When it comes to mobile navigation on an android device, you basically have two options:
- Use an online mapping and navigation software (like Google Maps) that requires an internet connection to load the maps and calculate navigation routes. The bad thing is that you must pay data traffic on your mobile and the worst thing is when you use those services abroad, on roaming costs and this can put you on the yellow path of going broke. The good thing is that you always have the latest version of the map.
- Use an offline mapping and navigation software (like OsmAnd and many others) that can store the maps on the device and even operate the navigation offline. The bad thing (which is not such a bad thing) is that you must take care to update the maps at their latest version. The good thing is that you will not pay a dime to look at the maps or use the navigation features of the app.
The software i tested and use for offline navigation is OsmAnd that has three versions:
- OsmAndFree – can be downloaded from the Google Play that have some limitations, like the number of downloads you can make for maps, voice guidance etc.
- OsmAndPlus – paid version from Google Play with full features
- OsmAnd~ – i downloaded the app via F-droid app, a repository for FOSS (free and open source software) android apps. This is a free version with a donate link that have no limitations.
OsmAnd is using data from Openstreetmap (OSM), an open map system build buy the contributors and works great. I tested the navigation part in different parts around the city and i was pretty impressed.
As a contributor to OSM i can add Points Of Interest (POI) directly from OsmAnd and you can even track your route with the app and upload that in OSM.
The great thing about apps like OsmAnd is that you can load on the SD card of your device, the maps of the locations you will travel and use them with no data cost. Imagine the roaming cost for downloading map data abroad, with those money you can get a cab and go around the country and you will still have money left.