A New Google Maps Alternative Is Now Available on CarPlay

A new Google Maps competitor just landed on CarPlay, as Guru Maps now provides support for Apple’s in-car experience.
Guru Maps on CarPlay and iPhone 9 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Evgen Bodunov
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Apple Maps is the native mapping platform on iPhone and CarPlay, but the lack of features is pushing many users to the likes of Google Maps and Waze. Apple Maps does not offer satellite navigation and offline maps.

Guru Maps is first and foremost focused on the latter. On Android and iPhone, the application offers advanced offline maps and offline navigation support, allowing users to find an address without a data connection.

Based on open data from the OpenStreetMap project and also relying on multiple online map providers, Guru Maps generates routes for multiple transportation modes. It lets users pick from driving, cycling, walking, and a special mode focused on the shortest distance.

Despite working offline, Guru Maps comes with features that are missing in other navigation apps. It supports multi-route navigation and lets users search by address, category, or GPS coordinates. It also includes multi-language support.

The offline map implementation is more straightforward than in Google Maps. Guru Maps lets users download the maps for a specific country from the first launch. Additional regions can then be downloaded from the settings screen.

Google Maps requires users to define the region for the offline maps. More often than not, the selection can’t include a whole country, in which case users need to download multiple packs of data.

Guru Maps promises to update maps every month, therefore keeping the turn-by-turn driving directions as accurate as possible.

The CarPlay navigation bundles voice directions, so users don’t have to look at the screen for turn information. The offline maps downloaded on the iPhone are also available on CarPlay, as most settings depend on the mobile configuration.

The number of alternatives to Google Maps is continuously growing, especially as the adoption of CarPlay and Android Auto is also growing. Apple is also working around the clock on expanding the availability of its new-generation Apple Maps experience, with more countries expected to get it in the coming months.

Announced in mid-2018, the new Apple Maps uses Apple’s own maps and offers more road details, including crosswalks. The navigation is updated with the location of stop signs and traffic lights. In certain regions, Apple also offers 3D navigation on iPhone and CarPlay based on 3D building models.

However, the lack of essential capabilities is pushing users to alternative solutions. Apple Maps not offering offline maps is an opportunity for less high-profile software to improve adoption.

Guru Maps is one of the apps hoping to impress with the advanced support for offline maps, especially as the free version already packs the essential capabilities for effortless navigation. A Pro version adds more advanced capabilities, including additional map sources and support for importing third-party maps.
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Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third party.

About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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