Remember paper maps? Those paper monstrosities whose size seemed perfectly matched to take up your whole car windscreen? Alternatively, there were the map-books where turning the page wouldn't take you to the part of the map just east or west of the previous page, but to the other side of the country. The abundance of great GPS and navigation apps means that paper maps are mostly a thing of the past. But even among navigation apps, there are better and worse ones, so we've picked out the best Android GPS and navigation apps, just for you.
Waze is free Navigation app that relies on its community (and a very nice interface) for its traffic information, so just as well that it's one of the most popular apps of its kind on the Play Store. As a member of the Waze community, you can report accidents, police traps and road closures, which then get cross-referenced with other users' input and broadcast for other users. It also has nifty features like showing you the cheapest gas stations en route, and a points-based system where being an active member of the community sees you climb the Waze ranks.
Maps.Me was well worth the US$4.99 price tag it used to have on the Play Store, so imagine our delight when this was removed and the app was made absolutely free. If you haven't picked this one up already, we highly recommend it, because not only is it one of the best Android map apps available - with a clear and simple UI - but it also works offline and includes points of interest such as subway stations, ATMs, petrol stations, and so on.
The app formerly known as Navfree features offline search, voice navigation, and a neat interface taking cues from Android (complete with the iconic hamburger menu). It integrates with Google Street View and Foursquare, and provides great-looking HD maps for over 30 countries. It also includes community map reports, real-time traffic information, and OSM maps which can be used offline.
Sygic is one of the most ruthlessly popular offline navigation apps on Android, and with good reason. The TomTom-powered app offers hi-definition maps for most countries in the world, and recently received an update that brings it more in line with Android Lollipop (i.e. it's easier to use than ever). It's recently gone down the freemium route, offering many maps for free, but offering extra features like live traffic information, regular updates, and extra navigation voices at a price.
CoPilot GPS offers offline maps for pretty much the entire planet. Cleverly, CoPilot can sync with social network accounts like Facebook and Twitter, setting turn-by-turn directions to events you're scheduled to attend. The first map is free (you can choose among a specialized list), and then CoPilot functions in license form. If you buy the premium version, you get 12 months traffic information for free, too.
MapFactor uses OpenStreetMaps (OSM) map data, which gets installed on your device so you don't need an internet connection when using it. MapFactor offers all the usual bells and whistles of SatNav, with turn-by-turn directions, voice navigation in several languages, and the option to change your route depending on whether you're driving a car, a truck, or just walking. It also includes audible noise warnings when you approach speed cameras - not that you would ever dream of breaking the speed limit, would you now?
This free version of OsmAnd offers all you need for easy offline navigation. The app uses OSM data, and is updated regularly to take into account new roads, traffic lights, and so on. The paid version (US$5.99) provides information from Wikipedia to show you points of interest along your route (great for freewheeling road trips). Uniquely, it's a great app for hikers and cyclists too, with a special display mode showing bike routes, walking paths, and contours to indicate steepness.
The physical SatNav is all but dead, but the legendary TomTom lives on in Android form. The maps are available and updated for a lifetime, there are also multiple navigation options, all of which are available offline. A new version recently came out to make it better suited to Android Lollipop, and it offers real-time traffic information, 3D landmarks and buildings, and camera alerts. The paid versions are quite expensive, but offer detailed maps for all the regions in question. if you bought the old TomTom app, you can update it to the new one by following the instructions on TomTom's support page.