Skip to Content

Maps Me Review – The Best Map App

Maps Me Review – The Best Map App

In this Maps Me review, I will cover the main features of this free app, why offline downloaded maps are essential for adventurers, and discuss some of the latest integrations the app has included as functionality.

Maps Me is quickly becoming the go-to offline app / maps app for travel. We’ve been using the Maps.me app since 2015 and it quickly became a favorite for our offline mapping needs. In fact, we chose it as our favorite offline map in our post The Best Offline Mapping Tools for Cycle Touring.

While there are plenty of good offline and online maps apps, Maps Me stands out above the rest. There is clearly a reason why it has been downloaded over 100 million times and have over a 1 million ratings worldwide.

Maps Me Review home app screen.
Walking directions with an elevation profile are available for all downloaded maps.

Open Source

One of the main issues with map apps is the quality of the content on the detailed maps. Google maps and Bing have their own proprietary data, but Maps Me takes a more universal approach by using open source OpenStreetMap data. If you’re not familiar with OpenStreetMap, it’s community driven and completely open source.

The content is generated by map enthusiasts, GIS professionals, users, engineers, and anyone who feels passionate about contributing to a growing list of local knowledge. In 2017, Maps Me enabled a feature that allows users to use the build-in editor to contribute edits to OpenStreetMap data. Users have made over 1 million edits from all over the planet, averaging 3,500 contributions a day.  

Since 2015, the Maps Me app has been open source and can even be found on GitHub (the most popular repository for sharing open source code). Essentially, this means there is a community of software developers working in conjunction on improving the application and the code to the app is not held or owned by a single entity.

Hiking trails and off road routes are listed on Maps Me, including the name of the route.

Offline Maps

The main benefit of using Maps Me is that the maps app is completely offline. This means you can download maps offline in a custom compressed formation that is updated 1 – 2 times per month. All of the maps are stored locally on your device so there is no need for an internet connection once you have downloaded the map.

This can be incredibly handy when you don’t have access to a cell tower, are traveling in a different country, use paper maps, or simply don’t want to be tethered to needing data. When we travel, we always preload the maps to our phones so we always have access to our location and local resources.

Not only are the maps covering typical foot and bicycle paths, or roads, but the data also includes hiking trails, often with names. We use Maps Me when backpacking, trail running, hiking, walking in a new city, and driving. This is a major advantage over online maps which are only as good as the data they’ve scanned themselves (Google Maps for example).   

We used Maps Me during our visit to Corsica to help us find some beautiful trail runs that we otherwise would never have located.

The new smart search tools gives Maps Me users the ability to filter accommodations by ratings, price, and date.

Offline Search

An incredible feature of Maps Me is ability to search offline without being connect to the internet. The OpenStreetMap data enables users to search by name, address, categories, or coordinates. We use this feature often when traveling when we aren’t familiar with our surroundings.

Categories are especially helpful when needing to find something locally by proximity. For example, the closest pharmacy, ATM, or public transportation.

Maps Me incorporates the following categories: Lodging, Shops, Health, Transport, Finance, Food, Business, Education, Entertainment, and Attractions into the default search feature.

In January, 2017, Maps Me launched a new update that includes a smart search feature. The smart search enables the map app to understand misspellings and typos. Much like Google search Maps Me figures out exactly what we meant to say.

One of my previous gripes with Maps Me was that using it on a smartphone is ripe for typos. The buttons are so small that I often make a typo and didn’t realize it only to be left wondering why the app couldn’t find my location. Problem solved.

Additionally, you can now use the smart search to find accommodation by user rating and price filters. This can be incredibly helpful when you’re in a new location and need to find something last minute. Previously, we had to estimate the cost by the number of stars.

Malaga to Seville in under 2 hours. Turn by turn directions are available for any downloaded map.

Turn by Turn Directions / Route Planning

Like the most popular navigation apps, Maps Me app shows turn by turn directions. I will be honest, the directions are not as solid as Google maps. The directions typically use the fastest route, not considering the hills, tolls, or traffic. However, there are some bonus features that keep me coming back.

First, it includes speed cameras on the navigation. This has saved us a couple times when driving in Spain where the automated speed cameras will get you, even if you just go a couple km over the speed limit. Trust me, I unfortunately know this all too well…

Second, and the main reason to use Maps Me is that there no need for data. If I travel outside my typical location or switch mode of transportation, I already have access to map my routes on the spot. I don’t need to reload a new map.

Lastly, the trail maps are some of the best I’ve seen on any app. We will often use a couple different mapping apps when we head out on a long trail run, just to be sure we’re staying on track. No matter where we are, Maps Me always displays accurate trail information and contains the largest quantity of trails over other mapping apps. This is especially helpful during winter hikes when the trail is off or your the first one breaking trail. It has come to the rescue countless times in the Seattle winter hiking season.

Metro overlay shows closest metro stops. This is very helpful in new cities.

Integrations

Maps Me has really cranked up the integrations since we started using it in 2015. It’s becoming more than just an offline mapping app.

Find a Hotel

As of 2016, you can find accommodations via an integration with Booking.com. This feature allows you to see user ratings, category of prices, type, and distance from your location.

Find a City Guide

One of the relatively new features is the ability to find local guides in specific cities. Think guided tours by locals. This feature can be booked online and appears to be competing with the similar feature in AirBnB.com.

Points of Interest

Since Maps Me is connected to open street map data, users can add points of interest like restaurant cafes, banks, and really any business or park. This is great when traveling offline and you need to find a location.

Book an Uber

Sometimes you just don’t want to take public transportation. Maps Me has integrated the app with Uber so you can immediately hail a rideshare. The best part is that the estimated prices are displayed allowing a quick comparison of costs.

Public Transportation

I love the newest overlay feature in Maps Me. I can quickly overlay the metro map with my current location, allowing me to plan my route. You will need Internet access for this feature.

The traffic overlay shows you hotspots with congestion. I can’t believe I lived in the Washington, D.C. area…

Traffic Overlay

Just like the public transportation, you can overlay traffic with your current map, though you’ll need to be connected to the Internet. Similar to Google Maps, the routes will display colors based on the density or flow of traffic. This is helpful when determining which move of transportation to take.

Things to Consider

Battery Life

You can easily drain your battery if constantly using the turn by turn feature. Maps Me will recognize when you don’t have the application active and will conserve battery consumption. Just be aware of this when you’re out hiking or without a recharge for several days.

Share Your Location

When traveling we often want to share our location so friends and family can find us. It’s simple to us the share feature and let others know where you’re located.

Some of our favorite bookmarks are on saved on our device.

Bookmarks

I love that Maps Me enables me to save bookmarks of my favorite locations for later reference. This is so helpful when wanting to share a location, or find a place I’ve visited before. You can also back up your bookmarks and load them on other devices.  

KML Import

Occasionally Jen will find an epic hike or trail run and want the exact route on our phones. You can import KML files from other sources and save them to Maps Me. So when out and about, you’ll be able to pull up the route and compare your location.  

Maps Me Review Final Thoughts

By now, you must have figured that Maps Me is our standard go to for maps and navigation. We use it for everything: driving, hiking, biking, and walking. I can’t imagine traveling without it and there is a reason it’s the most popular map mobile app for both iOS and Android.

PIN FOR LATER!

Maps.ME is a reliable offline map app that allows you to download maps for use when you hike, travel internationally without data, drive, or walk in a new city. Read on to see why it is our favorite mapping app.

Peter Davies

Wednesday 29th of July 2020

I'm a newcomer to maps.me so very interesting article Dave, to get me going. I want to use my big iMac screen at home to tailor make a route, not necessarily the stock one provided. I have tried this in Google maps which is supposed to transfer the route to the phone app version, to then use on the road. But it didn't work; I think maybe because my iPhone 5S doesn't support that. This was the prompt for me to switch. So question is; is there a means of using maps.me on my home computer big screen, tailor an unusual route, then transfer it to my phone app ? It would be impossible to manipulate a route in this way on a small screen, for any of the navigation apps, I think.

Jen Sotolongo

Friday 31st of July 2020

Hi Peter! Jen here. So Dave would always map things out using existing routes or the route finding tool in the app. I often create routes for my trail runs and do exactly as you have described...I start on the big screen, save as a gpx file and then transfer to an app. I use either Google maps or Map My Run. You can open these files in a number of mapping apps, including Maps.ME. Hope this helps!

Daniel Ellsworth

Thursday 20th of June 2019

Maps.me was my go to app for several years of touring. But they screwed it up with bookmarks. They used to be heirarchial and easy to move routes and waypoints around within them. Now their lists have no manager features. Worse is the new file system. Before you could simply move a KML within the file structure. No more. It's software controlled. I do a lot of route planning with other tools and make various KML possibilities. Many times with multiple sections with long routes. I can no longer manage them. They get lumped into pages of "bookmarks/lists" you can no longer manage.

Dave Hoch

Friday 21st of June 2019

Thanks for the info Daniel. Great to know the new issues with Map Me.

Noel Krasomil

Tuesday 12th of February 2019

Great post! Maps.me is great for displaying trail routes that can't be found on Google Maps (or anywhere else for that matter). Also, the download sizes for offline maps are much smaller than Google. Not as many businesses can be found on Maps.me, but that should change over time, especially with the help of articles like the one you just posted. Well done.

Dave Hoch

Tuesday 12th of February 2019

Thanks Noel. Glad you like the article and I've found the business directory really depends on the region you're traveling. For example, Google Maps is terrible in parts of South America and the openstreetsmap data is much more reliable.