OT: My personal test of 20 free offline Android gps map routing applications

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Wholly OT: I will respond to questions, and queries, but otherwise this will be the only post on this topic for my friends on a.h.r who may be interested in offline map routing programs.
I posted this to: alt.satellite.gps,alt.comp.freeware, & to comp.mobile.android (which is a rather new newsgroup).
Here's my overall quick summary of 20 suggested free offline map apps: (Please suggest any other offline map app you want tested!)
Top five *offline gps map routing Android free apps*: 1. MapFactor: Navigator, v1.0.35, Database = OSM https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mapfactor.navigator&hl=en PRO: By far, the most logically intuitive GUI for an automotive GPS navigation system. PRO: Has a businessrivate odometer which might be handy for tax purposes. PRO: Search has options for nearest to map center, gps position, or destination. PRO: Map view is easily switched between close, medium, and full-trip views. PRO: Navigate easily allows waypoints to be enabled or disabled CON: Does not speak road names (if it only had TTS, it would negate the need for OsmAnd~) CON: Printed guidance at the bottom of the display is far too small for automotive use CON: Enabling "Save as .GPX" crashed my phone every time it was enabled
2. F-Droid: OsmAnd~, v1.5-ARM (X-86 & MIPS builds exist), Database = OSM https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=osmand~&fdid=net.osmand.plus PRO: Speaks road names! (TTS) in addition to spoken directions (British English) PRO: Users are encouraged to add their own POIs, addresses, and map improvements! PRO: Opensource plugins are readily available to enhance functionality PRO: Has an easy to use recording mode to save & replay your tracks PRO: Buttons click when you type them in a search CON: Can't route greater than 100 miles without waypoints (and it won't tell you that it won't) CON: Crashes a *lot* on my stock Samsung Galaxy S3 (Android 4.3) CON: Impossible to set a Favorite from the Favorites menu! Con: Direction guidance annoyingly says "milly" & "millies" instead of "miles")
3. Aponia: Be-On-Road, v3.9.26239 Database = OSM https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cz.aponia.bor3 PRO: Logical initial MAP display PRO: Can find POIs that are along the route you've selected (more apps should have this!) CON: Does not speak road names (TTS). CON: Impossible to add a Favorite when in the Favorites menu! CON: Impossible to change the name of a Favorite without first deleting it! CON: Can't organize Favorites other than alphabetically! IRK: Favorites=Map->Menu->POI->Favorites->FAVORITES->My POI->favorite IRK: Menu->POI->Favorites->Favorites->My POI->SELECTION->Navigate
4. Geolife: NavFree USA, v2.1.17, Database = OSM https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.navfree.android.OSM.USA PRO: Slick-looking GUI (but looks are deceptive) CON: Does not speak road names (TTS) CON: Impossible to add a Favorite when in the Favorites menu! CON: Impossible to change the name of a Favorite without first deleting it! CON: Miserable mechanism to rename favorites (basically it can't be done) CON: Even after rebooting, and deleting, it wouldn't rename a favorite! CON: Can't organize Favorites other than alphabetically! CON: Adware is somewhat obtrusive (not horrid, but not good) CON: POI search doesn't give street address (so they all look alike!)
5. Zoff, ZANavi, v2.0.19 (OSM maps) http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zoffcc.applications.zanavi&hl=en PRO: Speaks American English TTS road names beautifully in addition to spoken directions PRO: The road-name display is the easiest of them all to read (outside of Google Maps) CON: User interface must have been written on Mars, it's that unintuitive! CON: No concept of favorites (they only have "Recent Destinations") CON: Only accepts GPS coordinates in degrees-minutes-seconds (not decimal degrees) CON: Many features are half baked so I must consider this beta software
Backup programs *to make up for offline deficiencies* in the above apps: A. Alk: CoPilot GPS free, v9.5.0.400 Database = Navteq https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alk.copilot.mapviewer PRO: One free Navteq map download is allowed (these maps are fantastic!) PRO: Offline address search in Navteq maps works beautifully! PRO: The Navteq POI even provides phone numbers PRO: Logical initial MAP for a GPS navigation system. PRO: Calculates alternative routes to destination. PRO: Can easily drag route to change it as desired. CON: Only one free Navteq map download is allowed. CON: Voice guidance dies after 14 days (but the maps & routing still work in the crippleware) IRK: Favorites=Map->Menu->Main Menu->My Places->Favorites
B. Google: Maps, v7.4.0 Database = Google https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.maps PRO: Most accurate of all the maps; and fast drawing too! PRO: Clearly shows the next turn and how far away it is. PRO: Clearly shows each turn in sequence at any time. CON: Directions and navigation are not available offline. CON: Does not speak road names (TTS) when offline. CON: Map cache tiling is not intuitive (typing "ok maps" for example) CON: Can't create or change the route once you go offline. CON: POIs & street addresses are not cached in the offline maps HNT: Backup /sdcard/Android/data/com.google.android.apps.maps/cache/
Tested apps which *didn't make the top five* for a variety of reasons: a. Sygic: GPS, v13.2.2 Uses TomTom maps https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sygic.aura Note: Not freeware; so it shouldn't be on this list (7 day free trial only) CON: After timing out, the program simply refused to run (so I deleted it) PRO: POIs and street addresses are available offline PRO: Phone numbers in POIs (and they're callable from the map app) PRO: Locates POIs in the defined route, even offline. CON: The next turn isn't shown until you're only a couple miles away!
b. MapsWithMe: Maps With Me Lite, OSM data https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mapswithme.maps PRO: I can't think of a single thing good about this program. CON: Doesn't route; doesn't talk; doesn't do anything but show your postion. CON: Crippleware does not have a search capability CON: Half the icons on the front map don't work in the crippleware. CON: Phones home by default unless you turn it off in the settings.
c. Telenav: Scout, v1.6.1.7610003 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.telenav.app.android.scout_us Note: Complains "Unable to reach server" Hint: Remove Sim card before installing & give it a bogus phone number.
d. CloudMade: MapDroyd, v2.0.4, OSM data https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.osa.android.mapdroyd PRO: I can't think of anything good to say about this map application CON: Really really really slow map drawing (I'm not sure why). CON: Can't route; can't talk.
e. 66: Navigate 6, v5.13.46.DB3B2C1.73F9DB5 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.route66.maps5 Note: Uses TomTom maps; routing is not free & maps time out in 30 days
f. Prodevelop: gvSIG Mini Maps, v1.2.3 PRO: The route "to here" usability should be a nice feature CON: The program crashed on me so many times I gave up. CON: The maps wouldn't start downloading (and they were only tiles anyway)
g. Google Waze PRO: Crowd-source up-to-date traffic information CON: Does not work offline, so it was not tested
h. Mictale: GPS Essentials, v3.2.9 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mictale.gpsessentials PRO: Automatically caches map tiles that you specifically have looked at. PRO: Bills itself as the Swiss Army Knife of GPS applications CON: You only see gray area for map tiles you haven't cached. CON: Confusing interface. I just can't get it to do what I want.
i. Code Sector: Maverick Lite, v2.2, OSM & MapQuest & Microsoft & others https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.codesector.maverick.lite PRO: Maps are great! (Microsoft & MapQuest at least) PRO: Address search is pretty good but only works online. PRO: Once you've found an address, you can auto-open in another program! INF: It's good mapping software but I don't see any routing at all? CON: Crippleware won't search POIs but will allow Lat/Lon entry. CON: Won't save anything for future use other than saved wavepoints. CON: Can't do an address search offline. CON: Doesn't cache maps offline all that well (unreliable).
j. Ulmon, City Maps 2Go, v3.8.0.14, Database = OSM https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ulmon.android.citymaps2go&hl=en PRO: The maps are readable and the POI search is easy to use CON: Does not route! (Will only *show* your position on the map) CON: Limited to 5 free maps but California itself has 58 counties! CON: Crashed dozens of times on my Android 4.3 Samsung Galaxy S3
These *hiking apps* were tested off road off trail offline: a. Google MyTracks, v2.0.5 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.maps.mytracks PRO: Gorgeous and accurate topo maps PRO: Tracks easily. PRO: Exports KML nicely. PRO: Nice distance, elevation, speed, time plots. CON: Can't zoom to the level that you want to for off-trail hiking.
b. Atlogis, US Topo Maps Free, v1.1.0 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.atlogis.northamerica.free PRO: You can pinch-zoom to the level that you need for offtrail hiking. CON: Maps are older versions of USGS paper maps (not the newest versions). CON: GUI for creating tracks and exporting them is not intuitive.
c. Asamm, Locus Free, v2.17.4 http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=menion.android.locus PRO: You can pinch-zoom to the level that you need for offtrail hiking. PRO: Shows GPS coordinates at all times CON: Ads are a bit intrusive compared to the other free offline maps
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...Lots of good info snipped...
Can you explain the purpose of an offline map routing program?
I use the Google Navigation app and my issue isn't data usage, it's how badly the GPS sucks the life out of the battery.
What is the advantage of an offline navigation app?
BTW...I was in NYC for a business trip last year. While walking through Central Park, I saw a sign for an app that allowed you to take a walking tour of the park, with GPS. It opens with a map of the park, and when you choose My Location it pinpoints where you are in the park, right down to the walking path level. Well, a few months later SWMBO and I were walking through a park while on vacation in California. We came to a T in the path we weren't sure which way to go. I opened the Central Park app, which opened with a map of Central Park, as expected. I tapped My Location and the map changed to our exact location and we figured out which way to go. Since that time I've used the app a number of times when walking in unfamiliar locations.
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On 12/23/2013 6:56 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Offline map routing is used if you don't have a data plan or you are in an area with no cell service. You typically get the map before leaving, using wifi.

Yes, that's true. But that's what car chargers are used for. If I'm going to use it for a long time, I plug in.

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On Mon, 23 Dec 2013 09:00:42 -0500, Art Todesco wrote:

Yup. He said it better than I did.
Luckily, for almost all the offline apps, the entire state of California is a single one-time download.
There's one other advantage, but it's not due to the offline nature. Most of the offline-map programs are OSM. OSM maps can be modified by you. If you like tinkering with your maps, maybe the OSM maps are the way to go.

Indeed. I researched car chargers, and, after testing a few, I only suggest the dual-port 3.1 Amp chargers. You can't go by price (e.g., Apple single-port 2.1 Amp chargers cost twice what I paid for my 3.1 Amp dual-port charger).
The reason for the funny amperage numbers is that an Ipad takes 2.1 Amps while most heavy duty smart phones take about 700mA to about 1 Amp.
So, a 3.1 Amp charger is typically a 2.1 Amp port plus a 1 Amp port.
Caveat: Watch out when you buy the USB car charger. The lousy ones are really sneaky about how they define the amperage as "total" amperage, which means that, even if it has two ports, you can't get the advertised amperage unless you use only one of those two ports and leave the other one empty.
As always, price is no indication of quality. You have to know what you are buying ... caveat emptor.
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wrote:

I just discovered (having driven 600mi yesterday) that even on-line routing doesn't require cell service the entire route. It seems to download the maps needed for the entire trip at the beginning. My cell phone doesn't connect to the data network when it's plugged into USB. I didn't pay attention and plugged in the power before waiting for it to connect to the cell network so didn't have a data connection all day. I still had navigation the entire trip, though.

Sure. The more the phone does, the more power it sucks down. Data service and the display are big power consumers. My phone won't last a half hour in navigation mode if it's not connected to power.

Doesn't require *any* data connection. The maps are self-contained, just like a stand-alone GPS unit.

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On Mon, 23 Dec 2013 20:27:24 -0500, krw wrote:

What program were you using for that navigation?
If it was Google Maps, it can route, if you start with routing, but it can't change that route, nor do a POI or address search once you're on the route.
If it's some other program, it might have the state map already downloaded, which is what all the offline programs do.
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On Tue, 24 Dec 2013 01:51:12 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

The Google (I think) app that comes on my (Verizon) Droid Razr.

I checked the route beforehand and knew where I was going. No need to update it. Well, until I got is "lost" out in the middle of Southern Illinois. Dumb program! YOY do they even *think* about routing people, driving cross-country, down one-lane county cow paths?!

No, just the normal maps. I was worried about losing data connection in the middle. Turns out that it doesn't matter if you're not changing anything. The point being that "online" navigation isn't as fragile as I (and many others, I'm sure) suspected. It works quite well (above exception noted).
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On Mon, 23 Dec 2013 20:27:24 -0500, krw wrote:

Hmmm... I didn't realize data service consumes power.
Are you sure about that?
Certainly, on my Samsung Galaxy S3, the GPS consumes the power so much that the battery won't last 2 hours with GPS running and no external source of power.
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On Tue, 24 Dec 2013 01:52:16 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

Sure, if it's transferring data, it's consuming power. The processor is also working harder.

GPS, alone, shouldn't take that much power. My next phone (probably at the end of next month) will be a RAZR MAXX, for that reason, though.
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On Mon, 23 Dec 2013 21:19:52 -0500, krw wrote:

I'm gonna buy the Moto G, for a nephew, for a belated Christmas gift.
The only thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't have an external SD card slot.
Sigh... Google.
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On Tue, 24 Dec 2013 04:57:42 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

There's that but worse, the Droid Razr doesn't have a replaceable battery. It's only a couple of years, but still.

Indeed.
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On Tue, 24 Dec 2013 00:24:01 -0500, krw wrote:

That's criminal. I always faulted the iPhone for that.
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On Tue, 24 Dec 2013 20:15:40 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

They're trading off the replaceable battery for the sleek case. It's not a terrible tradeoff since the things generally last only two years. It's fairly rare for a LiIon battery to fail in that two years. They will lose some capacity but the Razr MAXX (most likely my next phone) that covered with *huge* capacity.
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On 12/24/2013 03:15 PM, Danny D'Amico wrote:

yes, Motorola who has always been my favorite cell phone manufacturer has gone to the dark side... still good phones though.
nate
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On Monday, December 23, 2013 9:19:52 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

My new Android has detailied info recorded on what percentage of power is being used by what. GPS as I recall when I used it on a recent trip of 50 miles or so only used 2%. I was using Maps/routing for just the trip, but have gps turned on all the time.
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On 12/24/2013 09:11 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

My first smart phone was a HTC Evo, the one thing I really, really hated about that phone was that the current draw while running Waze or Trapster in vehicle mode (screen always on) was more than the charge current from the car charger. So on a several hour trip I would need to take several spare batteries with me...!
Fortunately, my subsequent phones (Motorola Photon and Photon Q) do not have that issue...
nate
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On Tue, 24 Dec 2013 06:11:22 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

That seems insanely low, compared to what my Samsung Galaxy appears to use. I didn't check with the battery app though, so, I should find a power application that tells me how much power each service is using so I can compare with your results.
I do know that the battery dies in 2 hours if I use GPS, so, I simply *assumed* it was the GPS that was killing it.
Bear in mind, you *might* be using cellular triangulation for your location services - in which case it wouldn't be using the GPS...
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On Tue, 24 Dec 2013 09:20:21 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

Hi Nate, I see you've replaced that phone, but, that's exactly why I recommend the dual-port 3.1 Amp USB car chargers.
One port is 2.1 Amps (strange number is due to the iPad requirement); and the other port is 1 Amp.
In my experience, most smartphones nowadays will outstrip their charger once you get lower than about 850mA, and, it's very important to note that the USB standard is only 500mA.
So, if your car charger doesn't actually *say* it's 1Amp, it's probably only about 500mA, which is far too low (IMHO) for a smart phone.
So I don't doubt your results.
Bear in mind, in my experience looking at every USB car charger I could find in stores (mostly Frys), if they don't say what their current is, then they're 500mA. If they say the amperage, but don't say how much is in each slot, then you can really only get that amperage out of only one slot at a time.
And, if they say just the watts (which is the amperage times the 5 volts), then usually they're very low because wattage sounds bigger than amperage.
In the end, since they're all 5 volts, the *amperage* you can get out of *each slot* (at the same time!) is what you want to aim for.
The funny thing is that it doesn't cost more to get a better charger, other than the time to make the selection based on the amperage.
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On 12/24/2013 04:03 PM, Danny D'Amico wrote:

You're right, and I knew that, but it's good info that a lot of people *don't* know.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes when a phone uses a micro USB port for both data transfer and charging (as many do) the phone will use two pins connected together or something to determine charge rate; that is, it can tell the difference between plugging into the USB port on your laptop (in which case it will charge at 500 mA) and plugging into a wall wart or a 12V to USB adapter in which case it will charge at whatever the device's maximum charge rate is.
In the case of the Evo, after some research online I found out what the actual issue was; I was curious if something was wrong with my phone because the very first road trip I took with it it worked fine, but subsequently every trip thereafter I needed a new battery about every 90 minutes. Sprint was clueless and basically just shrugged and said "GPS takes a lot of power." I wasn't real happy as I'd paid retail price for what was at the time a highly rated smart phone and I wanted to play with it and do all the stuff I'd been told a smart phone could do. What I read online however was that a new firmware was pushed out for that phone that reduced the max charge current due to thermal management issues, and that I believe - another issue that I had with that phone was that if run in a windshield mount on a sunny day with GPS app running, it really could overheat and shut down, I ended up moving it so that it was in front of an A/C vent. So in an effort to fix one problem, they created another...
The real solution to the problem was to buy a used Motorola phone which worked great until Sprint dropped WiMax and went to 4G LTE, then I bought another Motorola phone with a "free with two year contract" deal. I gifted the Evo to a friend who doesn't have a car or driver's license so it all worked out well for everyone :)
nate
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On Wed, 25 Dec 2013 08:00:36 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

Something like that has always confounded me, both on my Motorola RAZR V3, which would never charge on USB car chargers, but, had no problem charging on PCs with the same cable - and - on my Samsung Galaxy S3, which practically burned up on some car chargers.
So, I don't doubt funny business goes on in some of these setups.
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