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MAPS.ME vs Google Maps vs competitor apps

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
#1
My last few Caminos I have used MAPS.ME which worked well on the CF but not as well on the CP. I noticed a few other people using MAPS.ME rather than Google Maps. I was wondering what are people's thoughts are on MAPS.ME versus Google Maps and does anyone use other apps? I use MAPS.ME to estimate distances and to find facilities when in towns.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
2011-2017: Home(Germany) to SdC via Cologne-Taizé-Le Puy-Somport-Camino Aragones-Camino Frances
#2
I've never heard of MAPS.ME, thanks for the hint. I had a look at it, but it required me to choose a country, a town and a facility when opening the front page. I seldom use a map app to find facilities, instead I want to find the way e.g. through a town or where directions are hard to find. Thus I need an app which could show me a GPS track, much like http://www.locusmap.eu/ . I'm not sure MAPS.ME can do that.

So it comes down to what you would need such an app for. Google Maps has nearly unbeatable advantages as it is preinstalled on many devices, shows travel information if you need it, shows traffic information in real time and has its own map database. My quick view at MAPS.ME showed me that it relies obviously on OpenStreetMap data, am I right? If yes, the data quality is sufficent for many hiking trails/Caminos but not for all. When I crossed France from north-east to south-west, I came across many rural areas where the OSM map data was old or inaccurate. No big deal, but Google Maps was more complete in that regard.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#3
I have MAPS.ME on my smartphone but I normally use the GPS app called OSMand (IOS and Android) that works offline and uses maps from the Open Street Map project. Why OSMand? Because I got it first. The user interface drives me nuts at time though. I've been meaning to do a comparison between the two geared to Camino use but I have more prjects than time. Anyway they are similar and both use data from the Open Street Map project. OSMand is free for trial with a small number of downloadable maps and for a small cost you get unlimited maps.

There is a nice feature in OSMand useful for Caminos; it can be used to display Points Of Interest that are sites mentioned in Wikipedia. Like the OSM maps these Wikipedia POIs also can be downloaded so they can be read off line. Read more about these POIs and see a screenshot at this post on the forum: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/ios-apps-for-history-guide.43625/#post-450256

You can view downloadable tracks in both apps although the method of getting them on is different and one uses gpx format and the other uses kml/kmz. At least one (I forget which, maybe both) offers to download the next set of data when it notices that you are no longer in a mapped area.

I prefer these two apps over Google Maps because they show trails (if OSM has the data) and I haven't seen Google do that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#4

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
#5
What was it that didn't worked so well?


Maps.me can definitely show the KML tracks.
I think that the CF is well mapped in Openstreetmap as a international walk way and therefore when working out the best route by foot MAPS.ME by default route you along the CF. I suspect the CP is not similarly mapped in Openstreetmap.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#6
I think that the CF is well mapped in Openstreetmap as a international walk way and therefore when working out the best route by foot MAPS.ME by default route you along the CF. I suspect the CP is not similarly mapped in Openstreetmap.
I don't understand what happens in the background, but I have found KML files (e.g. on wikiloc.com) for the entire Almeria-Merida camino Mozarabe, as well as a number of variations from there. I would be very surprised not to find the CP at least as well documented. Maybe (?) if you are trying to create your own new route in advance, it is more complicated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#7
Mark, like I wrote earlier I want to do a comparison of OSMand and Maps.me (and I suppose I should throw in Google Maps too.) I decided to download Navarra into Maps.me (I already had that for OSMand) for a quickie compare with the three apps using Zabaldika as a target to show. Based on this it looks like Maps.me will come out the winner in a good test. Sorry but I don't want to do a writeup right now but I liked Maps.me for a number of reasons. I wish it had that Wikipedia database that OSMand has though.
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
#8
Mark, like I wrote earlier I want to do a comparison of OSMand and Maps.me (and I suppose I should throw in Google Maps too.) I decided to download Navarra into Maps.me (I already had that for OSMand) for a quickie compare with the three apps using Zabaldika as a target to show. Based on this it looks like Maps.me will come out the winner in a good test. Sorry but I don't want to do a writeup right now but I liked Maps.me for a number of reasons. I wish it had that Wikipedia database that OSMand has though.
I am just installing OSMand to see what it is like.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#9
Unless I am using these apps wrong, Google Maps was great in any place that had named streets. I relied on it to find my way from one point of interest to another, or to locate a specific address in any town or city.

However, when walking the Camino, in between incorporated places, I found Maps.me to be superior. It is better for following the Camino path out in the "boonies," and locating yourself relative to where you have been, and where you are heading.

To use maps.me correctly, you need to download a .kml / .kmz GPS track file file from the maps.me website. The app has a function to download maps to serve as a the background, on which the GPS track operates. You can download as little of a countries maps as you wish.

Use the search function above / right to look for .kmz files or .kml files. That is how I find mine. The Dutch Pilgrim Society has a lot of these files for free download. The text is in Dutch, but a map is a map.

Hope this helps.
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Porto - SdC - Finisterra 2011: E4 on Crete 2012: Le Puy - SJPdP 2013: Camino Madrid -> Del Salvador -> Primitivo 2014: European Peace Walk. 2015: Amsterdam - SdC & Barcelona -Burgos. 2016:Norte & hospitalero
#11
I tried both OSM and Maps.me but found Maps much easier to use. It does everything I need, is free. Both use OpenStreetMap (OSM) which works great. Also, if you see something missing you can report it easily or you can became an 'openstreetmapper' yourself. And it is a nice change from using all this google stuff.

In both it is quit easy to load other kml (maps.me) or gpx (osmand) trackfiles into it, or kml files with accomodation.
Check the site of the Dutch confraternity regulary. Some more Spanish accomodation files might show up later this year...
 

Oravasaari

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Fistera (2015), Leon to Fistera (2016), CF, Salvadore, Primitivo (2017), CF run/walk 2018
#12
I've never used on-line or even off-line maps on 3 caminos. Just follow the arrows! OK maybe if you are after seeking out off route antiquities/churches/points of interest etc then you might need it.

Ok. Yes, I got "lost" once for all of 20 minutes. It was liberating... :)

Usually I don't know what day it is so why would I need to know where I am?
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#13
I, too simply follow the arrows. However, when the weather deteriorates seriously, or my hips knees or ankles resonate in a chorus of "nada mas," it is nice to be able to know exactly where I am in relation to where I would like to be. It helps me plan forward.

Occasionally, I have to resort to taking a taxi or bus to finish the daily planned distance if my aging joints are simply too painful, even with pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medication and elastic braces. When I am presented with a challenge, I simply adapt and overcome.

I do not follow the GPS track. But I DO have it running in my pocket or belly bag. This way, when and if I need to refer to it, it is ready to tell me what I want to know.

Before I depart, I develop a MS Word table of my "walking plan." It has columns for date, day, destination, Km, elapsed Km, and Km remaining to Santiago. It also has columns for where I have reserved lodging for the night.

The table is orientated in landscape mode. I carry it in my cargo pocket, in the waterproof pouch with my credencial and national passport. I also leave a copy with my family so they know where I was expected to lay my head each night.

Where I do not have reservations already made, the lodging column also contains the phone numbers of several likely places TBD to stay that did not have online reservation capability. This way, I can ask an innkeeper to call the night before, or two nights out, to make a phone reservation on my behalf. My Spanish is improving, but is not yet fully conversational. In my experience, this always works.

Hope this helps.
 

Oravasaari

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Fistera (2015), Leon to Fistera (2016), CF, Salvadore, Primitivo (2017), CF run/walk 2018
#14
t2andreo - Horses for courses as they say.

Sure, if you have health or safety issues then go for it. But for most average walkers without health issues and wanting to get the most out of the freedom the camino offers then I'd say plan the least ( you never know what will happen, which route you will take, where you might decide to go next and when).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#15
OK maybe if you are after seeking out off route antiquities/churches/points of interest etc then you might need it.
A smartphone can insert GPS location information into pictures so you can later determine the location where the picture was taken. It takes awhile for the smartphone to get the location from satelites and this makes it a nuisance to turn the GPS feature on and then off for each photo. So if you leave the GPS feature always on you may as well run the map application too. If you use GPS bring a spare battery.
 
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Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
#16
A smartphone can insert GPS location information into pictures so you can later determine the location where the picture was taken. It takes awhile for the smartphone to get the location from satelites and this makes it a nuisance to turn the GPS feature on and then off for each photo. So if you leave the GPS feature always on you may as well run the map application too. Bring a spare battery.
I love this feature, it means you look back via Google Maps to exactly where you took a photo.
 
#18
My last few Caminos I have used MAPS.ME which worked well on the CF but not as well on the CP. I noticed a few other people using MAPS.ME rather than Google Maps. I was wondering what are people's thoughts are on MAPS.ME versus Google Maps and does anyone use other apps? I use MAPS.ME to estimate distances and to find facilities when in towns.
I guess I should really be on the Primitivo since I didn’t use any of them, just a silly little thing I grabbed in Saint Jean to sort of look at distances.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
#20
... does anyone use other apps? I use MAPS.ME to estimate distances and to find facilities when in towns.
I used OsmAnd+ on an Android 8” tablet to help me along the entire CF and to/from Muxia & Fisterra in 2017. I found OsmAnd+ to be extremely economical. It satisfied all of my needs, and its ability to use downloadable maps with associated POIs, and downloadable contour lines, were particularly useful in finding lodgings, sustenance, museums, laundromats, etc.

The CF and numerous other long-distance hiking routes were clearly identified on the downloaded OpenStreetMap maps that I used.

Using maps en-route, i.e. offline, obviously necessitates that the host Android device has a GPS receiver. Not all do.

Another factor to consider is the memory-space-demand of the downloaded maps and contour lines.

The latest version of OsmAnd for Android includes a set of concentric circles around the user’s I-am-here dot. The circles are marked with the radius distances, and the user can easily toggle the circles on/off. There is another new feature whereby when the user touches a point on the map, it momentarily shows the straight-line distance to the touched location. For me, these two features will be of great help when planning each day’s stage length, and/or deciding whether or not to visit that intriguing POI that is a bit off to the side of the trail. These straight line distance features are in addition to OsmAnd’s calculated follow-the-route distances.

I was much less satisfied with OsmAnd for IOS because at the time it was several design versions behind their Android offering.

I am planning to walk the CP this year. The CP shows as a discontinuous line on the OpenStreetMap maps. I will learn more about its CP accuracy as I stumble forwards.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#21
For the CF and a few other Caminos (can't remember which ones), WisePilgrim is a great app. It has a map with the Camino route clearly marked on it. You can watch your progress as you go, and this has been very helpful for me when walking through cities, where I am most likely to get lost. WisePilgrim also lists accommodations and connects you to Booking.com for those that take reservations.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#22
For those unfamiliar with the site of the Dutch Pilgrim Society (Nederlands Genootschap van Sint Jacob), click here. Google translate is in the top left corner.
Be careful that you have up to date tracks. The Dutch site has routes dated 13 March 2018. Significant changes were made to the Camino Ingles in April/May: before and after Pontedeume; after Mino; before Betanzos; before Sigueiro; most of the route from Sigueiro to SdC.

I came upon this rubric (from an old map found in New England) many years ago:

WARNING: Roads are shifted, houses burn, are abandoned or rebuilt; a round world distorts a flat map; man’s memory is fallible; expect not exactness.

It has been my (mapping) guidance ever since.
 

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