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I have been adding data to the OSM Database since mid 2008 but I have never used it because I am mapping my home area and I don't need a navigable device for my rambling and bicycling. However, just for fun, I would like to purchase the 3G hardware to use OSM data on my holidays. My thoughts tend to a Samsung Galaxy using an app such as OsmAnd. Now I have never had a mobile phone let alone a 3G device so what I would like to know from you guys with experience: Am I on the right track of thought or am I missing something. As you can imagine I don't want to spend any money if it my vision cannot be realise. This begs other questions (I am very ignorant). Do I need all that memory these devices have? How many MByte can I expect to need per month? Obviously this depends on personal usage so I'll ask it another way: How many MBytes would be downloaded when calling for OSM-data? If the average is say 20MB and I have a 200MB limit then I would have only 10 downloads per month. If however the average is only 20kBytes per download then I could have 1000 downloads per month which would probably be more than adequate for fun. I would be very grateful for you experiences. Please feel free to advise as, as I have said, I am completely ignorant on mobile phones. For example would an iPhone with another app be better for this purpose

asked 12 Feb '11, 19:27

dcp's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I bought a Galaxy one month ago and I'm generally quite satisfied with it (I used iPhone and other phones before).

However when considering using today's mobile phones for GPS logging and navigation, you'll be disappointed with the battery life - anything more than a 3-4 hours of logging will drain your battery. Even with GPS turned off, I need to recharge the battery practically every day or two days (I don't make that many calls, but I do use the phone for browsing and apps).

One solution is to buy an extra battery and an external charger for Galaxy (around 20 EUR if I remember correctly).

I also use Garmin handhelds. Compared to Galaxy, Garmin's pros are:

  • Better battery life
  • Standard batteries (2xAA)
  • Ruggedness / waterproof
  • Better GPS reception


  • Closed system (and a bit outdated), no way to run your own apps
  • Slower than Android
  • You need an extra unit to carry around (together with the phone)

I still use Garmin Oregon for mapping purposes. But I think the days of Garmins are numbered: once the proper Android units come, Garmins will be totally obsolete. By "proper" I mean a rugged unit with an extra battery (or batteries) and a good GPS chip.

As for offline maps: try Oruxmaps app if OsmAnd doesn't satisfy you - it has the ability to download offline maps, too.

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answered 13 Feb '11, 11:46

Breki's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

edited 13 Feb '11, 11:48


Of course I forgot to mention that I have a Garmin GPSMap 60CSx which I use for collecting data for OSM so I agree with your Garmin Pros and can follow the Cons. The reason I want a 3G phone is actually as I have said "just for fun". I have often landed at a restaurant only to find the doors closed (especially in winter) so a 3G phone would be ideal to call ahead. Unfortunately OSM is still very incomplete as far as opening_times and phone numbers are concerned. With a 3G phone I could Google the restaurant in question and get the data I need.

(14 Feb '11, 15:24) dcp

Well if you're having it for fun, I can recommend buying it (after all, you can play Angry Birds with it :) ). But watch out for your mobile bill, my own increased 100% after I've bought it.

(14 Feb '11, 18:40) Breki

+1 for OruxMaps. I'm using it for several days and it seems superior to other Android apps. I have also asked a question about apps here:

(22 Feb '11, 06:37) ivanatora

You can generate offline maps for Osmand and do not use internet connection at all. However Osmand currently has some problems with saving gpx tracks (loosing track if the screen is locked). I'm also searching for descent osm app for Android.

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answered 13 Feb '11, 09:33

ivanatora's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

Thank you for your answer. I would continue to use my Garmin and Creative voice recorder for tracking and storing OSM attributes. In my comment above I have explained with a little more detail my thoughts on the 3G phone usage. You are saying that I could generate OSM maps offline to a Galaxy and still use it to navigate. Is this so? For example, I am going to Portugal next months for 4 weeks. Could I download the OSM map of Portugal and navigate off-line. I will have my Garmin 60CSx with me with the OSM data on the SD-Card but it would be nice to know if it would also work on the Galaxy.

(14 Feb '11, 15:43) dcp

Maps are generated offline via OsmAndMapCreator here: About offline routing - I'm not sure. I think it can do it, because OsmAnd uses indexed vector maps. You'd better check for yourself - the app is free.

(15 Feb '11, 10:37) ivanatora

You don't have to generate the maps yourself. OsmAnd offers a wide variety of regions ready for download from within the application. Just go to Settings > Data for offline usage. So you could download the Portugal map (and maybe the according POIs) and use it offline. Offline routing: It's not possible. So for creating the route initially you will have to be online. After that you will no longer need the online connection (unless you have to recalculate).

(31 Mar '11, 16:05) hobbesvsboyle

I use an old Nokia phone (E71) with GpsMid and I create the maps (or actually the midlets) offline with OSM2GpsMid. It has routing capabilities, tracks your movements and you can add waypoints. I am very satisfied with the result. So if you want a cheap solution to realise your vision, I think that everything is available (as long as you are prepared to fiddle around with creating the midlets etc).

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answered 18 Oct '12, 23:42

Nachtspazz's gravatar image

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question asked: 12 Feb '11, 19:27

question was seen: 14,176 times

last updated: 18 Oct '12, 23:42

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum