Magic Earth: A Private Navigation App That Works Offline

Magic Earth is a free navigation app for iOS and Android. This app works offline — you can find your location on the map and get directions without using WiFi. This feature is especially useful when traveling to locations with limited connectivity. I find it particularly useful when hiking in remote locations.

The app offers good quality directions, especially considering that directional routes are computed without an internet connection. However, the search feature of Magic Earth does pale in comparison to Waze or Google Maps. During testing, the search feature of Magic Earth did not find a couple of locations. The search feature was unable to cope with some formatting ambiguities in certain addresses.

Magic Earth makes use of OpenStreetMap data. These maps are often more detailed than those provided by Apple or Google. See the side-by-side comparison on this page, for example.

Magic Earth is really the first app that makes OpenStreetMap data usable on mobile. Hence, I recommend it over other apps that use OpenStreetMap data like OSMAndMaps and Maps.Me.

The Magic Earth app also has a very good privacy policy. The developers summarize their policy this way: “We do not track you. We do not profile you. We do not have your personal data…”

App Features

  • Turn-by-turn navigation — optimized for car, pedestrian, and bicycle
  • Crowd-Sourced Traffic info
  • 3D maps
  • Satellite maps
  • Offline maps
  • Transit info

Home page: Magic Earth

Photo by Adrien Olichon

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