Free GPS Apps for Android – Top 9

By Steve McFarlane

This is a roundup of the best free GPS apps for Android devices we could find; they are organized by the following categories:

Navigation, Phone Tracking, Finding Great Places and GPS Utilities.

Whether you want a navigation app to help you find alternative routes around traffic congestions, a GPS app to track your back country wonderings, or a solution to help you keep an eye on the whereabouts of your loved ones, the GPS feature in today’s smart phones make it possible.

Navigation

Waze is backed by the largest crowd-sourced traffic community. This community constantly updates the maps Waze uses. As a result, Waze is often the first to reflect traffic changes just after they happen and correct inaccuracies in new maps, especially issues that affect how well the app routes users.

Standout features:

  • Voice-guided turn-by-turn directions
  • Automatically recalculates the route if the user diverts
  • Voice search
  • Allow users to report accidents, construction, cameras, hazards and police activity
  • Shows the location, direction and speed of other Waze members in real time
  • Rewards users for reporting issues
  • Alerts you in advance as you approach reported issues

Install Waze

Google Maps – comes with everything you’d expect to find in a GPS navigation solution such as live traffic data, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting.  It also has some features that make it a top contender for anyone looking from an Android navigation app, some of which include:

  • Latest map data that is constantly being refined by Google users who submit corrections
  • Plain English search: Locate destinations by entering business name or landmark; no address needed
  • Voice search
  • Live traffic data
  • Alerts on upcoming traffic issues
  • Find businesses along the route being traveled
  • Satellite and 3D view of the route
  • Street View: first-person perspective of route and destination images

Install Google Maps

MapQuest Mobile is a well-known brand that has been around longer than most, of such it deserves getting a look, even though MapQuest Mobile is relatively new.

Install MapQuest Mobile

Phone Tracking

Life360 Family Locator allows the user to see where family members are, with a map-based view, as well as see what threats (i.e. registered sex offenders) are close.

Your family and friends will have some peace-of-mind if you use this app knowing fully well that everyone on your Life360 contact list will get an alert if you are in trouble and hit the panic button.

If they can’t contact you by any other means, they can also look at your breadcrumb, which shows the history of where you have been.

It doesn’t have the advanced features (secret call listening, photo and picture viewing) of a phone tracker such as Mobistealth, but it has the basic tracking feature that many will be happy with.

Install Family Locator

Glympse lets you send a link with your location to a friend, family member, business associate or anyone you want to show where you are. Because you can set a time limit on each Glympse you set, you can share just your 30-minute commute from the office so your family can track you while you are on your way home from work but prevent them from seeing your every move outside that 30-minute window.

Install Glympse

GPS Essentials – Great for mapping obscure backcountry trails, track and routes as well as managing waypoints. The app allows you to record your tracks and overlay them onto a map as well as take photos as a visual reference of where you were.

Install GPS Essentials

SpeedView: GPS Speedometer uses your Android’s built-in GPS to show your current, maximum and average speed in addition to the distance you have covered and the time you took to cover that distance.

While this is a good solution for logging speed and direction of off-road activities such as cycling and hiking it can also help you avoid getting a ticket by raising an alert when you hit or approach a preset speed.

Install SpeedView

Finding Great Places

Yelp allows you to browse nearby places in categories such as restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, ATMs and gas stations. You’ll see ratings and photos from the Yelp community as well as distance and directions to the destination. You can also use Yelp to find nearby deals as well as rate and add your own photos after you have used their service.

Install Yelp

GPS Utilities

GPS OnOff – With the GPS feature being such a battery hog on smart phones, it is a good idea to switch it off when you don’t need it. Unless you have a GPS widget installed to toggle the feature, you will normally need at least 4 clicks to find and turn of the feature in your Android’s Settings. GPS OnOff allows you to do the same with one click.

Install GPS OnOff

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One Response to “Free GPS Apps for Android – Top 9”

James Michalek

Do any of these allow me to add longitude and latitude? I like to bike and hike off road. Thanks for the article.

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