Compared to map services that need network connection, at least to support turn-by-turn navigation capabilities, an offline navigator is an application that does not rely on the Internet and is therefore able to provide information on the routes to follow even in the absence of mobile network coverage.
Unlike the better known ones such as Google Maps, which integrate the possibility of downloading maps for offline consultation only as “optionally activated”, Organic Maps was born as an offline navigator and bases its operation on free and collaborative maps from OpenStreetMappioneer of crowdmapping.
Downloadable on iOS and Android, Organic Maps is a free offline map app, intended to meet the needs of travellers, tourists, hikers and cyclists
Furthermore, it is completely open source meaning the source code is published in a GitHub repository: anyone can examine and possibly send their contributions to refine performances. This aspect, which differentiates it from Magic Earth, alternative to Google Maps and Wazeis a further guarantee compared to the fact that the application does not store any data and does not track users, it is free of advertising and does not show push notifications.
Come Magic Earth, purtroppo, Organic Maps It does not offer social browsing features which allow you to share information in real time by reporting dangers on the road, traffic, accidents, or the presence of mobile speed cameras. Which is what Waze, a pure satellite navigator owned by Google, is known for.
What is Organic Maps and what are the main features
Organic Maps is a Open source software under the Apache 2.0 license which stands out as an offline navigator for its emphasis on protecting user privacy from the prying eyes of Big Tech.
Available for operating systems Android and iOS from August 2021the application draws on the power of shared and open source geospatial data from OpenStreetMap and represents a fork of the Maps.me application (formerly known as MapsWithMe) since the software project started from the same source code.
Organic Maps can be downloaded for free from the main online stores, including the less frequented ones, and can be used without restrictions on any mobile device. An excellent decision is to install it on the same smartphone together with the other maps and navigation apps, ready to replace Google Maps and Waze, or to be used when there is no connection, still guaranteeing reliable guidance.
As an offline browser, search, routing and navigation work without the signal of your cell phone, which is ideal for traveling on distant hiking trails or places with poor connections. First, Organic Maps requires the user to download maps for the geographic area they are in, but it also offers the option to perform this process manually. Just tap on the icon at the bottom right of the app interface and select the “Download maps“.
What the offline navigator shows as a replacement for Google Maps and Waze
Organic Maps is able to show a range of valuable information on maps in a clear and detailed way. Its strengths include the visualization of pedestrian paths, hiking itineraries and cycle pathsthus offering a complete browsing experience for lovers of nature and outdoor activities.
Furthermore, it undertakes to provide at least the location of points of tourist interest nearby and with a tap on the magnifying glass, it allows you to search and reach a wide range of locations intuitively and effortlessly. There is no shortage of information on pedestrian crossings and the position of fountains and public drinking water dispensers.
Organic Maps is an offline and open source navigator that allows you to explore the world with maps rich in detail and clear information while always respecting your privacy
Unlike Google Maps, this offline navigator uses clear and immediate graphic symbols. As the name suggests, it organically shows the location of accommodation facilities, restaurants, bars and a variety of activities related to catering, parking and public transport stops.
The map also reveals the location of bakeries, markets, supermarkets, shops, shopping areas, petrol stations, banks, ATMs, post offices, hospitals, entertainment venues, pharmacies, recycling areas, camper spaces, public toilets and law enforcement offices.
For mountain enthusiasts, by selecting the icon at the top left of the interface and choosing “Terrain”, Organic Maps will show the contour lines of mountain profiles. And if you travel by subway, the app will display the different ones in a colorful and intuitive way subway lines and stopswhen available.
Organic Maps, how to configure the route and reach your destination
With Organic Maps it is very simple to set up the navigator and define the destination to reach. After searching for a specific address, location or point of interest, you can use the three small buttons at the bottom of the screen to define the destination (the last icon with “A”).
With this approach, Organic Maps locates your current location and shows the route to follow on the map, along with the selected means of transport at the top of the screen, which can also be walking. By pressing “Start”, the app starts providing turn-by-turn directions to drive to the desired destination, providing estimates of arrival time, distance to travel and instant speed.
If you want to check a alternative route from a different point on the map (not the one you are currently in), just select the “FROM” icon. Furthermore, you can save the destination as a favorite by pressing the star icon, for quick access when needed.
When you choose the public transport option, the application offers the most convenient route, although it may not be as precise in detailing transfers between different means as Google Maps.