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Osmand+ vs. Locus Pro - Initial Impressions

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by syspig, Jun 9, 2018.

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  1. syspig

    syspig Dog Scratcher

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    If I've missed it, sorry - but I see no threads directly comparing these two common Android navigation apps. I see some comparisons within Osmand and Locus specific threads, but that's a pain to try and navigate through. I see value in keeping the comparisons between them in one place, but hey...if I'm alone in that regard, I'm content to watch this thread sink into digital oblivion.

    I'm curious if those more knowledgeable with both apps find the following initial impressions accurate. Currently, I'm evaluating both - and I've a pretty ideal location and test case living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. I'm using GripTwister's Olympic Loop Tour as a test case, being able to hit it up right in my back yard.

    I'm tech-savvy, but admittedly somewhat naive with both apps having only used them for a couple weeks - but these are my observations so far. Please don't be shy about pointing out errors or other advantages/disadvantages you might be aware of, but I'm hopeful this thread will help others decide between the two.

    To cut to the chase - I find Osmand lacking for adventure riding. However, with development taking place at such a rapid pace - perhaps the shortcomings I've observed compared to Locus are temporary. Or, perhaps they don't even exist and more experienced Osmand users will advise. Regardless, I think it is safe to say Locus is far more complex and has a significantly higher learning curve. That complexity though, makes for the flexibility that leads me to stick with it currently.

    All of the following Locus vs. Osmand examples I find critical for adventure riding.

    - Custom and easily configurable screens via the Locus Dashboard editor. For me, this one alone makes Locus the clear winner over Osmand at this point in time for offroad riding. I find a critical component in following an offroad track is being able to easily see upcoming waypoints - and the tiny waypoint text on a map just doesn't cut it. Be it aging eyes, the location of the phone down on the handlebars or both - I want to see data that's important to me in big, bold letters. With Locus, I've a custom overlay on my current setup that shows the next waypoint in HUGE text at the bottom. Additionally, Locus allows you to configure screen data to come and go with a simple double-tap - allowing a full screen map with minimal info, or gobs of data based on your desired overlay.

    - Ability to accurately and completely import GPX data. Osmand has given me issues with more complicated imports. For example, in the case of the GripTwister GPS tour mentioned above - it doesn't import the routes contained within the all-inclusive GPX file. It imports tracks and waypoints just fine, and if you manually edit out the routes from the GPX file and import them individually - that works too. However, Locus (or CalTopo, or other tools I've tried) import everything without need for such hoop jumping.

    - Custom waypoint icons. How Osmand got this far along without them is a mystery to me, but I find these mandatory for custom routes/tracks. With Osmand, I've no idea if an upcoming waypoint is a turn indicator or some kind of point of interest without stopping, selecting the waypoint and reading the details. With Locus - the imported GPX file contains extended info for the waypoints via the <sym> tag, so icons are associated with things like campgrounds, fuel locations, etc.

    There's much more, but this is already turning into a mini-novel. I'll hold off and see if there's interest in this comparison thread before carrying on more.
    #1
    ohgood likes this.
  2. PineLaneRider

    PineLaneRider Been here awhile

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    I'm lazy. Locus made my brain hurt. I'm sure if I took the time and put in the effort it would be a stellar app. I've used OsmAnd+ now for about a year for track following with no issues. Search and routing isn't the best with OsmAnd+. Still use Google Maps for online routing, and am now checking out Galileo for offline. Jury is still out on that. All this is MHO and YRMV.
    #2
    ohgood likes this.
  3. home4sale2

    home4sale2 noobish

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    Thanks for posting. You clearly like one over the other. Interested in things you like about Osmand would be good too. I can handle some complexity but as the next poster points out, if One needs a PhD in a solution then most may not opt for it. Balancing complexity with flexibility is what most solutions struggle with.

    Personally I’m more interested in finished roads routing vs adventure.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #3
  4. syspig

    syspig Dog Scratcher

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    Osmand has many advantages if the shortcomings I've listed aren't critical to you. And, if you're interested for on-road riding primarily - it's the one I would go with. The shortcomings I mentioned with tracks and routing are mostly unique to offroad, custom routes. They're almost a non-issue if you're sticking to the pavement.

    Osmand advantages I've found:

    - Far easier setup and configuration. This has been mentioned before, and it's not simple - but anyone willing to spend a little time reading and experimenting can have it going in relatively short order. Within a couple days, I had Osmand working best it could for my needs. With Locus - I'm mostly settled in with a configuration I like, but it took a couple weeks. Still, while Locus does have a steep learning curve and a gazillion tweaks - once you do get it where you want it, it's no more difficult to use than Osmand.

    - Maps are easier to install and update with Osmand, and are typically more up to date. Again - a big plus for road riders, but things don't change as much off the road.

    - Maps just look nicer in Osmand. Yes, this is subjective - but it seems to be a common observation, and one I agree with.

    Looking to the future - Osmand seems intent on striking a better balance between usability and function, so I think they're starting from a better base even though I find them behind technically as of now. If they added easily configurable overlay screens, allowing you to add whatever detail you like similar to the Locus Dashboard Editor - I'd probably live with the other shortcomings and switch.
    #4
    home4sale2 likes this.
  5. syspig

    syspig Dog Scratcher

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    For simply following a track, plodding along and trying to emulate what's showing on the track overlay - you bet, it works as well as anything else in that regard.

    If you want to see announcements of recorded points of interest/waypoints on that track, or want anything resembling turn-by-turn navigation via waypoints - I've found no way to make that work. If you enable navigation on a recorded track, it tells you about every turn in the road. Getting nagged to "turn left" and "turn right" every 200' makes it useless for the turns that are important.

    If you try to enable navigation via a few select waypoints on a track, instead of the track itself - you can't see any detail on the upcoming waypoints as you're riding. So, if you head off in the wrong direction - you'll never know it until you stop, look at the map and try and figure things out.
    #5
    PanamaJacob and ohgood like this.
  6. PineLaneRider

    PineLaneRider Been here awhile

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    Well, I guess I'm a plodder...
    #6
    syspig likes this.
  7. Tripped1

    Tripped1 RonS says I am BSC, scorched earth or something

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    Ahh yes, both Locus and OsmAnd have this issue (OsmAnd to a lesser extent) UNLESS you generate the track in Locus. THEN the damned thing is prefect...which chaps me to no end. The reason is simple, plotting a 5000km track is a painstaking process, which a full computer. Doing the planning on the computer and then plotting it out on Locus is way to much work.

    To be fair Locus has made great strides on their planning functions, because I have found generating reroutes has went down from a stop, take of the helmet, grab a coffee and curse for 20 minute event....to I can do it on the bike with my gloves on affair so that is good. That being said locus does actually support desktop planning....but I don't have a ton of experience with it (like I saw it was there) http://www.locusmap.eu/how-to-use-locus-map-on-a-pc/ but then again so does OSM.

    The other option (if you have a linux computer or a linux shell emulator) is to load it on your computer and run Locus that way, your Andriod phone is quite literally a Linux computer with a touch screen GUI.


    What are the odds we can get Mennion and team Furkot on the same page, that would be epic.
    #7
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  8. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    Great thread!

    I have been using OSMand for years but have never used Locus.

    It seems to me that OSMand develppers are aiming at becoming more mainstream by simplifying the app by removing optuons and settings. I can live with that but unfortunately OSMand has some weird power consumption issue - it drains the batteries of both my phone's even while they are on a 2.1A charger. I believe it is related to the map rendering while navigating a GPX track or maybe the fact that, as someone already mentioned, OSMand is constantly announcing a turn at every twist of the GPX track. Whatever it is, it makes OSMand useless for more than a half day rides and that is rarely the timeframe if you have made the effort to plan a route.

    As an A to B navigation OSMand obviously doesn't stand a chance against the likes of Google Maps or Offline Maps & Navigation.
    #8
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  9. GCecchetto

    GCecchetto Long timer

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    I’ve been playing with Galileo mostly, and it seems pretty solid for off-road navigation. Wish it was part of the comparison here.

    That said, I also have Locus installed but have only spent about 10 minutes playing with it. Couldn’t even figure out haw to change the color of a track. I like the idea of the custom overlays though, so I’ll definitely put some time into learning it.
    #9
  10. AdvNener

    AdvNener Been here awhile

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    Go to track details (either from the map screen by clicking the track or from the track manager) and color choice is right there on the first tab.

    I'm a big locus fanboy myself so can't really help directly compare the two apps
    #10
  11. GCecchetto

    GCecchetto Long timer

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    Thanks. I definitely need to spend some time learning Locus.
    #11
  12. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    I am mostly using these apps for navigating predefined routes. How does that work on Locus?

    My main issue with OSMand is that it considers "turn" each and every twist in the GPX track meaning that the auto off screen between turns is mostly useless.. It has a "snap to road" option for GPX tracks but I can't make it work.
    #12
  13. AdvNener

    AdvNener Been here awhile

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    You can either use guidance or navigation on a track
    Guidance is simply going from gpx point to point in a straight line. Different options to show direction to next point, auto off/on screen depending on distance, bip alert, etc etc

    Navigating means locus will fill the gap between gpx point according to the selected routing engine (several are available, on and offline, a bit of configuration to do here…). You can choose to generate turn instructions. With the offline brouter engine/osm data those instructions match real intersections. If there is only one navigable road/path between two gpx points, no turn instruction. Again a lot of choice for notifications.
    #13
  14. petertakov

    petertakov Been here awhile

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    Thank you, that seems to be what I need.
    One more question - does Locus Pro allow downloading the OSM classic for offline use? The free version does not.
    #14
  15. AdvNener

    AdvNener Been here awhile

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    AFAIK you can either download osm maps by buying (not very expensive) them in the locus store (LoMaps), or download them for free from the openandromaps website. As the POI database format from locus is not published (yet?), the later solution does not provide pois for locus (i think they do for osmand, so that's a + for osmand there).
    #15
  16. GCecchetto

    GCecchetto Long timer

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    Bought the Locus Pro upgrade last night, was really liking the flexibility in how you show tracks, got all the maps I need loaded, and then I get the message “your phones memory is almost full”.

    I set the route directory to SDCard, and all maps show as being on the SDCard, but they aren’t, they’re actually on the internal memory! WTF? So, guess I need to learn more about setting up Locus.

    I really need them on the SD card as I’m using the new Samsung Tab Active2, which has a great processor, but only 16 go of internal memory. I have a 256 go card in it, so I should have plenty of memory if I can get the maps stored on the card.
    #16
  17. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    you didn't move your maps yet.. you just told locus to store future maps there....


    copy your maps to some directory on sdcard.
    open locus offline maps, and press the +
    search for where you copied those maps
    select directory


    you can have lots of different directories for maps, I have about five
    #17
  18. GCecchetto

    GCecchetto Long timer

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    Thanks, I'll try that, but I did set the root directory as SDCard before I downloaded any maps.
    #18
  19. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    depending on your version of Android, there will be sdcard and sdcard1.... the latter is external
    #19
  20. GCecchetto

    GCecchetto Long timer

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    No sdcard1 for me. I’m thinking I should blow the whole thing out and start over.
    #20