowdsourcing to offer live traffic data. Users can submit traffic accidents to the app in order to warn other drivers. After accidents and roadblocks are verified, the app automatically avoids these locations in turn-by-turn navigation. Plenty of apps strive to help drivers avoid traffic and accidents, but Waze succeeds where similar apps regularly fail. Voice commands are built into the app, too.
Pros – Crowdsourced traffic and accident information – Directions automatically avoid accidents and other road issues in real time – Voice commands available
There’s No Shortage of GPS Navigation Apps Today
Countless navigation apps are available to smartphone users today. They’re available on Android, iOS, and even Windows devices. Of course, a number of apps require payment, but some amazing and free options are available for download. These apps aren’t necessarily designed to beat Google Maps. Plenty of them do offer features and services not found in Google’s offering, though. During the search for the perfect navigation app, searchers need to consider their own needs.
Finding The RIght App Is Part of The Challenge
Each app is designed to suit and address certain needs after all. Some apps service a niche group of travelers, while others offer general navigation services for the masses. These days, each traveler needs a slightly different user interface and set of features. Travelers like navigation apps that help them save time by working around traffic. Others prefer apps that include bells and whistles, such as real-time speeds and extensive voice commands. No app offers every single feature today, so there’s room for some competition.
Are free apps as good as paid navigation apps?
The fact of the matter is that payment is not required to find the perfect navigation app. Not everyone wants to spend money in order to get turn-by-turn directions and other features. Luckily, a large number of companies have created free navigation apps that compare favorably to paid apps. A number of the free solutions outperform paid counterparts in numerous ways. The last thing someone should do is assume that they need to pay for their GPS navigation applications. In today’s world, that’s not necessary.
Google Maps Isn’t The Only Option Available Now
In the early days of smartphones, users probably felt like Google Maps was their only option. That’s no longer the case, and plenty of apps have risen to rival Google Maps. The previously mentioned navigation apps are great alternatives for travelers that want something different. So many navigation apps exist that an amazing option exists for each and every user. For that reason, nobody needs to settle for Google Maps if that particular app doesn’t suit their fancy or needs. More and more navigation apps will continue to be released in the coming years that surpass expectations by offering incredible features.