Replacement for Google Maps?

I have been keeping track of how I use my current phone so I can be sure I can perform the same tasks on the librem5. Most seem to be covered already or have a solution that will be available:

  1. messaging
  2. voice/video calls
  3. email
  4. calendaring
  5. music/podcasts
  6. ebooks
  7. web browsing

However, there is one use case that I have not found an adequate substitute: Navigation.

I have tried using OSMAnd on my current phone, pixel, and it is just not usable. There are too many data gaps and the routing is just bad. I searched for other services and data to try to fill the void, but have come up empty. Considering that I know very little about the world of navigation this is not surprising.

I am willing to pay for a service that could provide a substitute for google maps.

What am I missing or is there simply no solution and google has a lock on this market?


We have Marble ported to Kirigami so it will look great in a convergent phone interface.’s port could be relatively easy as it was programmed in QT. (I’d love to see it happen as I love it, I’m thinking about helping with the adaptation)
I’m sure Maps will be ported too as Gnome will be contributing to the project.


Those all use OSM data. Which is not reliable at all. I am starting to view OSM as nice supplemental data, but not the primary data to use. OSM might work great in urban areas, but it just doesnt work in rural areas. When I was in the nearby city last week I was able to use OSMAnd 50% of the time, though the routes were not optimal. It was still usable in those cases. I did have to fall back to google maps for the other 50%.

However, OSM data has yet to provide anything of use in my area or surrounding areas where I spend 99% of my time.

I am currently trying to convince my county gov to give my a list of DBAs and addresses so I can use openaddresses and contribute to OSM. This has been two weeks of phone calls with no end in sight.

Having to spend two weeks negotiating with the local county clerk for data before I visit an area seems like a bit of a usability problem :wink:

I am concerned this may be the achilles heel of the librem 5. There needs to be a way to license or package offline data from a source that is usable. Garmin? I really have no idea at this point.

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Interesting issue,
I like a lot OSM appearance, compared to the horrible maps from google.
I have neither used OSM for navigation and had it in my TODO-list for too long…

The problem of the reliability of community-driven maps is here.
Waze had this exact model and got hugely successful, I guess a company behind it helped. Besides, waze is now google property, so basically users built the service to feed their data to google :confused:
It looks to me like it will take a society move from waze/googlenav to osm nav to solve the issue.
As an individual, I should start building maps, rather than waiting for them to get built…

Edit : uh I think the garmin or any proprietary-data move would go against history.
Better look for a way to make OSM data editing for mobile users as easy as it is in waze! If that does not exist already.

Ah and for good navigation algorithms OSRM guys seem to really know what they are doing, but no idea if a usable app exist.


I did not mean to imply OSM should not be supported. It is a fantastic idea and is definitely heading in the right direction. It is just an 80% solution. It will only get the rest of the way if we contribute back to it. Which I am trying to do.

I am closing my eyes and imagining myself in an unfamiliar area 18 months in the future. It is 2am and I need to get to the locally famed Bob’s All Night Grilling Supplies and Beer Emporium. I pull out my shiny new librem5 and open up the ‘maps’ application. Type in my destination and get … what?

The current usecase is to close the ‘maps’ app and open up a the web browser, navigate to, hope you get the mobile UI, type in the destination, figure out how to get the result back into the local ‘maps’ or just give up and try to navigate by the web UI google gave you.

Considering the entire point of purism and librem is privacy, this usecase is less than ideal.

I would argue that Licensing and packaging a data feed from Garmin to provide offline access to more reliable data would be a step in the right direction. Sure, supplement it with OSM data.

I remember back before gmaps was mobile, you would get random calls from friends and family asking how to get somewhere, because you were ‘the computer guy’. I suppose that is another workaround, though it seems a bit anachronistic today.

My experience so far has me concerned that I will absolutely LOVE the librem5, but it will not work for navigation and as a result will be put in the pile of misfit and broken gadgets.

That is awesome. I didn’t know there already is free OSM based navigation.
And a quick test tells me it works pretty well!

The Librem 5 could become kind of a lighthouse to show everybody just how much good & free stuff there (already) is!
Libre navigation? Just nice :smile:
And to give back to these nice projects that make the Librem 5 possible, see donation app proposal.

@justin it appears to me that is mainly depending on the part of world (rather than rural/urban) you’re living in. And most likely most backers could live rather well with OSM only. I guess there would be little interest in additional, licensed data. I would rather go the other road and help OSM to become even more useful.


If you want floss OSM nav, even OsmAnd is not ideal. They use OSM for map OK, but their algo for nav?, and they use Google’s text-to-speech (from Talkback API) which is far from open AFAIK.
Well floss TTS is a huge topic on its own, festival and gnuspeech are pale compared to google tts.

@justin That “less than ideal use case” is what I was doing between the proprietary-GPS and Waze navigation eras… Maybe add in your trip to grab ribs at night one or two stops in the middle of the bush to get a GPS fix and update OSM :confused:
It will be again favouring cities over rural areas…

This is true. OsmAnd’s “layout and visual elements” are licensed under a noncommercial license. This prevents OsmAnd from being free software. Also, OsmAnd’s use of the GPL is troubling given that they enforce an “exception”. The exception is that derivatives of OsmAnd cannot be distributed on the Apple App Store, Google Play, or Amazon MarketPlace.

I believe their routing algorithm can be found here.

Not on my phone. Actually, OSMAND simply uses ANDROID text-to-speech. By default on a google device this is Google Text-To-Speech. On my phone I use Flite TTS Engine from F-Droid. Replicant uses the AOSP text-to-speech.

Privacy is only one aspect of Purism and Librem. The word Librem means “Free as in Freedom”. One of the main points is USER FREEDOM. This is why we don’t want to use google maps even if we used it through tor (which would nearly solve the privacy problem).

This would only be acceptable if the data was licensed under a free license. If it is under a free license, why not roll it into OSM? If the data is non-free it cannot be distributed with PureOS as PureOS onlly distributes free software.
The ultimate solution here is to improve OSM.

OSM is already largely usable in most places and I use it as my primary navigation system. The Libram 5 is not “broken and misfit” just because our navigation software is not quite on par with Google everywhere.


I apologize for mistating my intentions. I was not speaking for everyone nor about the entire project. librem is obviously useful and a great project, I would not have backed it otherwise.

In aniticipation of using the librem5 in 18months I have been actively looking for floss substitutes for my current usecases. Virtually all of them have a solution except navigation.

OSM is useful for a great many people, otherwise it would not be so popular. However, whenever I had occasion to use google maps I would try osmand first. It failed nearly 100% of the time, until I was traveling in urban area.s I was both surprised and disappointed. Navigation is 50% of my usecase.

floss is a great ideal and I use it where possible, but it needs to be useful. For me navigation is a significant feature and for me OSM just doesnt work.

For ppl who stumble into this thread in the future:
My plan is to create a simple rest api that will incorporate tomtom search. Then have a mycroft skill consume that so I can say “navigate to Foo near Bar”. and have reasonable confidence it is returning correct data.

Hopefully, if time is kind to me, I will publish this solution for others to use.

Again, I apologize for the poor word choice.

@justin I think you are free to state your oppinion :slight_smile: Nobody should be offended.
Let me just add one thought: You got 18 months to increase the usability of OSM a great deal.

I have to admit I’m really not familiar with OSM and I don’t know how bad it is in your area. But I just thought there should be hackathon-like events. So I goo… duckduckwent “osm mapathon” and found this:

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I just need the porting of Osmand+Mapillary on Librem 5 to navigate easily.
In Europe Osmand is great! I use it on my car and my motorcycle.

Back in 2012 my whole neighborhood was just lines. Since then I have edited street names, one way streets, added shops, etc. Done the same with 2 entire villages, of which there was just the main street on the map.
Closing your eyes and picturing yourself 18 months in the future is not a solution. Complaining that OSM is not good enough is not a solution either. The only way to have a better OSM, is to open your eyes, see what’s missing, and add it on the map.
I’d love to use OSM on Librem 5, like I do on my current device. I don’t see the necessity of any other map on Librem5, as i already have no other map on my current mobile.


OSMAnd is one of the applications I use the most on my phone. The ability to download a map and use it offline is awesome. Besides, OSM is by far the most detailed world map out there. Is there any similar programme for the Librem 5 already?


GNOME maps 3.38 will be adaptive, then there is also Pure Maps, that at the moment is only available as a flatpak app.


Is there a simple way (e.g. graphical) to install flatpack programmes? Using the terminal without a proper keyboard is a real pain.

Yes, should be installable via PureOS store app. Can’t promise it though but as the store is just a modified GNOME software and that is able to search for and install flatpaks… Just install the Flathub file once:

If not possible via GUI, just use the terminal for setting it up:
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

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Once you add the flathub repo, flatpaks will appear when you search app titles in the PureOS store app.

You can also access the terminal on the L5 from your computer via ssh.

I ran the remote-add command, but still there is not Pure Maps showing up in the Store. I will try to install from the command line.

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Try just searching for “maps” in the store. It should come up as one of the available apps (if you’ve installed flathub).

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