back to article Would you trust crowd-sourced maps? Skobbler releases satnav app

Privacy-conscious Apple fanbois worried about The Man tracking their every move can now buy - and update - an offline mapping app from open-source mapping biz Skobbler. Skobbler uses maps from the OpenStreetMap project, a crowd-sourced effort which offers an alternative to the maps offerings from Google, Bing and Nokia. …

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  1. JetSetJim Silver badge

    ...or

    use OsmAnd. Free, same data (OSM), online or offline, including navigation

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge

      or Navfree?

      I find its navigation smoother (less of the map wriggling about and 'route recalculation warnings') than OSMand though they generally get the same answer

      1. A Man From Bras
        Facepalm

        Or...

        CityMaps2Go

        or... several other free or paid for apps that use OSM.

        Even by El Reg's recent standards of unthinkingly recycling press releases, this is a total non-story. You owe me a minute of my life back!

  2. Peter Williams 1

    "But only by tracking our every move can Google and its competitors deliver information we didn't know we wanted"

    Surely you mean "we didn't know we didn't want"

    Pete

    1. Stephen Soutar

      I find the real time traffic info on google maps useful. I check how well the traffic is flowing before I head somewhere. If no one was tracked, that wouldn't work.

      1. Sporkinum

        same as cookies

        It's the same thing with cookies and ads on websites. The majority of people don't care, so the data going into traffic is going to be useful.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Crowdsourced mapping application

    Watch this get taken down in a week for breaking the 'duplicates iOS functionality' rule.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, OSM has been available on Android for years. Waze is another user-contributing GPS app and there are probably others available too so Android really does not need Skobbler anyway. We have to leave something for the few remaining apple enthusiasts.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a small nit...

    There are three Map making companies. Nokia bought Navteq after Tom Tom bought TeleAtlas. (Thats two) The third is Google who went in to the map making biz after first using both Navteq and TeleAtlas. (Google is though the only one who was War Driving the world...)

    Microsoft is in partnership w Nokia so when you talk about Microsoft Maps, its really Nokia data.

    Posted Anon because I happen to know a bit more about the topic than I can publicly talk about.

  6. Pink Duck
    Meh

    Speed limits?

    It's worth pointing out that OpenStreetMap's coverage of speed limits is very much a work in progress. That significantly affects the routing decisions of satellite navigation using its data. Most of the time it works well enough, but there are roads that without tagging are presumed to be 60 mph but are likely a lower limit in reality.

    1. David Kelly 2

      Re: Speed limits?

      For lack of data it makes ASSUMPTIONS? Thats simply wrong. If it doesn't know then it would know more than it does now if it simply says "don't know."

      1. Harry Wood

        Re: Speed limits?

        Well the way a satnav works, it performs complex routing calculations over road network data, which involves taking into account speed limit data for the roads. Specifically it would be a bit more likely to direct you down a road with a high speed limit to get you to your destination faster. "A bit more likely" but it's not a certainty of course. It's all just fuzzy influences on the routing calculation.

        Now at what point in this process would you like your satnav to say "I don't know"?

    2. Harry Wood

      Re: Speed limits?

      Speaking of missing data....

      Now you can add "notes" to OpenStreetMap (check out the little "add a note" link in the bottom right of the openstreetmap.org homepage) This is a brand new feature added a few days ago. In fact skobbler's app has a problem reporting feature built into it too. This means that even if you can't understand how to edit OpenStreetMap (takes a little while to learn), you can very easily help provided information on speed limits.

      Also check out ITO Map's speed limit view: http://www.itoworld.com/map/124 to see where speed limit data is filled in already in OpenStreetMap

  7. Fuzz

    tracking

    "without the cloud following one's every step"

    I may be wrong but I was under the impression that if you use location services on a smartphone you agree to let Apple/Google/MS track your movements. The actual app you use is unimportant because it still taps into the location service on the device.

  8. Gunnar Wolf

    MapsWithMe

    I use MapsWithMe on my Android device. Every now and then, I connect to the network and download updated data. And yes, although it's not as comfortable as doing it on a big screen, I sometimes also use Vespucci to edit maps on the spot; my edits are saved until I decide to upload them.

    I do not have nor plan to get a data plan (and, replying to Fuzz's message, I am completely aware the phone might be logging my movements to later upload them to Google), but I have the full OSM data set for my country. Not as complete as I'd like, but much better than not having it, or to having to pay for data every time I open the maps.

  9. handle

    "Would you trust crowd-sourced maps?"

    TfL does, for one.

  10. moiety

    "...all the other cloud-based intelligence Google and its ilk are hoping to deliver to us - functionality which costs us nothing more than our privacy."

    You say that like it's a trivial thing. How many divorces have been caused -or at least enabled- by Facebook? You never know who's going to be accessing and using the information; nor what they will do with it.

    "costs us nothing more than our privacy; and potentially life, freedom and/or everything you own". Fixed that for you.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      I could hear the irony ....

      and see the twisted smile when the author wrote that comment. It's interesting how people see/hear things in different ways.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Worldwide Navigation --- but not in my country

    Is what I'm told by Google "Play" for the android version.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GooGhoul tracking: Thanks to the users who posted alternatives....

    "Microsoft, Google and Nokia all fund their free maps by selling local adverts and delivering them to users who wander near enough. That means tracking users, an idea many people find repugnant.."

    ........ Personally I'm getting fucked off with GooGhoul and FB and others treating us like data patsies!

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    "Google refused to provide retention periods for the personal data it processes"

    ........ As we learned from the CNIL French regulator investigation, we are powerless to protect our privacy. I'm still asking if Google Analytics captured data is fed into their Ad system? My guess is on some level the data is indeed fed in. I offer three reasons:-

    1. Google is becoming the new school-yard bully that Microsoft used to be.

    2. As FB farms more personal data Google is fearing it will lose competitive advantage.

    3. On the Reg last week we learned that Google Execs deliberately captured street view WiFi data for competitive business reasons, but then lied and blamed it on a lone rogue programmer! Therefore their lets-not-be-evil morality is a bad joke on us!

  13. Swiss Anton
    Stop

    I wouldn't trust OSM, because I've caused someone to go the wrong way.

    A couple of years ago I added a mile or so of narrow country lane to the OSM database. Fast forward six months and a group of us are meeting up at a pub.

    One of the party arrives late, fuming about how his free phone software sent him down some narrow country lane with bikes & horses and ... all slowing him down. He goes on to describe where it happened. I smile. Then I tell him I was responsible because I mapped the lane. LOL

  14. doctau

    "Would you trust crowd-sourced maps?"

    Not completely, but you shouldn't trust non-crowd sourced maps either. Google maps has a whole lot of mistakes near where I live, including a number of "roads" which are someone's paddock.

  15. crayon
    WTF?

    "Microsoft, Google and Nokia all fund their free maps by selling local adverts and delivering them to users who wander near enough. ..."

    I don't know about Winphones, but on Symbian phones Nokia maps does not deliver adverts.

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