Unless you have been living under a rock or you look at the stars and constellations in order to figure out the direction, you are pretty much living in the era of “smart” devices. These gadgets have been attributed to making our lives easier. Terms like “machine learning” and “predictive computer automation” are a reality now. You cannot get truly ‘lost’ because the modern world probably cannot afford it. That is why there has been a significant surge in the number of GPS applications for our smart devices. We will be discussing some of the applications here, which are available for download/purchase via the Google app store, i.e. Play Store.
Whether you are travelling through a new locality, or you’re going hiking, your phone is always with you. Take advantage of it and never feel lost in the myriad of narrow lanes or grass paths. Install the perfect travel companion in your phone and never get disconnected. Weigh in the pros and cons and decide what’s best for you. Here are the three best GPS applications for Android in 2018:
Google Maps, from the house of Google LLC, definitely is a favourite. It is, most often, a default app which comes pre-installed. It is a completely free app, with no in-app purchases.
- It provides thorough navigation in 200+ countries.
- Information is gathered directly from Google servers and updated regularly.
- Offline maps are available to download for limited areas under a working internet connection.
- Google maps (offline) update automatically whenever the internet is available.
- Google maps provide live traffic updates and road conditions.
- It supports terrain view, although there is scope for improvement.
- It supports railroads as well as roadways.
- Google Streetview allows a more robust and dynamic experience by transforming the map into a 3-D screen, which supports scrolling and 3-D buildings.
- It gives real-time data of the journey, like ETA and alternative routes.
- The latest version of Google Maps has an extension in-built which will redirect you to cab book services directly, should you choose for it.
- It supports the discovery of local places and most of the data can be added and edited by anyone.
- It allows users to upload pictures and reviews about places they have visited, creating a database for anyone visiting that place afterwards.
- Offline maps offered by Google are nifty, but not perfect. They do not show labels and they need active internet connection from time to time to update.
- Offline maps, by default, are set to update automatically, which might burn a hole in your prepaid data services if you’ve not specified the data to be updated manually.
- Google maps do not offer a speedometer; hence, it requires frequent re-calibration to stay in route.
- The offline maps expire without an active internet connection in thirty days. So, the user has to keep a track of it in his calendar.
Offline Maps & Navigation
One of the top competitors of Google Maps, Offline Maps & Navigation definitely packs a bigger punch in the offline maps section. It is free to install on your device, however, in-app purchases are available here for premium services.
- It is supported by more than 200 countries.
- It preloads the data in the map to be used later. This is the most common technique used by all other offline maps provider.
- Navigation data used is Open Street Map data, which is updated regularly and it is the best in business for GPS services.
- The data is thoroughly detailed and crowdsourced. There are a million local places to discover.
- It has detailed layouts for lanes, by-lanes, traffic lights and even speed cameras.
- It has a built-in speedometer and notifies you if you go over the speed limit by 10km/hr.
- It has a gauge that calculates average fuel consumed and locates gas stations in accordance to its calculations. It also has an updated list of fuel prices.
- It has an extension which supports the sharing of real-time location via social media.
- Impressively, the app can also suggest parking spots and garages.
- The database it uses might be thorough but updates are less frequent. Most of the time, the application runs on an out-dated database.
- The maps application is not quite flexible and takes more than a good couple of seconds to re-calibrate and re-route through a new path, in case you miss a turn.
- Speed limits and traffic light timers are out-dated and often out of sync.
- Open Street Map data is the most often used database of this application, however, there’s no proof of it.
This application explores a new area, literally, even in the terms of navigation. This application is focused on topographical maps. It is a paid map with further in-app purchases. This is for the serious back-packers and hikers.
- It has a very wide database with detailed topographical information like altitude, weather, precipitation and grass-trails. This application is configured mainly for offline use.
- The downloaded data is stored safely in the memory of the device and it has no expiration date.
- The application features an offline integrated GPS service which transforms the device into a stand-alone handheld GPS device.
- It requires absolutely no internet connection or data service, provided that the map has been preloaded at an earlier point in time.
- The latest version of the application supports Android wear, which enables the wearer to check the stats with just a quick glance at his wrist.
- The map data is provided by a number of service providers like OpenStreetMaps, OpenCycleMaps, US Topo: Aerial photography, Canada Topo Maps, Marine Maps: NOAA RNC Nautical Charts etc. (Source Google Play)
- For an additional charge, there’s an option to install Accuterra maps, which is a very powerful map service.
- The app comes with a demo version.
- This map is solely meant for hiking trips and backpacking, so it is kind of not viable for urban navigation.
- The app is fairly pricey and most cannot afford it.
Be sure to check these apps in the Google Play store. These are three of the potential best GPS service apps not only for 2018 but till date.