The Best Privacy-Friendly Alternatives to Google Maps

Google Maps is utilised by additional than a billion individuals every single month. And all those people today send out in far more than 20 million advised updates each day. Much better instructions for you, a lot more knowledge for Google.

WIRED United kingdom

This story at first appeared on WIRED United kingdom.

There are motives why so numerous men and women use Google Maps: It’s arguably the easiest mapping service to use and has the most up-to-date details readily available. But it would not be a Google product if it did not collect plenty of knowledge about you. This can be gathered through the Maps application, but also the GPS locale configurations of the phone that is constantly in your pocket. As a final result, there is a good deal Google is aware about your whereabouts.

The extent of what Google understands can be witnessed on your place timeline. All the minimal pink dots revealed on the map reveal exactly where you’ve been and when. For me, it shows 461 sites that I frequented in advance of I turned the locale configurations off at the start out of 2019. (The most widespread: predictably, my dwelling and WIRED’s London business.)

If you want to switch off locale info you can do this as a result of your Google account here. There are also options to vehicle-delete upcoming locale background each 3 or 18 months. This will quit Google from accumulating info about your location when you are not applying its companies.

You may well also want to transform off world wide web tracking and activity, as other Google solutions and merchandise can gather info about your place. “Location knowledge may well be saved as part of exercise on Lookup and Maps when your Net & App Exercise setting is on, and involved in your images based on your camera application options,” the enterprise claims.

Site knowledge is different from the other types of info Google gathers about you: Working with mapping companies with out supplying away your locale is very complicated. There’s just one point you can do on your cellular phone to restrict how substantially facts Google Maps gathers: limit when Google Maps can accessibility your location. By means of Android and iOS configurations you can limit Maps’ skill to obtain your locale to when the application is in use, fairly than at all instances.

A actually private maps services does not definitely exist for just about every system. But there are other possibilities out there that really do not retailer and acquire as significantly of your data or feed it again into a much larger profile of you. In this article are the solutions you could take into consideration, and we’ve highlighted the place there could be possible privacy trade-offs you have to make.


OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of apps—it’s built by the people who use it and all the details is open up info, which means everyone can reuse the maps for just about anything. It’s held up to date by men and women using GPS devices, aerial pictures, and other no cost sources of data. If you go somewhere and the map isn’t right, then you can build an account and propose changes.

There are not many extravagant options, but it’ll give you instructions (by way of motor vehicle, bike, or foot) and is run by a nonprofit corporation. Its privateness policy says some minimal info is gathered but this isn’t connected to person profiles. You don’t have to log in to use it and there are also no adverts of any type.

OpenStreetMap is largely website-based mostly. It is optimized for smartphones, but there are not any official applications furnished by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. There are, nevertheless, third-celebration applications that use its details. These tend to appear with trade-offs. Maps.Me has downloadable maps that can be utilized offline, but also has adverts.


This mapping app is designed using OpenStreetMap’s info but it also arrives with a host of more choices you can use. These consist of map downloads for offline use, vacation guides, and ski maps.

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