Sam Booth

Mapping Software Comparison: Mobile Apps

As I mentioned in the introduction, I prefer to print routes and put them in a map case to take them on the hill, so apps aren’t my main focus. However, I know that they are very popular, so I plan to revisit this page in a few months and update it with much more detail.

Mobile apps can be used when you’re out and about, they can be used in vehicles (safely of course) or when you’re on the sofa at home. It’s great to be able to check out maps, or an old route, whenever the fancy takes you.

Most providers offer an app, of varying quality, on both Android and iOS. Unfortunately RouteBuddy is only available on iOS, and as I only have Android devices, I’m unable to review it in this article.

App Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Available on Android Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Available on iOS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

In my comparison of what they offer, I’ve split the features into “companion features” that are designed to work alongside the main PC application, and “standalone features” where the app is more than just a viewer for content created on the PC.

Companion features

Map availability

For many people, the most important feature will be whether maps purchased for the PC application will carry over to the app. This is a definite yes for all providers except Mapyx, as their maps on subscription are not available on the app, although tiles carry across with no problem.

The next most important feature to me is being able to download areas of mapping for offline use. All the providers offer this, and it’s an essential feature as many rural and upland areas have poor mobile coverage, so you can’t rely on having a reliable data signal.

Route transfer

The method used to transfer routes from the PC to the app varies between providers. OS Maps is entirely cloud-based, so everything you do on the app is available straight away on the PC (as long as you have a data signal or WiFi for it to synchronise in the background). ViewRanger is web-based so you would expect it to behave in the same way, but it’s actually a fairly manual process. To download routes from the web to the app, you have to click a “synchronise” button in the app, which I’ve categorised as “manual bulk”. To upload routes from the app to the web, you have to click a different “synchronise” button per route, which I’ve categorised as “manual single”.

Anquet is embracing the cloud approach and has a single “synchronise” button on the PC application and mobile app that synchronises everything, in both directions, automatically.

Mapyx Quo and Memory-Map use a “manual single” approach where specific routes need to be sent from the PC to the app manually. Even though I’ve categorised it as “manual single”, in reality you can select multiple routes at the same time.

Export to Mobile Device on Mapyx Quo

I don’t have a clear view on which method I prefer. On the one hand, it’s useful to have all your routes available all of the time. On the other hand, I can see why it would be useful to have all your routes available on the PC but keep your mobile device free of clutter, by only synchronising routes that you need to use on the app.

Formatting consistency

Once you’ve synchronised your routes, you may be surprised if they look different on the app to how they did on the PC. Anquet, Memory-Map and OS Maps retain the formatting options with no problems. Mapyx supports most (but not all) formatting options on the app, but I would be surprised if it supported everything that the PC application does, as it sets the bar so high. More details on what is and isn’t supported can be found on my detailed Mapyx Quo review. ViewRanger only supports formatting on the app, and not the web interface.

Formatting differences between the Mapyx mobile app and PC application

Finally, here’s a comparison chart for good measure:

App Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Maps carry over Yes Partial (not subscriptions) Yes Yes Unable to review Yes
Maps available offline Yes Yes Yes Yes Unable to review Yes
Synchronisation of routes Manual bulk Manual single Manual single Fully automatic Unable to review See note
Formatting carries over Yes Partial Yes Yes Unable to review No (only available on app)

Standalone features

Some apps can be used even without the PC application, for plotting routes, recording tracks and even importing GPX files.

Mapyx Quo has the most basic app of the lot. The functionality in general is very basic, and you can’t plot routes or import GPX files directly into the app. You can record tracks, but the feature is so well-hidden that I never knew until I read the manual to the last page.

Anquet, Memory-Map, OS Maps and ViewRanger are all what I would class as “fully-featured” apps that could all function on their own, even if you didn’t use the main application. However, one of the small drawbacks of OS Maps is that you can’t import GPX files directly into the app.

And finally here’s a comparison chart showing feature availability:

App Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Plot a route Yes Yes Yes Yes Unable to review Yes
Import route from GPX Yes No Yes No Unable to review Yes
Record a track Yes Yes Yes Yes Unable to review Yes


ViewRanger stands out here as it’s definitely “app first” and “web second”. If that’s what you need, then OS Maps is a definite contender as well. Having said that, Anquet and Memory-Map have obviously both invested a lot into their app, and they are feature rich and pleasant to use.

Mapyx has the most basic app, which ticks the essential boxes but not much more.

Do you agree with my ranking? What features are most important to you? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

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