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Ask HN: What are some alternatives to Google maps?
104 points by skies 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 68 comments

I made a site for Google alternatives this week called https://nomoregoogle.com.

The only real alternatives for Google Maps as a consumer are:

- https://wego.here.com/

- https://openstreetmap.org/

Alternatives for Google Maps embedded in your app are:

- https://mapbox.com/

- https://leafletjs.com/

- https://www.nextzen.org/

- https://www.mapcat.com/

There are lots more OSM-based alternatives for particular use cases.

For example, for a mobile app, try OsmAnd or maps.me. There are also 'niche' apps such as MapOut, which is an outdoor-focused iOS mapping app with gorgeous cartography.

Or for bike routing, try https://cycle.travel/map (disclaimer - my site), Komoot, CycleStreets or many others. OSM is historically very strong on walking and cycling, while being less focused than Google on car navigation.

openstreetmap.org itself expressly doesn't aim to be a consumer-facing website; it's principally a portal, community and editing interface for mappers. The OSM philosophy is "we provide the data, you take it and build the apps".

I have recently started using a MapTiler which has a great features for a reasonable prices. And also as an osm-based alternative i have to say it has really nice UX. https://www.maptiler.com

Apple recently launched MapKitJS: https://developer.apple.com/maps/mapkitjs/

Thanks for mentioning, I wasn't aware of it. Looks a great alternative to Google Maps

In the UK at least, Bing Maps is also excellent; it provides free access to Ordnance Survey 1:25000 and 1:50000 mapping, which is top quality. The OS maps are orthorectified for the Bing projection, so route plans line up properly.

Thank you for https://wego.here.com/ <3. I use their Android app, had no idea they had a web app to. And incidentally loads like 100x quicker than Google Maps.

I've used MapBox on an a few projects and absolutely loved the experience and API. But I kind of believe Mapbox is more of a "best tool of the job" type of alternative. (Meaning, I wouldn't use it for general purpose mapping. More like mapping out specific points of data.)

I would add https://openlayers.org to your second list if you're going to include leafletjs.

Thanks for making this, looks neat.

Quick observation, my votes dont seem to stick. (Most likely I am doing something wrong). How do I vote correctly?

Sorry that’s a bug with vote processing because I received some vote spammers, fixing now!


Thanks for quick followup there.

> https://wego.here.com

It doesn't work with uBlock Origin. Maybe this[1] is why.

[1] https://cl.ly/937a69631c0d - It's in Malvertising filter list by Disconnect.

Why is bing maps not a "real alternative" for consumers?


Mostly cause it's another BigTech company

Does it have an app for my phone? Can I download maps to my phone for offline use?

On my phone I pretty much use wego, as it has offline maps for free including navigation with public transport for many cities.

What about Apple Maps?

Any recommendation on an alternative for a well documented API similar to Google Places?

From a user-perspective definitely Waze. It provides a great voice assistant and live updates from other users. Other Waze users are on-screen and you can chat to them. Other users can report roadblocks, broken down cars, traffic jams, slow-downs and even accidents long before any radio station finds out about them. It has places you can go to which are more accurate than that of Google Maps. Plus, it also shows you speed cameras and your speed on-screen. The only downside is that it's really only for private transport only - no options to see routes and timings for walking, cycling or public transport.

From a library perspective, I think Mapbox is pretty good as it integrates with a lot of languages and it has a lot of smart decision making tools.

In addition to Waze being owned by Google, as mentioned by others, Waze pops up ads in the middle of trips which should never be tolerated by users. Waze also tends to make bad traffic worse by directing cars off high-volume roads onto low-volume roads, distributing gridlock everywhere and encouraging people to drive through residential neighborhoods or other areas that cannot support this type of traffic. And finally, Waze is not a general purpose mapping application, but a very specific one for driving. I think that's enough from me on this. :-)

Waze is a subsidiary of Google.

I say this because the typical driving force for seeking an alternative to a Google service is the fact that it's owned by Google.

I used Waze just yesterday, after a couple of years of only using Apple Maps, and was kinda surprised about how weird it was.

The map detail is quite low. It doesn't understand U-turns (turn left, then turn left), it doesn't give lane guidance.

The "watch out" warnings are quite useful though, I suppose.

Waze is pretty cool, especially with alerting to the presence of nearby speedgunning cops, but the battery drain is too much for me to tolerate, not to mention the obnoxious "integration" with Spotify.

Might be worth mentioning that Waze is a subsidiary of Google since 2013.

Does Waze have public transport navigation?

Just checked and no it does not seem that it does have public transport navigation. With that being said, you can select different transport types. Those are: Motorcycle, Private, Taxi.

Apple Maps. I’ve been using it as my primary maps app for about an year and it’s been pretty good. I live in the bay area so YMMV if you live somewhere else.

I've used the Apple Maps navigation during the last vacation in Spain (rental car did only support Apple car play), and the navigation desperately needs some love. The worst things are:

- no support for roundabouts: it's really hard to determine where you have to leave, and the spoken hints are not helping. Why not displaying a top view of the intersection/roundabout like other navigation devices do?

- no good support for leaving a highway. If the connection is non-standard the speech commands seem off/hard to understand. Top view again would help.

I tried to use it some time ago and visiting another city. I followed directions and after a bunch of left/right suddenly it instructed me to "drive west". This was on a pretty big street and as far as I can tell Apple Maps knew my location properly. Pretty fun.

Not sure about the second, but the lane guidance icon does change to show a diagram of which exit to take, and you should also see the 2.5D map with a blue line showing the route on the actual map.

Apple maps seems to have roundabout support in the Bay Area. Maybe they have not collected the data for Spain yet.

Unfortunately no public transport data in Switzerland in Apple Maps. Google Maps is hard to beat here

This is still my primary reason to use GMaps - I wish they would prioritize Public Transport in Apple Maps - SBB even provides an API they could easily use to get any schedule they need as far as i know.

Similar to "Ask HN: Inexpensive Google Maps Replacement?" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17952072 unless you point to specific needs yo have like distance matrix API, native iOS libraries, mobile offline capability, bulk geocoding, license restrictions, styling preference.

For replacing their web API, my cofounder and I started a company to address many of the issues with Google Maps, starting with price and privacy. We have more issues to address, but we offer the necessities now and have expansion plans. We offer map tiles, static maps, and routing. (We had a mutual client that needed maps and we found no good alternatives, so we built the one we wanted.)

Check us out at https://stadiamaps.com

For consumer maps, Apple Maps is decent, Bing isn’t awful, and openstreetmap.org can meet some needs.

As a startup without the time nor resources to roll our own stack, we went with the Mapbox tile server and the OpenLayers JS library for displaying to the end user.

Since maps are a big part of our project, and we keep a decent amount of Geo data, we'll have to set up our own servers once it becomes cheaper than paying Mapbox in terms of views.

It's surprisingly easy with the OpenStreetMap data and Mapnik to display nice maps (at least at the POC stage ;-).

We use GeoDjango with PostGIS to store and process our geospatial data.

For what? As a map provider API? As a geocoding API? As a consumer map app?

What do you need? Random examples:

Mapy.cz https://en.mapy.cz/

Bing Maps https://www.bing.com/maps

Wikimedia maps https://maps.wikimedia.org

TomTom mydrive https://mydrive.tomtom.com

I think people vastly underestimate the utility of Google's ability to do search queries for things completely unrelated to directions. There are plenty of great alternatives for mapping software, but ranking and actual search (without having to be exact) for the kind of restaurant/cafe/business you are looking for in a vague area around you is not something I've seen any good alternatives for.

That's the problem with a lot of Google stuff. You may be concerned about privacy issues but things like Google maps and search are just really, really good. Hard to replace them without loss of functionality.

HERE[0] or OpenStreetMap[1] are both pretty complete and good for a user and developer usage.

[0] https://www.here.com

[1] https://www.openstreetmap.org

HERE was flagged for me by Disconnect Malvertising filter in uBlock Origin.

I like Here except that, at least in Android, it seems to run as a background service most of the time. Because of this, I ended up uninstalling.

Try offline maps on android.

Here maps is fantastic in my opinion. I think you can download map data in google and others (maybe?) but in here it is a first class feature.

Hugely useful if you are traveling and without data.

For apps written in React, try pigeon-maps: https://pigeon-maps.js.org/

You'll need to find a tile server though. What to choose depends on your volume. Mapbox is the provider with the best tile quality to price ratio as far as I can tell...

Depending on your use cases OpenStreetMap may be suitable. For commercial use you probably need to set up your own servers but that can work to your advantage in that you're better insulated from random price hikes.

I tried OSM yesterday and it couldn't find my friend's house address in the map. Not that it couldn't navigate there - it said the location didn't exist. Google maps finds it right away.

House-level addressing is probably OSM's greatest weak point, principally because house numbers are insanely boring for volunteers to survey. Try entering the street/town name without the number.

Did you add the address? The beauty of OSM is that anyone can edit the data set.

For some things it's much better than Google, hiking trails and bike paths for example.

I love OpenStreetMap for exactly this reason. For some time, Google gave me directions to an expressway ramp that had me driving around the block until, I suppose, enough people went forward where it told them they had to turn. Because it was across a one way street, and the lane had a that jogged slightly right (wrong way for the one way), it skipped it. But this would have been easy to fix on OSM yourself.

How do I add an address when I don't know where is the place? I can add this friend's address, because I've been to his house before. But what about a new friend?

Ask your friend to add it ;-)

But more seriously the idea is that if enough people start contributing to the map, there's no reason it can't be as good as Gmaps.

It's already quite good, depending on your area. In some places the government has supplied the data, which is part of the reason some cities or countries are very detailed, while others much less so.

Then you can’t, I guess. It’s not a perfect system.

Mapy.cz is great especially for tourists. Also has an API with generous limits.

In Europe lots of countries have local mapping systems, geoportail.fr for example.

Here Maps was such an amazing service back in the days of Lumia phones. I hope they still doing good and can be an alternative https://mobile.here.com/?x=ep

Transit App for public transport route choosing and timetables. In fact, it is much better than Google maps for this purpose.


Mapbox if you are looking to integrate something into your website / app

Very sad that Apple maps do not provide transit for my area (Riga, Latvia).

Does anyone know a way to import bookmarks from google maps to Apple maps?

I second here maps. This is navteq maps of past. Last time I checked they were more accurate than Google maps.

I worked for the company few years ago.

Have a look on maps.yandex.ru

Gooogle map alteratives are Citymapper,maps.me, Bings map,here wego

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