Guide to GPS navigation with /e/ os

Hi fellow /e/ os users. Just wanted to jot down my thoughts on GPS navigation on de-googled platform. This is at least partially, if not completely, targeted toward people interested in using /e/ os as their daily driver, but concerned about giving up Google maps navigation. Also, I live in the USA. I cannot speak for how well these experiences translate to Europe, or other parts of the world. Please add your experiences too!

So you want to go de-googled platform, but the prospect of giving up the convenience of google maps is daunting. Have no fear, the landscape of GPS navigation on a murena phone is rosey and bright!

Magic Earth (/e/ os default navigation app):
I have grown to like magic earth quite a bit. The experience is more akin to traditional GPS platforms like a Garmin or Tomtom. As a navigation app, it is very capable. The only drawback is searching for locations within the app is very hit or miss (although it has gotten significantly better in the 2+ years I have been using it). Often times you have to search for an address separately and then punch it into magic earth. It is not an open source app, but /e/'s advanced privacy detects no trackers and no data leaks.

GMaps WV:
This little app can be installed via f-droid and is a game changer imo. All it is is a restricted web viewer for Google maps. This app solves the above problem with Magic Earth. If a search directly in magic earth doesn’t yield results, just open GMaps WV, find the location, and then copy-paste into Magic Earth. Problem solved. No trackers or leaks detected by advanced privacy.

Organic Maps (the oss option):
Organic Maps is an open source navigation app available through f-droid. It uses data from OpenStreetMap. I have only limited practical experience with Organic maps, but I did test it around town just to see what it is about and my initial impression is that it is quite capable. I believe Organic maps + GMaps WV would also be a viable option for navigation on your murena phone.

Waze (last but not least):
This option will probably be unappealing to those of you that are very privacy conscious. However, if you are like me, and happy with a balanced approach, waze is a strong option. What do I mean by a “balanced approach”? Waze does have trackers. Over the past month of using Waze, advanced privacy detected 4 trackers and blocked 272 leaks. However, the app works fine with tracker blocking on. /e/ os also gives you the option granting waze location access only while the app is in use. This is what I mean, using an app with trackers with /e/'s avanced privacy tracker blocking. Is this good enough? That is for you to answer for yourself. For me, I explored Waze as an easier adjustment away from google maps for my wife. Waze is, at worst, only marginally less user friendly than google Maps navigation, in my experience. Searching locations directly works near flawlessly, and it comes with more “google maps-esque” features than magic earth. I see my wife using an app like waze on /e/, far better than having a google android phone, even if it is not perfect from a privacy standpoint. If this is you, don’t let the convenience of google maps navigation stop you from trying a murena phone. Give waze a try, I don’t think you will be unhappy overall.

Overall, my long term solution will likely be Magic Earth + GMaps WV. I have used Magic earth for over 2 years and it hasn’t let me down. I have used it on many business trips in unfamiliar places and have grown to like it. I am curious to keep an eye on Organic maps though and see how it progresses.

I am curious what the community thinks. Please share your experience with GPS navigation on /e/ os!

Hope this was helpful!

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/OS the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

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OsmAnd (think the most popular one) and Osmin.

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Osmand looks pretty similar to organic maps. I’ll have to try it out!

I also find the open source maps somewhat quirky, especially the searches.
I suppose that is what happens when huge companies are not stealing all your data. There is not the budget to fix such things.
@irrlicht , i can not find osmin, what does it do?
Does anyone have a good solution for sharing live (real-time) location?

Osmin (from the IzzyOnDroid repo) is similar to OsmAnd, it also uses free OSM maps and allows map download for offline use but has some less features and a simpler GUI, in my opinion it’s a bit more intuitive and does the job very well.

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Excellent post.
I agree with what you said.

Magic Earth is a good privacy caring solution WITH offline maps AND real-time traffic data and rerouting !

Organic map is well developped, has a nice interface and is open source, though it does not have live traffic data and neither has the contour lines and shading and 3D that OSMAND~ has.

So in the end I would rather advise using OSMAND~(from F-droid, to have contour lines, shading and 3D terrain and unlimited offline maps for free) than Organic map.

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:+1: … not widely known enough and therefore repeated and strongly seconded.

  • OsmAnd : restricted free version built for the Play Store
  • OsmAnd+ : unrestricted fee-based version built for the Play Store
  • OsmAnd~ : unrestricted free version built for F-Droid

I’m using OsmAnd~ for years now without much trouble, and I’m keeping GMaps WV around for a second opinion and live traffic information if needed.
OsmAnd’s UI and abundance of features are not everybody’s favourite cup of tea, though.

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Yeah I tried OsmAnd~ from F droid this morning on my way to work and it worked well. I might try using it for a bit and see how I like it. Off the hop, it is similar vibe to Organic Maps.

Anyone has experience with Here WeGo? This already used to be my navigation app on a Googled Android but can’t get it to work on /e/os Android Auto. :frowning:

Yeah I am not sure about here wego. I have never used it. I am also not sure about android auto. I don’t own a car that even has it, so I just use the gps right on my phone.

Does it work on e os, just not with android auto? Or does it not work on e at all?

I used to use Here we go quite a bit and I liked it mainly because it was good for navigating offline. I tried it on my current device (Teracube) and unfortunately I have to say it’s been glitchy and slow.

Here we go app earns money by selling your privata data unlike magic earth.
If you use /e/OS-Murena then it makes sense to use magic earth (or osmand)

I totally second OsmAnd~, but also wish to mention, in France, the free but not open-source ‘Cartes IGN’ that features many national maps including one with satellite pictures ‘a la google’

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I feel like Magic Earth used to have satelite and no longer does for some reason. I didn’t use it that much, but now that I look I can no longer find the option to turn satelite on.

Not navigation related, but I also found an app on app lounge called Maps Measure. It uses googe maps data and lets you measure distances and areas. It has a 10/10 privacy rating on app lounge and Ive never had the advanced privacy detect any trackers.

Maps Measure
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.j4velin.mapsmeasure

Edit: The description does say it is open source. It’s not on F-droid though.

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In case you are missing satellite pictures in OsmAnd~ …

  • Menu
    • Configure map
      • Overlay Map: …
        • On
        • Overlay map
          • Add more…
            • Microsoft Earth
        • set transparency and map symbols as you wish

If you prefer Google images, here’s something to try … https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/osmand-with-google-earth/94263

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Maps.me was open source but objected to being in F-Droid. I don’t know if it still is open.

Edit: it became OrganicMaps

The maps.me that still exists on play store has a 0/10 privacy rating on app lounge :confused:

I don’t know how reliable those ratings really are, but I usually check them just to see what they say. By comparison waze is 7/10, which surprised me.

Apparently it was sold about 4 years ago, which is why it was forked.

Thank you. I have issues getting OSMAnd to work as well. Though I haven’t spend that much time on it to be honest. I use the OSM maps together with OpenTracks happily, but I don’t need navigation when running :relieved:

I thought Here Wego was pretty OK, based on oldish this report and its 8/10 privacy ranking in the App Lounge (though even Waze gets 7/10 and Google Maps Go even 10/10). I will make a separate post on getting Here Wego to work I think.