A new version of my (for years in a row) preferred map app Maps.me has been posted on the App Store today. After downloading and launching the new version, I could not believe my eyes. The app underwent a visual refresh (which admittedly looks nice), but unfortunately also underwent some significant functional changes1.
First of all, the incredible level of detail2 that used to be the signature feature of Maps.me is entirely gone. The app used to show literally every trash bin, but from now on not even house numbers are available any longer.
The only improvement that I’m willing to admit is that Maps.me can now show locations on the map without loading the respective map for offline usage first.
Next, it seems that the app (for inexplicable reasons) only works in portrait mode, which is a big bummer on the iPad. On top of that, all my already downloaded maps are gone after the update. I’m asked to download maps for offline usage again.
But if I look at the storage visualization in Settings.app, several gigabytes of storage seem to be allocated by Maps.me still. So, it seems that Maps.me still retains access to the data, it just refuses to display them any longer.
I have no idea what happens to all the still allocated storage that is no longer accessible in the long term. Would I need to delete and reinstall the app to get the storage back? I deleted and reinstalled the app, and sure enough the storage utilization with the same amount of downloaded maps is much lower.
Until the release of this new version, it was possible to log in with your Open Streetmap account and report issues with the existing map data. These issues would usually be fixed in a short amount of time by Open Streetmap volunteers, way faster than other map providers (I’m looking at you, Apple) would even dream of.
The new version offers some kind of reporting functionality that redirects to a website that is not functional, according to my experiences. At least, I wasn’t able to report a broken location on that website.
Further examples concerning the functional degradation: opening hours of local businesses that used to be provided by the app are no longer accessible. It is also not even possible to get an information about the address of an arbitrary location on the map.
And finally, the app crashes like crazy. I was unable to work with the app for more than a minute without Maps.me becoming unresponsive and would only work again if I killed it in the task switcher and launched it again from Springboard.
All this would not be a such a big deal for me if there was any other app that came even close to the usefulness that Maps.me had for me until yesterday. Now, I’ll stop using Maps.me and I’m left with only a so-so plan B for a halfway privacy-respecting map solution.
In other words, the second best app (in my opinion) in the domain of map apps that show data from Open Streetmap, CityMaps2Go, quite frankly gets at most lukewarm endorsements from me.
But I will have to live with it for the moment, maybe until the big relaunch in the sky of Apple Maps in Europe is somehow happening. Or, which would be my preferred solution, a new app that utilizes Open Streetmap data in a decent form for offline-usage hits the market. I don’t need guides or bonuses, just the map data. But it does not seem as if there is a market for that category of apps.
Update (2021-01-04): a couple of days ago, a new version (12.0) of Maps.me was released on the App Store. It fixes all the issues I have complained about in 11.0, and restores the old maps, with all the glorious details. It is basically the old app with the visual refreshes (which I like, as mentioned above).
I also got a response to a review that I left on the AppStore of version 11.0. The response also clarifies that the developers have listened to the responses from the users (I was obviously not the only one who came out unhappy after the update) and that the new version 12.0 shall be the basis for Maps.me, going forward.
Thanks guys, this change of direction is much appreciated.
- Frankly, “regression” would be a far more accurate description for the changes. ↩
- Thanks to using map data from the Open Streetmap project. ↩