What are the alternatives to Google Maps? A look at existing map applications
The smartphone has become one of the indispensable tools in daily life, because it provides useful functions, especially during travel and tourism, where it is possible to rely on map applications to identify the nearest pizzeria – for example – or to go to various tourist attractions, and through some simple tricks. Map applications, such as Google Maps, can replace travel guides and tourist brochures.
The Google Maps application includes comprehensive maps – it even provides paths in alleys and narrow lanes – in addition to the availability of indoor maps of shopping centers and airports that can be accessed through the “Zoom” feature; So that the user can accurately locate a particular store. The app usually shows route planning for pedestrians, occupants of cars or cyclists, or even on public transportation.
By clicking on the “Explore” icon, the application displays proposals to visit the surrounding area, and the categories of these places vary from restaurants and hotels to museums or hiking and roaming areas, and the user is able through the search bar to identify the attractions and know their peak times, In addition, the user can create his own lists under “Saved”.
And the Google Maps application can be used to help return to the place of parking, by clicking on the blue circle, the current location is determined and the option to “Save the car park” appears.
Professor Eric Horster, from the German Institute for Tourism Research, pointed out that the Google Maps application is “constantly updated, clear and fast”, but when the user interacts with the application, he learns his behavior through tracking, and Google always relies on the principle of providing the free service in exchange for collecting User data.
Another disadvantage of the Google Maps application is that although the user can download maps on his smartphone and use them to plan the route without the need for an Internet connection, if you want to use all the functions of the application, an Internet connection is required.
The Apple Maps application includes a lot of functions to describe indoor routes and maps similar to the maps available in the Google Maps application, however there are restrictions, some of which are imposed in favor of maintaining privacy and data protection, for example, that the user has to give up data in real time .
“Apple hides user data and strives to provide better privacy protection, but it does not provide good enough information like Google, for example, the bicycle navigation service in the Apple application is limited to the British capital,” explained Sebastian Trebisch, from the German “Mac & Eye” magazine. London is only in European countries.
Under the “Explore Travel Guides” function, the user can learn about a group of attractions that Apple collects in cooperation with other partners, such as “Lonely Planet” or “Washington Post”, in addition, special lists can be created through the “New Travel Guides” function. .
The Apple Maps application includes a “Flyover” mode, which allows the user to see the sights from a bird’s eye view or as if they were photographed by a drone, and this mode allows you to identify many famous attractions and selected large cities. Google Maps gets more detailed information about attractions or restaurants from other companies like Yelp or TripAdvisor.
The Apple Maps application does not work on Android devices, and always depends on the Internet connection when sightseeing, and Trebisch added: “Apple does not have an offline function at all, and it is just that the data can be displayed stored in the cache without the need for an Internet connection”.
When using online map applications while traveling outside countries, there are high costs of roaming with some concerns about privacy and data protection, so here it is better to rely on offline maps from other companies. “There are many applications that can be used for free and tested,” explained Jörg Geiger, from the German technology magazine “Chip”.
Here We Go app
The German expert explained that the “Here We Go” application – available for Android phones and Apple mobile devices – provides free maps for more than 100 countries and more than 1,300 cities. “The user can go navigation without an internet connection comfortably and without worrying about the data package,” he added. This service includes maps similar to Google’s service, but the location data is recorded with anonymity only.
In addition, the functionality of searching for restaurants, attractions, stores and opening times works offline, but additional information from other services, such as TripAdvisor, is only available with an internet connection.
The “Maps.me” application provides more details about the tourist attractions, and the German expert Trebisch confirmed that it is not very suitable for transportation by cars, and that it is more dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians, and this application derives explanations for tourist attractions from the Wikipedia encyclopedia (Wikipedia). ), and can be viewed without an internet connection as well.
And if the user wishes to plan routes without a mobile connection to the Internet, the necessary maps must be downloaded in advance, and this application provides maps for more than 300 islands and countries around the world, and depends mainly on the “OpenStreetMap” database, which any user can modify Therefore, the maps contain very detailed information, but the locations may sometimes be incorrectly recorded, and detours may be used when planning routes.