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5 Best Alternatives For Google Maps

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Google Maps is a web based geographic mapping application and technology, which launched seven years ago on February 8, 2005, by Google Inc. It is available in all languages; hence it is Google’s multilingual applications.

Google Maps provides high-resolution aerial or satellite images for most urban areas all over the world and route directions up to four modes of transportation. Google Maps API is available for mobile phones as well.

Below is a screenshot of Google Maps showing every countries of the world

Google Maps

But Google Maps, and more specifically, Google Street View(which is a part of Google Maps), has recently come under scrutiny from various national agencies for issues related to privacy invasion and unauthorized snooping of Wi-Fi enabled users.

Though Google Maps is unarguably the best available geographical mapping application available today, one must take a look at the best available alternatives for Google Maps.

At the moment, The best alternatives for Google Maps are as follows:

  • Yahoo! Maps
  • Bing Maps
  • OVI Maps
  • WikiMapia
  • Bhuvan

1. Yahoo! Maps

Yahoo! Maps is one of the best alternatives to Google Maps developed by Yahoo! It is a free online mapping portal and its APIs are available for developer community too. Yahoo! Maps was launched on May 16, 2007. In Yahoo! Maps, data and Imagery were primarily supplied by “Cartifact Company”.

Here’s a screenshot of Yahoo! Maps showing every countries of the world.

Yahoo! Maps


2. Bing Maps

Bing Maps is the second best alternative to Google Maps. It is a fast and feature-rich web mapping tool developed by Microsoft. It provides the users with the ability to browse the street maps for many cities worldwide. The key features of Bing Maps include:

  • Road View
  • Street View
  • Aerial View
  • Bird’s-eye View
  • 3D Maps.

The 3D Maps enables the users to see the buildings in three dimensions. Roughly 68 cities worldwide can be viewed in 3D. Find below a screenshot of Bing Maps, showing all relevant countries of the world

Bing Maps


3. OVI Maps

OVI Maps is the one of best alternatives to Google Maps developed by NOKIA to provide navigation features to their mobile devices. It is a free application and can be downloaded from the OVI Store. For key cities of various critical International markets, Nokia OVI Maps are far more detailed than even Google Maps.

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It provides three map views one is Satellite view and second one is Terrain view and 3D Maps. You can also explore the places like Eat & Drink, Shopping, and Sights & Museums. The screenshot of OVI Maps showing every countries of the world

OVI Maps


4. WikiMapia 

WikiMapia is basically the Wikipedia of the Mapping world. It is editable by anyone and majorly run by volunteers who wants to add any new info to geographical areas around the world. WikiMapia takes raw geographical data from Google Maps but user edited layers and markings/milestones etc are exclusive to WikiMapia.

The whole functioning of WikiMapia and how it manages to grow its information base is quite similar to Wikipedia. Top level moderators keep looking for contributions that aren’t suitable or wrong, in order to revert the changes and keep the Open source location mapping clean and accurate. Though it isn’t as technically sound and restrictive as Google Maps or other privately run Mapping applications, WikiMapia still works well for getting raw information about any geographical area in the world. However, as it’s openly editable, you may come across instances where contributors have randomly marked things, making things less detailed and more clumsy.

WikiMapia


5. Bhuvan [India specific]

Bhuvan is a gateway to Indian Earth Observation, which allows the users to explore a 3D representation of the surface of the Earth developed by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). ISRO launched the initial release of Bhuvan on August 12, 2009. The latest release of Bhuvan is its beta version of its web-based 3D satellite imagery tool, which launched on August 12, 2011. It is available in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages. It is a freeware virtual mapping software application. It provides features like Bhuvan 3D Visualization, Bhuvan 2D Visualization, Thematic Data Dissemination and Pocket Bhuvan for mobile devices

This article is written by David Rice. He is based in UK and works for a company that helps business leaders find the ideal office to let location. He runs WhatAndroid and Price India blogs.



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David Rice is based in UK and works for a company that helps business leaders find the ideal office to let location. He runs What is Android and Price India blogs.

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    16 Comments

    • Dennis Rodriguez

      As far as my experience goes, Bhuvan needs to improve the quality a lot.

    • Lisa

      Thanks for sharing valuable post. I was not aware of OVI maps and Bhuvan maps. I would love to check it out. I hope it will give me better results from Google maps. For me the Wiki map is quite confusing and mostly I prefer Yahoo or Google maps.

    • Lemonade (Media Web Development Beijing)

      Here in China, Google is having licensing issues. Baidu, the main SE in China, is winning the war over Google although its algo is no as sophisticated as Google’s. Baidu recently released an alternative to Google Maps. It looks like kids’videogames. Pretty interesting visually speaking and surprisingly accurate (I found the building where I live). 

    • Jim

      Hi David,
      You seem to have missed the single best alternative to Google Maps, openstreetmap.com. In fact for my purposes I find it actually better than Google Maps. In my particular circumstances, I live in a country where map coverage on Google maps isn’t great: the Philippines. Openstreetmaps allows users to edit content themselves so its actually better than google maps in many areas. Look at the island of Boracay for example.
      In addition, there are many tools which use OSM data because of its generous open data licensing terms, and so I use it extensively for navigation whenever I visit a new area or country. I hope this helps.

      • Iligan

        Actually Google Maps also allows users to edit content through Google Map Maker. I also live in the Philippines (Iligan City, Lanao del Norte) and I have used Google Map Maker in the past to correct some Google Maps errors in our area.

        • Jim

          Sure, you can edit Google maps as well. With two important differences: first the edits go through a lengthy peer review process which means that the edits you make aren’t instant, like in OSM. Secondly, Google retains ownership of the maps, which means you aren’t truly free to use them, unless its through Googles licensing terms. These are minor irritations, but really the key is that the coverage in OpenStreetMap is just so much better in some places, that by comparison Google, Bing and Yahoo maps are all terrible. Check out Boracay for example.
          Anyway, my main point in mentioning this was to point out that maybe the article should be entitled “6 Best alternatives to Google maps”

    • Jasmine

      I like Google Maps the most, but these alternatives look good too. Seems like Yahoo! Maps is pretty easy to use also. 🙂

    • JamesW

      Great post, I personally use and love Bing Maps.
      Which one do you recommend also?

      thank you 

    • Aasma

      I’m a big fan of WikiMapia and I use it more than Google Maps.

    • Rahul

      Nice share David
      But google is best i am using google map when going outside. and bhuvan is new for me. 

    • Darshan | Goa Resorts

      Every option have their own identity and i don’t think so we will face any problem to use them and thanks for sharing because these are really good options to do in absence of Google Map.

    • Krishna

      Ovi Maps is the very must alternative for Google Maps, because its features is just fantastic. Great Post

    • Siddharth Syal

      WAZE is also a good alternative

    • Chiku | Tech Blog

      This is really a nice piece of information. I did try Bhuvan but did not meet the expectation. May be it will be do good in future release.

    • Amit Shaw

      Hey David Thanks for this post. WikiMapia and Bhuvan is new for me. I would love to try this 🙂
      Thanks for sharing it. 

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