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3 Best Open Source Navigation Apps

For some of us, the basic, oft-used navigation just aren’t enough. Travelers, cyclers, joggers, map-geeks and other route-conscious individuals are always looking forward to knowing more about their destinations – in foot-by-foot detail. Some of the best navigation apps offer just that by acquainting a device owner with the ultimate tools that offer traffic updates, bicycle routes, turn-by-turn directions, and even access to offline maps.

Fotolia_37877338_Subscription_XXLOpen source navigations are even more of a treasure, especially for developers who wouldn’t mind coding up their own additional “features”. Other times, people are just looking for reliable and up-to-date navigation apps to sift their way through a traffic jam.

So, here’s our favorite list of open-source navigation apps that are best for Android, iOS, Linux, and Windows users.

1)     MiniMap: This is an open source application using MIT licensing. You can easily download the source code. It supports linux-based phones and the users of Palm webOS. Although this is good application with tons of features (supports night mode, navigation mode, GPS position center mode, GPS position marker shows the heading if available, supports all zoom levels supported by the selected tile graphics set, supports free display orientation, supports night mode which displays the map with darker colors, supports full screen and allows enabling/disabling of various information, and more), its disadvantages include no POI overlay, routing, and address searching.

2)     OSM Maps and Navigation:  This is the perfect navigation app for Android users. Osm Maps and Navigation is one of the most popular open-source navigation apps. This is a map application that give a user access to free worldwide open street map (OSM) data including Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, North America, South America, Japan & Korea, Middle East, Africa, and Antarctica.

You may even use this offline since all map data can easily be stored (pre-downloaded) on your device. Your GPS-enabled device will allow this application to search for accurate routes for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. There is also an optical and voice guidance option. This means that you can activate turn-by-turn voice guidance and optical lane guidance. Street names will be displayed along with time of arrival, automatic re-routes, search option by geographical coordinates, address, or type of location (gas station, hotel, museum, etc).

The feature set of OsmAnd is extensive and impressive with separate map viewing, navigation, Wikipedia Data, Bicycle and Pedestrian, and safety features. OsmAnd can use both vector-based and tile-based layers making it easy for the user to contribute and update even where data is blank or out-of-date. OsmAnd contains a built-in editor that enables users to contribute their own versions of modified and updated maps. The offline feature is the best part since it not only saves the inconvenience to look up maps when you’ve lost data connection but also saves an enormous amount of battery space.

3)     gvSIG Mini: This one is for hard-core map fanatics. Even though OsmAnd has an extensive list of offerings for open-source map users, gvSIG mini is just as complex. The application supports multiple map sources including OSM and also allows users to display several layers of maps at once. For instance, you could be using a vector street map along with satellite images. Since this app supports WMS and WMS-C allowing customized map sets. This is compatible with both high screen and low screen resolutions. Although this application was primarily built for Android, it also supports Jave ME (including Symbian smartphones). Other features include Layer configuration downloader, Address and Points Of Interest search, Route-finder, Compass support and Navigation Mode, GPS, Cell and Network GeoLocation positioning, and other relatively technical features. 

 Author Bio: Lisa is fond of writing articles on career and leadership in order to help those who find difficulties in choosing career especially students. She also helps students with their coursework writing. You can add her to your circle on Google+


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