Avoid Google Maps with GNOME Maps on GNU/Linux - gHacks Tech News

Avoid Google Maps with GNOME Maps on GNU/Linux

So, it’s not really any secret nowadays, that Google saves pretty well anything you ever do using their services. It’s also no secret nowadays, that many people try and avoid using Google services, and would prefer to use alternatives to many of their popular tools, such as Google Maps.

Sometimes, alternatives are available that provide similar functionality, Startpage for search or another email provider for your email needs. As far as Google Maps is concerned, it is a great product but there are alternatives available online and locally.

GNU/Linux users have the handy GNOME Maps application at their disposal.

Installation

GNOME Maps is extremely simple to install, with most major distributions carrying the package ‘gnome-maps’ in their main repositories. Simply install with your package management tool of choice, and you’ll be all set to go.

On Linux Mint for instance, you'd select Menu > Software Manager to open the built in program. Type maps in the search box in Software Manager and select Gnome Maps from the list of results.

From there, it is just a matter of selecting the install button to install Gnome Maps on the Linux machine. Software dependencies do get installed automatically after your review of them.

You can launch Gnome Maps right after installation from the Software Manager, or anytime later from the Linux Mint menu.

Using the application / Features

GNOME Maps

When I first started checking out GNOME maps, the first thing I noticed, is how absolutely buttery smooth the program launched, and ran, using Linux Mint 18.3 MATE edition.

I was scrolling around the world, setting directions for how to cross Russia by foot (which let me tell you in case you ever wondered, should take roughly 60 hours, depending on locations used) in a matter of moments, and it really was quite easy to do.

One of the handy features I found I rather enjoyed, is the ability to right click anywhere on the map, and set the starting place for directions, and then do the same for the destination, if you didn’t feel like using the address, or coordinates.

How this is all accomplished, is using a few different open-source technologies.

  • The maps are used / taken from https://www.openstreetmap.org/
  • Route / directions / trip planning is done using https://graphhopper.com/
  • Depending on your privacy settings, you CAN allow Maps to use your location, thanks to https://wiki.gnome.org/GeoClue

Final Thoughts

Really, I was incredibly surprised with the ease of use, and how lightweight the program felt on my system. The only real unfortunate thing, is that unless you plan to print, write down, take pictures of, or memorize your directions... You likely won’t be taking them with you on your mobile device.

However, if you’re looking to get away from using Google Maps before you head out somewhere, or just want to look at travel times, GNOME Maps is perfect!

Now you: Have you ever used GNOME Maps? Is there other Linux based alternative applications you use to avoid the mainstream ones? Let us know in the comments!

Summary
Avoid Google Maps with GNOME Maps on GNU/Linux
Article Name
Avoid Google Maps with GNOME Maps on GNU/Linux
Description
Mike takes a look at GNOME Maps, a Google Maps alternative, for GNU/Linux devices and reveals whether it is a suitable alternative for users.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on April 14, 2018 at 7:48 am
    Reply

    I think you meant ‘days’, not ‘hours’

    1. XenoSilvano said on April 14, 2018 at 2:06 pm
      Reply

      travelling across the entirety of Russia ‘on foot’ (mind you) seems like a very dangerous endeavour, the number of misfortunes that could happen to you along the way would dissuade me from ever attempting it

      if people do choose to use GNOME maps, which as stated in the article is based on OpenStreetMap contributions, my hope is for these people to consider contributing to the development of the map as well in any way they can, as proclaimed by the pareto principle, the vast majority of the contributed work is done by a small number of people, it is a lot of work, therefore, it would be nice to have more people actively contributing towards the further development of the map to loosen the burden on other contributors

    2. Paul(us) said on April 14, 2018 at 5:04 pm
      Reply

      Or even 60 weeks, but knowing Russia (even a little bit) it’s more, 60 Months or even more likely sounds 60 Years.

  2. wybo said on April 14, 2018 at 11:18 am
    Reply

    I just go to the ViaMichelin site to find directions.

  3. hp said on April 14, 2018 at 11:21 am
    Reply

    I am really a fan of Open Street Maps.
    In this part of the world they are pretty good and a great alternative to other maps where you either pay with money or with your privacy.
    On my iPhone I use the Magic Earth app to navigate. It is also based on OSM, works like a charm.
    There is also an app for Android phones, so there is a free alternative to Google maps.

    1. Sam said on April 14, 2018 at 7:33 pm
      Reply

      > On my iPhone I use the Magic Earth app to navigate

      Thanks for that! I’ve been looking for a good OpenStreetMaps-based app for iOS and this seems alright

      1. Zal said on April 16, 2018 at 3:41 am
        Reply

        Check out Maps.me then. Also works incredibly well!

  4. trends said on April 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm
    Reply

    Unfortunately,
    Gnome Maps will install but will not open
    in Ubuntu 14.04.
    (confirmed by many comments
    in the Ubuntu Software Center).

    Would have been
    a nice alternative to Gmaps
    if it worked…

    1. Anon said on April 15, 2018 at 7:39 am
      Reply

      Why not use Ubuntu 16.04? LTS for Ubuntu 18.04 is a few days away and Ubuntu 14.04 will not be supported by April 2019.

  5. Alex said on April 14, 2018 at 2:55 pm
    Reply

    In my smartphone I use Osmand and un the browser here maps. I would be nice to sync gnome maps and osmand someway

  6. Bill said on April 14, 2018 at 3:17 pm
    Reply

    Nah, he’s a very fast walker

  7. Gerard said on April 14, 2018 at 4:05 pm
    Reply

    The version in the Mint repos is v3.18.4 (Aug 22, 2016). However, the most recent one at the time of writing is v3.28.1 (Apr 9, 2018).
    See:
    https://github.com/GNOME/gnome-maps/releases

    There is PPA with v3.27.92 (Mar 5, 2018), but I don’t know if it’s compatible with Mint 18 (Ubuntu Xenial).
    Here:
    https://launchpad.net/~darkxst/+archive/ubuntu/ppa

    I’ll stick to OpenStreetMap in my browser.

  8. Jessica said on April 14, 2018 at 4:34 pm
    Reply

    OpenStreetMap is a good alternative and it’s integrated into DuckDuckGo, which allows you to choose other providers as well.

  9. Heimen Stoffels said on April 14, 2018 at 6:15 pm
    Reply

    Eh, GNOME Maps uses OpenStreetMap so why would you need to memorize or write down the directions? Just open up the OSM site on your mobile device (or any mobile that uses OSM).

  10. thebrowser said on April 14, 2018 at 6:20 pm
    Reply

    The problem with openstreetmaps, maps.me and other open source projects based on contributions is that they are not so reliable, specially on remote areas. But I like to see there is an effort being made to have more and more alternatives to Google Maps; I will definitely try this one out.

  11. Bobby Phoenix said on April 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm
    Reply

    I love the Google Maps save feature. I go back to look at my past trips/history often. It’s a really great feature.

  12. basicuser said on April 14, 2018 at 9:56 pm
    Reply

    Tried in Mint 17.1 Cinnamon with persistence on a USB. Said it was installed but unfortunately did not open. Also installed recommended desktop tool but it did not open either. Maybe it’s only good for Mint 18.3 MATE.

  13. Claus Riis said on April 15, 2018 at 1:00 am
    Reply

    I use HERE (formerly Nokia Maps) on Android and in Windows (Firefox). It has nice and reliable turn by turn navigation for cars, bicycles, walking and public transport.

    I last checked out Open Street Maps like 4 years ago and found it wanting, but I will give it another try.

    PS. Just checked out Gnome Maps on a virtual Mint Cinnamon 18.3 (VMWare). It’s really smooth and fast, but I’m missing tools for alternative routing and measurement in metrics for one.

  14. Steve Shaw said on April 15, 2018 at 3:53 am
    Reply

    People complain about Google’s data collection but use Facebook and other data collecting platforms.
    This amuses me and there is only 1 way to stop data collection.

    1. Anonymous said on April 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm
      Reply

      > people complain about polluted water, but breathe polluted air
      > there is only one way to end all illnesses
      > …
      > *commits suicide*

      Your “logic” amuses me.

    2. pHROZEN gHOST said on April 15, 2018 at 9:55 pm
      Reply

      Anyone with a points card is giving up data.

      BTW Anonymous, you don’t have to commit suicide. Just go off the grid and become a hermit.

  15. Anonymous said on April 15, 2018 at 9:04 am
    Reply

    The KDE alternative to this is KDE Marble.

    It also features a Google-Earth-style globe view.

    1. Grischa said on April 16, 2018 at 12:56 pm
      Reply

      And Marble runs on Windows.

  16. AnorKnee Merce said on April 15, 2018 at 9:43 am
    Reply

    Seems, there is an unfair anti-Google trend among some computer users/consumers.

    Google’s business model is similar to that used by free-to-air TV companies like ABC, FOX and CBS, which offer free TV programs to consumers in return for them watching ads/commercials. This is quite a fair trade.
    ……. The other choice for consumers is to pay fees, eg to watch Cable or Satellite TV programs.

    So, Google is mostly interested in getting ad revenue from consumers/web-surfers by offering free web services to them, ie Google is not interested in “spying” on web-surfers or computer users. The other revenue stream for Google is to sell aggregated anonymous user-data to marketers.
    ……. Consumers should not be suspicious about Google’s business intentions.

    It is foolish for consumers/computer-users to expect efficient free services without a trade-off, eg being tracked by Google for targeted ads. The other choice is to pay for the services.
    ……. This is why the free Linux desktop OS does not stand a chance against non-free Windows. Similarly, non-tracking Gnome Maps does not stand a chance against tracking Google Maps; and Ubuntu Touch did not stand a chance against Google Android.

    In comparison, it is unfair for M$ to use her non-free Win 10 to track or “spy” on the users through forced Telemetry & Data collection, eg Win 10 Home users are Beta-testers(= M$ saved costs by laying off her QA Division). Maybe, M$ is also colluding with the NSA to “spy” on Win 10 users.

    1. Kent Brockman said on April 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm
      Reply

      “Seems, there is an unfair anti-Google trend among some computer users/consumers.”

      So says Mark Zuckerberg.

      “Google’s business model is similar to that used by free-to-air TV companies like ABC, FOX and CBS, which offer free TV programs to consumers in return for them watching ads/commercials. This is quite a fair trade.”

      Poor analogy. Viewers can skip the commercials, with a Tivo box for example. Users can’t avoid Googles collection and marketing of their data.

      So, Google is mostly interested in getting ad revenue from consumers/web-surfers by offering free web services to them, ie Google is not interested in “spying” on web-surfers or computer users. ”

      Beyond making gobs of profit, you or I have no idea what Googles interests are.

      “Consumers should not be suspicious about Google’s business intentions.”

      A nonsensical comment if there ever was one. Are you a paid Google bot?

      “It is foolish for consumers/computer-users to expect efficient free services without a trade-off, eg being tracked by Google for targeted ads. The other choice is to pay for the services.
      ……. This is why the free Linux desktop OS does not stand a chance against non-free Windows. Similarly, non-tracking Gnome Maps does not stand a chance against tracking Google Maps; and Ubuntu Touch did not stand a chance against Google Android.”

      Millions of users of free/open-source software would say your full of it. Your either clueless, a troll, or both. Thanks for the morning laugh.

    2. ULBoom said on April 16, 2018 at 1:11 am
      Reply

      If they can give a gift I don’t like and will never use, then I’ll repay the favor by anonymizing myself and blocking their “rich” contributions to my browsing. Why not help them with free redirection of their generosity to those who wait with bated breath for another mistargeted ad?

      I’ve never seen a post supporting surreptitious data collection that doesn’t contain hints the poster has skin in the game.

  17. b said on April 15, 2018 at 11:54 am
    Reply

    a really silly question, I know: does the GNOME map application work off line ? ( I use openstreetmap online )

  18. ShintoPlasm said on April 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm
    Reply

    Regardless of all the alternatives suggested here (OSM, HERE…), nothing compares to Google Maps in terms of accuracy, constant updates, and range of POIs on the maps. HERE Maps (which has a pretty good interface and is a fairly decent product) has a laughable array of POIs, and is pretty much unusable if you need more than just the basics.

  19. thunderbird said on April 15, 2018 at 3:14 pm
    Reply

    I misread the title – might I suggest “Avoid Google Maps – Use Gnome Maps on GNU/Linx”.

  20. mikef90000 said on April 16, 2018 at 12:43 am
    Reply

    Just tried GNOME Maps and I’m not impressed (v3.18.4 on Ubuntu 16.04).
    Mainly, the UI seems crippled and looks like a bad Android port.
    – Go To from Search does not work!
    – app stays full screen only
    – no help or version info from the UI (typical gnome-shell, anti classic DE app)
    BTW the package name is gnome-maps and is not installed by default.

  21. Martin said on April 16, 2018 at 10:50 am
    Reply

    If it wasn’t for data collection we’d never be able to find out what my mother-in-law has been doing with her computer. She loves it, but is sadly suffering from dementia and often orders things without telling us.

  22. rtep said on May 22, 2018 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    Cannot enable LOCATION in gnome maps. Button is just doing nothing. Do anyone have any idea why? Thanx in advance for any info.

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