'Maps' aka MagicEarth (by generalmagic.com) trustworthy?

Dear e-comrades,

does anyone have reliable information about this app or, more specifically, the company behind it?
It’s a quite sophisticated and complex product and the websites of the product and company are well maintained. You cannot keep this alive with a few volunteers at home. So, despite of their statement to be strictly privacy focused, where do the employees reside and what’s the busines model that pays them out?
Tried to get a picture by looking up the company addresses with google street view and was pretty much puzzled:

Romanian address unlocatable(?),
NL address shows nothing that suits, but shop and storage buildings.
Looking at the company (https://www.generalmagic.com/contact/) you see the same addresses plus one more, this third CH address looks strange as well…



Good question. I would also like to know about the shady source of the appstore, the weather app and the weather widget that nobody likes. It would be important to have a bit of transparency with them since /e/ doesn’t let us uninstall them.

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I’m not sure what you are talking about. Unlike Maps there the source is available of Weather https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/apps/Weather and Apps https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/apps/apps under a free license. That is very transparent. And I do like the widget.

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Semi relevant discussion here around MagicEarth. Didn’t seem quite as promising as hoped.


I’m not an expert on this sort of software, but aren’t there any FOSS alternatives with similar functionality?


Is probably the best fully FOSS equivalent (available on F-Droid etc). I think Magic Earth is slightly more polished for car driving though.


OSMAnd+ is on F-Droid would be a better choice than MagicEarth. I have used it for navigation in the past, although it is not exactly intuitive.


I don’t know how it is now, two years ago the routing of OSMAnd+ was a joke. Also important is the traffic situation to avoid traffic jams. Can OSMAnd+ do that in the meantime?

I don’t drive so I see things from a different perspective. All I can say is that it has been adequate for my needs.

I’m not talking about the code of these apps but about the sources providing these services and what they do with our data.
It’s good that you like the weather widget because even if you wouldn’t, you couldn’t remove it…

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I would guess magic earth is a showcase application for the other paid products the company makes (an maps SDK and a dashcam SDK) https://www.generalmagic.com/pricing/

According to the openstreetmap wiki they are a continuation of the paid route 66 navigation app.

Could be, but they need some people to do this business. Where do they work?
Checking the street addresses with google street view shows no signs of an appropriate office location. Either their buildings are so news that streetview is outdated, or something is strange. Anyway…

Well the Romanian office location does seem to exist:

google streetmaps office location

(a bit old streetmap data though, it has the old route 66 company logo)

I bought OSMAnd+ (where you can use more than 10 Maps) in the Google Play Store to find out

  • it does not work as sideload on an Android phone (FP2) without Google Account,
  • nor does it on /e/, most likely because the rights administration is bound to a Google Store.

Which is somewhat … strange for the leading open source application using OSM data. Still using the “normal” OSMAnd on my /e/ in addition to “Magic Earth”, but Magic Earth has an order of magnitude better usability, especially when it comes to navigation. Don’t have a car either, but I use it for bicycle rides when I’m abroad.
If somebody could tell me how to get OSMAnd+ (Plus!) running on /e/, I nevertheless would be grateful…

The paid version (OsmAnd+) is available for free (OsmAnd~) in F-Droid or in Apps.

What I don’t understand is why no one of the /e/ staff shows up to defend their choice of MagicEarth.


The reason why Magic Earth was selected can be seen here. Our understanding is that there are no better options available for now. If there are better Maps solutions available which work in most countries feel free to share suggestions.

A friend of mine is a huge fan of maps.me, which is not open source. The ratings in the app store are excellent. I dont know if such producers are potential partners for /e/ or not. Probably not? Its a dutch company, maybe there could be some kind of trustwurthy partnership through the folks of fairphone. …

How does the routing and traffic guidance compare to MagicEarth and Google Maps? This is the most important thing about a navigation application.

I tried OSMAnd+ again last week because of this thread. It already starts with the broken user interface with 1000 options and profiles. It must be easy to use in the car with just a few taps. And the traffic flow is bad.

While Magic Earth isn’t open-source, from using the application and from the disclaimed, it is clear that it does respect the user privacy for sure.
Still, an independent audio would still be ideal, if open-sourcing the application can’t be done.

The business model of the company is pretty simple : https://www.generalmagic.com/pricing/
They offer their map and Dashcam (?) SDK to be integrated in customer applications and services.
The Magic Earth application, mostly serve, as showcasing their ability and power of the service they offer.