The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

shutterstock smartphone gps   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For AndroidGoogle Navigation for Android is one of the best map solutions you can get in the palm of your hand, but what if you don’t have a data connection? Whether you’re traveling abroad, using a Wi-Fi-only Android tablet, or just looking to use less data on your phone, you can use one of these map applications to see where you are and get navigation directions.

If you start digging through Google Play for offline GPS apps, you’ll find a lot of poor-quality free apps and high-quality apps that cost money. We’ve done the digging for you and found the best free options

Google Maps

Google Maps has built-in support for offline maps. This feature lets you download a map area to your Android, so you can view it without a data connection. This was previously a labs feature with a variety of bugs, but it’s now solid and stable.

However, there’s one significant limitation: Only map tiles are downloaded. You can’t search for points of interest or get navigation directions offline.

To download a map area for offline use, launch Google Maps, tap the menu button, and select Make available offline.

google maps offline   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

Zoom and pan around the map with your fingers until the map area you want to use offline is within the square. When it is, tap Done.

Google Maps will download the map area for offline use. You can view your offline maps by opening the My Places screen and swiping to the Offline category.

google maps download offline map area   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

While offline, you can open Google Maps and use your GPS to see where you are, including a detailed map of nearby streets and some landmarks. While you can’t get directions while offline, you can ask for directions while you’re online and then go offline, using the directions to get where you’re going without a data connection.

OsmAnd

OsmAnd is a full GPS application that offers turn-by-turn directions and an offline point-of-interest database. It also has other features that you might be accustomed to from GPS devices, including spoken directions.

OsmAnd uses OpenStreetMap data. You’ll need to download map files to your device when you first use the app. The free version allows you to download ten map files for free, which should be more than enough for most people.

osmand main menu   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

OsmAnd allows you to navigate to locations by address or by searching a point-of-interest database. It will also speak turn-by-turn directions to you so you can follow them while driving, just as you could with a dedicated GPS unit. OsmAnd isn’t just for driving, but also offers walking, biking, and some public transit directions.

osmand navigation   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

Navfree

Navfree is another free offline GPS app that depends on OpenStreetMap data. Like OsmAnd, it offers turn-by-turn directions, offline point-of-interest search, and spoken directions.

Its main screen looks very similar to a dedicated GPS unit. Some of the features, like the Google Search feature, require a data connection, but the basic map-viewing, navigation and point-of-interest features don’t.

navfree main menu   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

Both OsmAnd and Navfree are solid, well-put-together, and full-featured apps. They use the same map data, so which app you prefer will depend on which interface you like best.

navfree offline android navigation   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

More Options

The above options aren’t the only offline map apps for Android. If you’re looking for a simple offline map app that isn’t Google Maps, try MapDroyd. MapDroyd uses the same OpenStreetMap data as Navfree, but it doesn’t provide point-of-interest or turn-by-turn navigation features. It’s a small, simple application — it’ll show you a map and display your location on it.

MapDroyd’s strength is its small map data. It also lets you download smaller areas of map data instead of entire countries, saving space on your device’s storage. While point-of-interest search isn’t available, you will see some locations and landmarks if you zoom in far enough.

mapdroyd map   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

If you’re travelling — or you happen to live in a big city that’s supported — TripAdvisor’s travel guides are also excellent, free apps. They can be used entirely offline and include maps with GPS and the ability to display nearby useful landmarks, from subway stations and ATMs to restaurants and attractions. These apps even include reviews so you can read up on a restaurant before dining there, and full maps of subway lines in the area so you can easily find your away around — all offline.

tripadvisor offline map   The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android

We’ve also covered some other offline map apps for Android. PC users can try GMapCatcher to download and view maps on their PC without an Internet connection.

If you’re looking for more great Android apps, check out our list of the best Android apps. We also have a full guide to Android — free!

Have you tried any of these apps, or do you know a better one? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Image Credit: Smart Phone Navigation via Shutterstock

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90 Comments -

l3gion

Tmn Drive :D

l3gion

I forgot to mention that Chris, that is only free with Portugal Maps. :(

Anyway, this is a “copy” of NDrive, but with a free Portuguese Map.

regards

Fredrik

Sweet! This just solved my problem when heading to Portugal in a few weeks. Thank you!

Zack

Do any (or all) of these store the cache on the SD card if the app is on internal memory?

Chris Hoffman

I believe that MapDroyd and Navfree do! I don’t think Google Maps does.

Tug

I prefer Waze over the ones listed. However it requires a data connection so I guess that disqualifies it.

Vishnu

I use maps (-) for Android. It also stores cache in SD card and have multiple map sources

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=coderminus.maps&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvZGVybWludXMubWFwcyJd

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for the recommendation. It seems a bit on the complicated side, but it does offer many more map types.

Farid

map(-) looks interesting, good reviews, im downloading it now. i too use WAZE, and its nice, very community, and if you want to make it work offline, just view the entire map area that you need to travel to, (it will cache) it, then go offline, that actually works, and for a free production, navigation works offline via this way..

in singapore, google navigation is not available, but by rooting and getting from xdadeveloper, i got google navigation to work, but it needs to be online *sigh*

Chris Hoffman

Google Nav doesn’t work offline anywhere, sadly.

I tried Map(-) but wasn’t impressed, perhaps it improved?

Noel

Who says that? I am on PAYGo plan with no data and I use navigation all the time. I have HTC One X. AFAIK, majority of new phones have A-GPS then why do you need the data? Google Nav (Navigation) can use A-GPS to connect to satellites.

garmin nuvi 1300

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kainaga

does mapdroyd have malaysia map and does it need internet connection to open it?

Chris Hoffman

It does appear to have a Malaysia map. You’ll need an Internet connection to download the map from within the app, but after that it works with no Internet or data connection required.

Wanna_try2

What about sygic? Its free and a good offline gps app too

Chris Hoffman

Sygic is awesome. I tried it and it blows everything here away.

Unfortunately, it’s only free for 7 days, and then it costs money. Still, if anyone’s looking to shell out for a GPS app — give Sygic a go.

Ganoes

What about Navigon? Have you tried it? Better than Sygic?

Thx

Chris Hoffman

I haven’t tried it, but it looks pretty good. It’s another professional app (by Garmin, which makes dedicated GPS units).

FADY

THANXXXXXXXX THAT WAZ GR8 REVIEW BY X PERT :))

naylinaung

offline gps get.

Jean-Claude

No mention of OruxMaps? I’ve used it in the past and it was great! But my phone got stolen so I’m looking to see if it is still recommended or if there is something new and better…

Jean-Claude

BTW, I use it mostly to tag interesting spots to visit while on vacation in Europe. I save the maps with different “zoom levels” on the phone and import my travel KMZ files from Google Earth into the application.

I also use it as a “tracker” or “logger” to keep a trace of where I’ve been (to georeference my pictures).

Is that “Sygic” overkill for my use? Or can I just use on of the recommended apps from your article?

Thanx!

Chris Hoffman

I’ve never come across OruxMaps before. It looks like you have to use a desktop app to get offline maps?

I’ve never imported KMZ files or anything that fancy– I don’t know if these apps can actually do that. I just use it as a simple GPS map that shows me where I am occasionally.

Sygic has a free trial, so the good news is you can play with all the options and see which you prefer.

Silent Elektron

Hey Chris,
I installed navfree app on my galaxy nexus. but when I open it it says, update your app to download the maps. but i had downloaded and installed the latest version. Any idea what the problem might be?

Chris Hoffman

That’s odd — assuming the app is installed, you should be able to open it, tap the circular icon and then tap Upgrades to download maps. If this doesn’t work, I’m not sure what the problem is. I don’t have a Galaxy Nexus to test this out, sadly.

Silent Elektron

Hey Chris,
I just checked the play store. There was one more version which was released few days after I downloaded the app. That is supporting the maps download. I dont understand why they do this. Not to support the just previous version! I tested it out today morning. For a free app, this works amazing! :)

Anyways, thank you for the reply! :)

Chris Hoffman

In case anyone’s reading these comments and looking for better apps, check OsmAnd out: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.osmand&hl=en

I just discovered it. It looks new — I don’t think it existed when I wrote this post. It uses OpenStreetMap data, has directions, and a points of interest database. In comparison to the two other OpenStreetMap apps here, OsmAnd has a slicker interface.

Miles

OsmAnd is free only for the first 16 map downloads.

Chris Hoffman

Hm, I didn’t notice that limitation because I don’t need anywhere near that many maps. Thanks for chiming in!

Sanderd17

Well, free for the first 16 map downloads, but it’s legal to circumvent this.

If you get the nightly from their site, you have just as much features as the paid version (you’re only missing the automatic updates through the Market).

They just ask you if you could buy the donate version to pay for their map servers.

I would like to see a comparison Navfree-OsmAnd though. As they both have access to the same data, it’s really a battle on best features.

Chris Hoffman

Personally I preferred OsmAnd’s interface — interface may be more important than features for most people if both have the basic features down.

bro po

Hey, I was wondering if you could use the maps downloaded in Mapdroyd in Mapfree by just moving it into the right folder. I thought because they both get their maps from the same site that they would likely be in the same format. This way you can download smaller sections of maps such as just Alberta and BC. I will try it and post back.

another thing, does osmAnd only work without data connections for short distances as it says? that would kinda suck.

Chris Hoffman

In Navfree? I’m not really sure, it’s possible — but it’s also possible that each app has its own special format and you might have to name the files correctly. Depends how the developers did it. Let us know how it works for you!

I just asked OsmAnd for offline driving directions from just outside of Vancouver to Kamloops — a 381 km journey. It worked fine! Took a little while to crunch the directions, though.

Sanderd17

You won’t be able to interchange map files. OSM data is in unsorted XML format. Which is really huge (250GB to be exact) and you have to read the entire file to find something. – Therefore, the apps that use the data need to compile it to a custom format, they need to include their own indexes etc so it’s not to big on your device and fast enough to query certain features.

user46

can i use this on my samsung galaxy 4.0

Chris Hoffman

Sure, should work fine!

user46

can i use this with my samsung galaxy 4.0

Chris Hoffman

Yup, they don’t need an Internet connection, so they’re particularly useful for devices without cellular data connections! Tablets, too.

bob_southall

Hi I have tried most of these “offline GPS” apps and they all make the GPS acquisition run that slow that it renders the unit useless. I just waited 45 min to get a lock. Fortunately I also have a Nokia which does the job in seconds and runs with no network connection like a dream…Guess which ones getting the boot if an upgrade is not available soon!

Chris Hoffman

Sounds like a problem with your Android device or model, I think. It acquires in seconds on my device.

Indra Lesmana

Hey!, can you tell me what spesific android version that’s compatible with your recommended apps? Is it works on Xperia X10 mini?

Chris Hoffman

You should be able to click through to the links and Google Play itself will tell you whether each device is compatible. Looks like OsmAnd and MapDroyd will work for you, but Navfree needs a newer Android operating system version.

Bri

Ohhhh, but I love Co Pilot for Android. A great off-line SD card map GPS app!

Chris Hoffman

Yup, there are some good paid GPS apps (never tried Co Pilot, though). Honestly, if you’re going to use a GPS app for navigation, it might be worth paying for one. The paid ones do seem significantly higher quality, from what I can see.

Chris Hoffman

(The offline ones, that is — Google navigation in Google Maps is great if you have a data connection.)

BB

Copilot Live USA doesn’t update their maps very often. My house is two years old, with the surrounding development being over three years old, and it doesn’t display any of the streets in my area. That’s not unique to my area, though. I’ve seen a lot of other locales missing, too.

Alex

What about other apps, like MapsWithMe?

Chris Hoffman

Looks pretty good — appears to have no search and no navigation though, so I think OsmAnd wins out.

Rich

Since no one else has mentioned it I’ll recommend Locus ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=menion.android.locus&hl=en ) which has free and paid for versions. You can get a (free) add-on map pack that gives you 20+ choices of map layer, from Ordnance Survey (the ultimate UK map) to Google Maps to OpenstreetMap.

Also (& this is the important bit) it’ll let you use vector maps. There is either a built in shop or you can source your own. This is fantastic because lets face it who wants to carry about 3gb+ worth of map data when you can get the same detail for under 500mb. Yes disk storage is cheap but mobile storage is not (yet).

Chris Hoffman

That also looks like a pretty decent option! Thanks for chiming in.

Chris Hoffman

Google just updated Maps for Android with offline navigation (!), so this article may be totally out of date. Check it out: http://google-latlong.blogspot.ca/2012/06/go-offline-with-google-maps-for-android.html

Chris Hoffman

Nope, looks like there’s still no offline navigation — it’s just improved offline support. It’s nice for many people, but if you need offline directions/location search or more maps than just a few metro areas, you’ll still need a third-party app.

armin

looks like navfree doesn’t have a Philippine map available :( but mapdroyd has one :)

Chris Hoffman

Don’t forget to try the new Google Maps offline feature, too! It seems to work better.

somebody

WRONG! Navfree is not a FULL offline GPS app. It’s basically useless because you can’t use the navigation feature offline. You need a data connection in order to search for an address. If you can’t search for an address, it makes navigation pretty useless!

Chris Hoffman

Kind of. Address search needs a data connection. However, the point of interest database does not need a data connection. However, the point of interest database may be fairly incomplete (depends on your location).

sweety

ilike this

Devendra

Hi Chris,

Does any one of these offline app can be used for my HTC XE?

aurel

for mapdroid… when ia try to download maps it always get stuck without finishing download… any ideas why? Motorola xt720

Chris Hoffman

Not sure, never experienced that problem -= I’d try the new Google Maps built-in offline feature, though. It’s actually solid now. OsmAnd, which I mentioned and linked to in the comments above, is also another good option.

Chris Hoffman

They should work, you have a recent enough version of Android — the only way to know for sure is to try it out for yourself!

adrian oberc

Hi Chris, thanks for the list. I’m visiting Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Rockies) in August and am looking for an app that will provide me with
– offline functionality (data charges abroad are a rip off)
– map(s) for the above areas (so that I know where I am)
– points of interests (attractions/pub/restaurants etc)
– directions (using GPS) walking and driving (to help me finding where I am and how to get where I want to be:)

It looks like OsmAnd is ticking all the boxes. I like Google Maps but it does not do points of interest or directions I think. I know it’s slightly off the topic but have you used Vancouver City Guide TripAdvisor? Will try it out (and look for some other alternatives) as soon as my phone comes back from repair (damn Sony with their ICS roll out). Otherwise I would have to carry loads of (heavy:) travel guides etc. Cheers

Chris Hoffman

OsmAnd is good. Bear in mind that its point of interest database is incomplete, though.

Google Maps has good offline support except for point of interest search — however, you can go online to get directions and then use the directions offline. If you’re wandering around downtown Vancouver or somewhere like that, you can always stop by a coffee shop to get Wi-Fi and do a search.

I bet paid GPS apps (I’ve heard good things about Sygic) will have better, more comprehensive offline point of interest databases. If I were you, I’d try OsmAnd and see how many points of interest it’s aware of in your destination areas.

I’ve never tried the TripAdvisor app, but it seems to have good reviews and TripAdvisor has been a great website, in my experience — so I’d give it a tentative thumbs up.

Have a good trip! Vancouver is a great city.

tas

Hi Chris, and thanks for all the info!
I am a bit confused of what’s the verdict of Google Navigator today, after the upgreats. Does it still provide a free, offline navigator with address location etc?
Also, the vector maps that someone mentioned is a good thing to have. Does google maps support it?

all the best,
tas

Chris Hoffman

I believe Google’s offline maps are vector maps.

The new Google Maps provides stable offline support — it’s out of beta, it’s easy to use, and it shouldn’t automatically delete maps anymore.

However, you can only navigate online — you can see where you are on a map offline, but you can’t plug in an address and get directions unless you’re online.

That said — you can get directions offline and use Google Maps after that. It will remember the directions and you’ll be able to use it as a GPS en route to your destination.

For my purposes, it’s awesome. If you want offline address search and directions, you’ll need another GPS app.

canamm

I downloaded navfree. It’s OK for the money but I really like a GPS that will take a house address. This won’t. It will only take me to a cross street. I’ll pay for sygic.

Chris Hoffman

Yeah, it seems like that’s a feature you have to pay for — offline gps with an address database. I couldn’t find any app that provided it.

borces

I found one very nice off line navigation program ( beta version).
It’s MapFactor Navigator https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mapfactor.navigator&hl=en .
Works with offline OpenStreet map with coverage for whole world.

Chris Hoffman

Looks pretty decent! Uses OpenStreetMap data like the others, though, so its point of interest database will be similar. Nice that it has navigation, though.

Reza

I want to know if there is any application that can be used on cell phone that is as capable as Cars’ navigation system. I mean can speak out the direction. If there is any please let me know any probable differences between the app and the navigation system. Thanks.

Chris Hoffman

I’m not sure if there are — I haven’t come accross that feature yet, I don’t think. I bet a paid application would have that feature, so you may want to look at Sygic or Garmin Navigator. It’s a slicker experience, but you pay for it.

Rob Wood

Thank you. Found your site, and will try Osmand, Navfree and Google Offline for my Europe trip.

Chris Hoffman

I’m not sure if OsmAnd is really optimized for cycling directions, from what I could Google up.

Here’s a tip from a fellow Nexus 7 user: You have $25 of Google Play credit so it may be worth buying a paid app. Sygic seems well reviewed, unfortunately it looks like you have to buy on their website..

Google Maps offline navigation is workable if you plug in the directions ahead of time. I’ve done that while cycling; it worked. Obviously if you need new turn-by-turn directions on the route, it won’t help unless you can find Wi-Fi.

Damon Osborne

Seems many many maps but I want to plug a sat antena into my andoid (Momo 8 Bird Ice cream sandwich) tablet.
Ideally Usglobalsat BU-353 but problems rampant. No interface with droid or OTG USB. Can you genii come up with an answer for an old Ex techie.
Makeuseof is endlessly interesting. Great achievment. Thank you.
Damno

Chris Hoffman

I’m not sure if this is possible, sorry — although I’m not familiar with the Momo 8 Bird.

I know that some other tablets (Nexus 7) support USB OTG so they should work.

secret

Try the free version of Route66. It kick ass!

gary

do MapDroyd support navigation in malaysia ?

Chris Hoffman

MapDroyd doesn’t have navigation (it just shows you where you are on a map, shows you nearby street names, etc).

That said, it does have maps for Malaysia.

gary

do MapDroyd support malaysia for navigation ?

Ravinder Singh

You forgot to mention OsmAnd. I found it great and on top of the list. I have tried almost all free GPS navigation apps but OsmAnd is really nice. Try it and provide your feedback.

Chris Hoffman

I mentioned OsmAnd in the comments — unfortunately, OsmAnd wasn’t released when I wrote this post.

At the moment, I’d say OsmAnd is my favorite dedicated app.

The default Google Maps app’s improved offline support is also pretty awesome, but offers no offline navigation.

nigel kernick

Seems to be a good collection of smartphone GPS know-how in this discussion. I’m wondering if anyone has come across an Android application like the iOS app “Bit Map”? Basically it lets you take any image file, and import it into the app by defining the datum (eg. WGS84) and lat/long for each corner of the map/image. Thanks in advance

Chris Hoffman

Hm, never used anything like that. A quick Google reveals some people comparing Androzic ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.androzic&hl=en ) to Bit Map.

The Google Play page says you can create your own maps with Androzic, so maybe it will work for you! Let us know how it goes if you give it a try.

Alex

Wonder why You left out NavDroyd? It’s a version of MapDroyd however does provide turn-by-turn navigation in both 3d and 2d
It also uses the same OpenStreetMap which you
can download

Gene

I have NavFree on my tablet, thought it would be helpful since I moved from North America to Eastern Europe. It is a very frustrating program, it doesn’t have a simple ‘find my location’ feature. Support is poor, they do not reply to inquiries. Then again, it is free. Checking out OsmAnd right now. Thanks for the article!

DaveatClifton

I tried Navfree on my Pantech Crossover and it crashed a lot (usually when entering destination info) and did not handle street addresses well…didn’t accept house numbers. When it did know a location, it worked great…but more often then not, it wouldn’t accept the destination.
-Dave

zarmani

Hi Chris
Does Navfree work for Hwawei U8812d with android 2.3.6