Organic Maps (Android) — Awesome Open Source

Organic Maps is a great open source app for casual every-day navigation. It has an easy-to-read map display, navigation directions with voice, search for places, save favourite places and add new places, and not a lot else. The usability is decent and it looks good.

It's become my default mapping app, and it makes me ever so happy to have such a good open-source solution.

How good is it?

The mapping is based on OpenStreetMap, and the quality is pretty decent in my area. It's just 2d mapping with a few variations. It zooms and pans smoothly on my OnePlus 6 phone.

The navigation supports driving, walking, cycling, and in some places public transport. The suggested routes are reasonable but not always the best choice, for various reasons, and are best treated as a suggestion or reminder rather than trustworthy advice. It re-calculates if you go a different way.

There is no information on delays and traffic jams, presumably because there is not yet a good, comprehensive, free-as-in-freedom service for providing such information. Personally I find this doesn't bother me too much. On some routes and at some times I know there is a chance of delays and when there are, there is often not much better I can do than stick it out anyway. Of course that's not always the case.

The search for addresses and place names is fast and reasonably detailed, including names of some buildings and businesses, while understandably not as slick and comprehensive as Google's search. For example a result I think should be at the top of the list because it's near by and has the exact words I searched for, sometimes shows up a long way down the list.

Organic Maps can work off-line, when you have no data signal. When you first look at an area it downloads the mapping. After that, within the downloaded areas, you can use Organic Maps completely off-line, including the navigation features. When you look at a new area that you haven't downloaded yet (or have deleted), you initially see just the largest roads and towns, and if you zoom in it asks whether you want to download the detailed mapping for that area. (You have to be online to download it, of course.)

Where does it fit in the FOSS map apps space?

Organic Maps was released as an open source Android app in 2021 by the founders of MapsWithMe (maps.me).

Before that, the only other open source alternative I found worthy of mentioning was OsmAnd, which is powerful with lots of features and add-ons, but significantly less friendly and more complicated to use.

Give Organic Maps a try!