A nice Free-Software GPS navi app

Hello everyone, we are all waiting for the Librem 5 project and it seems that there is a native GPS application on the phone. Except that today many of us are on Android or iOS and use applications such as Google Maps or Open Source alternatives.

I personally tested the OsmAnd~ application on F-Droid for a long time, but I found it to have some disadvantages:

  • impossible to type an address as for a web search (you must first enter the city, then the lane, and finally the street number)
  • very often, the street numbers were not found and I was offered every possible street crossing… sometimes it was many.
  • no 3D view when you are in the car.
  • trackers (Facebook and Firebase analytics) have been discovered. The team says that there is no tracker on the paid version and F-Droid, but we see on version 3.3 of F-Droid that it is officially mentioned “Removed Facebook and Firebase analytics” (so the trackers were there?..)

Finally, one day a lost man asked me for a way, I wanted to inform him with the application but after several minutes of GPS location problem, I had to give up. That was the one too many flaws. What is the use of a GPS app if you can’t help someone in need? So I uninstalled and stayed a while without a GPS application. I even tried some austere applications but nothing worked on my phone.

Then I discovered Maps on F-Doid. This application is a fork of Maps.me that is free of ads and binaries. The application uses OpenStreetMaps maps and erases absolutely all the defects I mentioned for OsmAnd~. The only defect I found was its TTS voice and the ETA that was buggy (I hope it will be fixed).

In short, feel free to test this application (available for Android an iOS) and I really hope to see a version of this app released for the Librem 5 because it is very ergonomic, open-source, ad / binary free. What I’ve been looking for for for a long time.


The list of mobile Linux apps has two in the category of navigation.
If that does not satisfy you, I guess the best way to go forward is to get in contact with the “Maps on F-Droid” community and see if they would be interested to port it to Linux.
Never hurts to have choices :wink:


I’ve also found OsmAnd’s bugs/quirks to be extremely annoying; today I tried searching for “dicks sporting goods” when I knew I was within a mile of the store and it gave me one result ten miles away followed by several streets and intersections. I figured the store hadn’t been mapped yet, so after I found it I went to add it and saw that it was already added. It took me a minute to realize that because I hadn’t included the apostrophe in Dick’s the store didn’t show up at all. The only reason the other store showed up is because someone mapped it with the name missing the apostrophe.

It leaves a lot to be desired, and I’d like to develop an app that improves on these shortcomings. I’ll have to check out the alternative you mentioned, maybe a port would be easier than building from the ground up.

osmand is way better for hiking than mapsme. It has contour lines and hillschade maps, it can show waymarked trails as an overlay which shows the actual used waymarks and it has most of the wide functionality gps handhelds (garmin et al) have.
And concering your complains about osmand: I had concerns with mapsme, too. e.g. downloading maps failed lately.

There are many people who like osmand ported to GNU/Linux, there is a port called OffRoad (but I think it is not ready to be used on a smartphone, and it is afaik not under activate development).
There is a nice-to-have-Issue on osmand to get osmand running on librem5, but I do not think, that anything will be done in this aspect, although some people would even pay or donate for osmand on GNU/Linux.


I just tried the application listed in the @Caliga URL: Pure Maps looks very promising! I installed it on my laptop (Flatpak version), and the least we can say is that it has qualities: Search accepting some spelling mistakes, 3D view, Traffic Info, etc…

Speaking of traffic info, it is based on HERE Maps (proprietary company), so I wonder if there is tracking on the smartphone or if Pure Maps only downloads the result of traffic information by overlaying it on the existing map.

Please find below a movie of Pure Maps (enable comments because there is no voice, only subtitles), I think it is a serious candidate for GPS navi on Librem 5 :


@prog-amateur, sorry I can only give you one :hearts: for this :wink:
Now I’m uncertain about which I find more mindblowing:

  • the apparent quality and potiential of the application itself, as seen in the video
  • the sheer amount of information from OpenStreetMaps and other sources, diligently collected by thousands of individuals around the globe, that makes it possible

I have resorted to a dedicated GPS unit. $95, paid cash, so even if it is tracked they aren’t tracking “me”. Lifetime maps updates – it is great!

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GPS is passive, therefore not tracked (unless there is an additional chip (wireless/baseband) that actually sends instead of just receives).
The theoretical weakness is if there is a syncing app, that (known or unknown to you) not only updates your maps, but also downloads your travel data and submits it.

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The trick is to either update using an SD card, or factory reset the device before plugging it in. That aside, GPS devices certainly can be tracked by those with the tools, know-how, and the will.

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Convenient :wink:


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I am aware that is the information that has been published on the matter, however I prefer to err on the side of caution. There are enough examples in history of technologies and products put to market that have undisclosed properties.

That’s of course always a good thing.

However, it’s not about what is “published” about the matter. It’s about understanding technology and physics. If the device does not emit electromagnetic waves, there is nothing that can be detected (and therefore tracked).

Now, there are electromagnetic emissions that are unexpected to the unknowing, like from monitors, screens, CPUs and the RFID tags in your underwear. But it’s no dark magic. Also, yes, you can detect and listen to those emissions, but only in a really limited radius of a few meters. The world is not yet orwellian (or Matrix-like) enough that this would concern me. Basing reliable tracking on this is beyond even the wettest dreams of the NSA. Would cost billions to even cover NewYork.
Shield the device in aluminum foil, and all the billions are wasted.

But the key here is: It’s not easier to try to track a GPS device than it is to track a wristwatch (digital or analog), a GameBoy or your underpants.
No, wait. It’s actually much simpler to track your underpants. It emits a unique ID, if asked by a scanner.

All this is, of course, based on the assumption I gave initially, that there is no hidden sender embedded. But that hidden sender has nothing to do with GPS.


That is precisely what I am getting at. The sender has nothing to do with the GPS component of the device, but it is all wrapped in the same shell, it is the same device. It would take some doing and expertise to detect such a thing, and neutralize it once detected.

/hijacking of thread

@prog-amateur, this is a most excellent find! I just put it on my laptop, and it works excellently there (though it definitely pushes the system). Here’s to hoping that the phone hardware will support it well enough!

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This is a similar discussion to The competitor google Maps is here :-) except Pure Maps was never mentioned. Thanks for that share, @Caliga and @prog-amateur, that looks promising. As you can see from that other thread, I tried OsmAnd and share the same headaches you’ve identified here.

I want to ditch all the things that hurt my privacy, but Google Maps is just too damn useful to drop at the moment. :sweat:


I agree, same for me. It’s really hard to abandon that unfortunately!

Pure Maps will be available for the Librem 5. The delevoper (rinigius) is working on it. He is active on the matrix channel if you have any questions or feedback: #community-librem-5:talk.puri.sm


Hello all, thank you for sharing your opinions and advises in this thread.

Please find this link to a discussion about Pure Maps with its leader Rinigus. He is a very attentive person and pleasant to talk to.

He confirms that Librem 5 version of Pure Maps and OSM Scout Server are developed, and answer about my question regarding data tracking.


There a bit more to Osmand+ which is useful.
At least in NL is takes into account Public Transport and you can plan routes across public transport.
Also navigation on water (where the name comes from) is possible on Osmand.
(included is OpenSeamap, naval view, water depths).
It is completly off-line use (the only way i will consider using a navigation device) with up to date maps. (multiple times/day updates if you want). So the search & routing engine MUST be in the app. And it is annoying that one must type names correctly then again there is no 1000-ands of computers search engine inside your phone).
GPS lock on can take a while. esp. if you have no current AGPS data. Worst case it will take 20 minutes before you got the satellite orbital data from the satellites themselves.

They tried a FB tracker in the free version, but it backfired, so it was removed again. (then again i will block any access to ggl and FB site on my phone anyway.) [ Blokada ].
And Osmand is worth it’s price (EUR 7,- ish one time fee for lifetime world wide map updates / month, EUR 3,- ish / year for “continuous” updates )

So for me Osmand+ is a preferred app. [ I tried PureMaps, it loaded 2 extra KDE environments onto my KDE based laptop take 1GB of extra disk space for it, due to flatpak & differente requirement for software).


Please be aware that the biggest disadvantages come from the data source - openstreetmap. If you do not find street numbers, the reason is that openstreetmap does not know them. Still, I prefer OSM data over other propriatary providers given that OSM is the best open map data you can get.

Till today, I always found my way even without 3D view. Especially travelling it just works nice together with my public transportation apps on Android.

On computer, I download the maps with https://sourceforge.net/p/offroadosm/code/ci/master/tree/ to hard drive and use it for small trip planning. You can even copy these maps to Android using it with Osmand. I know this Java program is not state of the art. But who are we to blame a good idea for the lack of ressources?

So for me Osmand+ is a preferred app, too.