Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Dear friends!

As promised, MAPS.ME goes open source. Why are we doing this?

First of all, the open-source app will enable other mobile developers to embed maps in their mobile products for free, with almost no restrictions.

Second, now you can not only contribute to the OpenStreetMap data, but also contribute to the MAPS.ME app itself.

But the most important thing is that mappers and humanitarian activists will use it to improve OpenStreetMap and facilitate relief efforts in the rural areas of disasters and political crises where other digital maps do not provide data, and reliable internet connection is not available.

Fast-updating maps are crucial in areas of humanitarian aid, especially in rural areas and lesser mapped countries. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is constantly working to encourage people to update OSM in these areas. Efforts like Missing Maps’ events prepare maps for printing and uploading to GPS devices by using volunteers in the field. The open-sourced MAPS.ME application now is included into these volunteer’s toolset, and HOT members can not only install the app for doctors and aid workers, reducing the need to teach them how to use it, but also provide people with the most updated maps. Open source means users can tailor the app to their needs, for example, adjusting the map style so important elements like fresh water taps and refugee camps are immediately visible.

“MAPS.ME's decision means that people around the world will now have access to a professionally developed, cross-platform code base that they can freely work with, and that can be customized and remixed into tools of all sorts.” said Blake Girardot, Volunteer Mapper and Member of the Board of Directors, HOT. “The ability to tailor an application means that we can make sure we are presenting or collecting our data in the most efficient way possible for the communities we serve. We will benefit directly from MAPS.ME's decision to open source their applications, and have already started planning for how we can provide our humanitarian focused geographic data and maps for use in the MAPS.ME application.” 

MAPS.ME’s code will also be available under the Apache 2.0 license, which means free usage for users, even when being used for commercial purposes. You can participate in the development of MAPS.ME or get familiar with its source code here:

Saturday, September 12, 2015


MAPS.ME launched its Walking Directions feature, that allows hikers as well as urban users to find the best way to reach their destination. 

According to founder Yury Melnichek, MAPS.ME is the best visualization application for mobile for open location data provided by OpenStreetMap, a crowd-sourced map service. The company claims that in some areas MAPS.ME is more accurate than Google maps, specifically for trails in remote locations and for countries that are not on the internet giant’s priority list for mapping. 

As a matter of fact, more people in big cities prefer to walk because of traffic congestions and parking prices, and the traffic has gone crazy for the past two years, due to the tech bubble. 

Since MAPS.ME relies on the OpenStreetMap community of 2.2 million users who produce 2 million edits per day with an average of 23,000 contributors per month, it seems that a lot of unique data such as footpaths or staircases for example are made visible, unlike in other map services. “MAPS.ME walking routes extend where Google Maps can’t, including footpaths, walking trails and even up staircases, because MAPS.ME data is gathered by its enthusiastic community of contributors,” said Yury Melnichek, Head of Maps Business Unit, Mail.Ru Group.

Q&A with Yury Melnichek, founder, MAPS.ME

How and when did you decide start the company behind 

It was an easy choice. I needed a map for my travels that works offline, and also Google Maps didn’t have any data for my home country (Belarus) back then. So after leaving Google and traveling for quite a while, I started MAPS.ME. 

How is different and better than Google Maps? What about Waze? 

MAPS.ME works even when there is no Internet connection, since all the data is downloaded on a phone before the first use. Google Maps and Waze are very limited once cell coverage is poor. is not very well known by the mainstream users in the U.S., because Google map is very accurate here, do you think you can make it more popular? 

I think we can do that by launching features that work better than Google. For example, OpenStreetMap data is better suited for pedestrian navigation, and so we are launching walking directions. As international travel increases, offline becomes more important, and more mainstream users will hear about MAPS.ME. [editor’s note: data roaming is often unavailable or too expensive] 

As the main difference between the Google map services (Google Maps, Waze, Google Earth) and is the use of open data, how do you see the future of your service compared to Google? Do you think you can efficiently compete against this internet giant?

I strongly believe in open data, that is being constantly reviewed by other people. It not about MAPS.ME alone competing with Google, but about the whole ecosystem of companies around OpenStreetMap. And as the data quality in OpenStreetMap gets better and better, I think it will eventually become the best source of map data, similar to how Wikipedia became the best encyclopedia. 

Since the acquisition by Group in November 2014, MAPS.ME is free. Can you share with us the business model, currently and in the future? 

We are focused on growing MAPS.ME and OSM community at the moment, in the future we will offer them additional services such as hotel and taxi booking.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Are you a happy owner of AppleWatch? Then check the AppStore: MAPS.ME version for your device is out!

What’s in?
  • Position location and tracking movements on the map in real time.
  • Category search.
  • Zoom in and out on the map.
  • Works offline as the main app. 
How to use?
  • To zoom in, tap the top part of the screen. To zoom out a bit, tap the middle part of the screen. To zoom out more, tap the bottom part of the screen.
  • Make a long tap to open Search. Choose the category.
  • Tap the POI to cancel it or to make a new search.

MAPS.ME for Apple Watch is optimized for the device’s relatively small screen. You will not have to type anything on the watch’s display: to find a place to dine or the location of the nearest ATM, simply choose the desired category (“Food”, “Hotels”, “Fuel” or “Transport”). The watch then displays a list of the nearest businesses and the distance to each of them.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Those of you who monitor our progress already know that we have a tradition to escape from the office with the whole team for a week or two. This year is not an exception. We spent the whole last week in a small hotel complex on a river bank.

There were a lot of tasks, but the team is also not as small as it used to be! 22 people occupied 2 hotel zones, one was more quiet, for individual work, the other one was for discussions and different team tasks.

Stuff and other guests looked at us suspiciously, because a crowd with laptops who don’t go to bed neither at midnight, nor at 3 a.m. looks pretty strange. Well, guys could go to sleep any time they wanted, but some of our colleagues can be so passionate about their work that don’t notice time at all. 

General Fatigue appeared on the 3rd day when non-stop discussions finally turned into realisation: marathon of programming and testing. We creeped out for breakfast not so cheerfully, each day later and later. Fewer and fewer people attended evening games and chose to sleep. However, team was inspired, eyes were shining and we were infected with enthusiasm and new ideas.

Considering the fact that our team grew 2 times in a couple of months, new people were the majority. 2 developers haven’t worked with us before the trip even a day. But after a week we got a feeling that we know each other for years.

Last evening we spent in tet-a-tet talks, when every person complimented each of the colleagues and also advised him or her on what could be improved. Even if there were any misunderstandings during the hackathon, Feedback Evening helped us to solve them.

We won’t tell you about the results of this hackathon, because it’s better to show them in a new release, but you bet we’re preparing something interesting!

Friday, April 3, 2015

What's new in 4.3.1?

4.3.1 version of MAPS.ME has been released on Google Play, Samsung Apps and Amazon and you certainly want to know what we’ve added into it. The first feature was the most desired for our users since we released the version with routing. Yeah, this is it: now you can create routes across countries and regions!

The second addition was also often mentioned in your feedback recently. Previously when you opened the POI information you could only see the name, the type of the object, direct distance to it and coordinates of the place. Now you get twice and even three times more! Just take a look and discover more about the places: opening hours, website, phone number, ATM operator, gas station operator, cuisine type and some more.

Don’t forget: if something is missing, you can always add it at, where we take maps from. Help people to learn more about a place you live or visit and they will pay you back.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


As you know, MAPS.ME data source is OpenStreetMap project, which is free, open-source and world-wide. The main bonus that we get is a possibility to have details that we can’t find in other map sources. Who else can show you fountains, benches and even trees? Not to mention the wide rank of different venues and objects that are marked carefully on OSM. 

But these maps are not only useful for travelers and locals in their trips and everyday life — these maps can save lives. And this is not a metaphor. How it could be? Please read further.


A huge number of different settlements still remain a blank spot on the world map. They are extremely exposed to disasters and no one knows how numerous they are. Organizations that help these areas have to buy photocopies of local maps or use satellite maps without streets and even towns mentioned on them. Obviously, they also have to ask locals for help. Everytime they waste time trying to find the place they need, and each minute of delay costs life to somebody. 

People in Europe or USA can’t imagine their day without maps, but when a doctor of Red Cross ask a survivor from unknown place where his home is, and he hears, for example, “Bobere”, he never knows, if it is a street, a village or maybe an area. 

The Missing Maps project is a genius answer to this problem. It unites Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Red Cross, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and other participants to create free maps for each settlement on Earth.


HOT invented a method, which is simple and allows to join the project remotely. The first step is to get satellite images. Sometimes they are received from unexpected sources like USA government or Microsoft. Then pictures become available in OpenStreetMap, so volunteers from all over the world can join and help to literally trace the outlines of buildings, roads, parks and rivers. Thus they get a digital city map, though yet basic.

Then the map, which still lacks street and landmarks names is printed out. It’s time for volunteers who are physically located in the area. They take pencils, printed maps and start to write down names in every little part of the mentioned place. The completed maps return back to Missing Maps HQ where they are filled on OSM. As a result, there is a free and open-source map for any needs. Now doctors and help teams don’t lose time to find a place they need, they spend this time to help. This means more people can be rescued and cured.


Before and after ... Monrovia, Liberia now has a free digital map to help the fight against Ebola, thanks to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
“Maps make us think of things like finding a restaurant on the web or navigating with a satnav,” says Harry Wood, a member of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team board. “But somebody also used a map for deciding which road the bus route should go down, and deciding where the road should be in the first place. When you think about it, maps are a basic fundamental knowledge tool, woven into our urban environment, and silently improving our lives in all sorts of ways.”

Thursday, February 12, 2015


St Valentine’s Day is the second best day (according to Chillisauce) to propose to the most important person of your life. It’s rather obvious - romance is very much in the air on the Day of Love. Choosing a place to propose is probably as much important as choosing a wedding ring. Paris, Venice, Juliet’s House in Verona and numerous islands are the most popular travel destinations to ask the most important question of your life. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to say “Will you marry me?” in some kind of ordinary place, here is Top 5 world’s unusual places to propose which you can find with the help of MAPS.ME.

Taj Mahal (India)

Taj Mahal was built as a symbol of a boundless love of Shah Jahan to his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a persian princess. The strongest feeling inspired the ruler to construct one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Romantic stories and awesome views generally make us want to be a hero of our own love story, so your Chosen One will definitely agree to spent a whole life with you.

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves (New Zealand)

Dark caves are probably not very romantic places unless it is covered inside with… glow worms! Those creatures flicker mysteriously which turns a dark place into beautiful breathtaking canvas. It’s better than a night sky full of stars, believe us. Amused by such a scene your partner will have no words except YES!

Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany)

If your Beloved likes fairy tales or is fond of stunning views, the perfect place to make a proposal is a Neuschwanstein Castle. Not mentioning the landscape, the castle is so amazing itself, that Walt Disney chose it to be the Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures. Remember that fairy tales always have a happy end. 

Stairway to heaven (Hawaii)

The stairs that ascend up and down the mountains seem as if they would lead the way up to Heaven. Guess what was the reason to name this place as it is. The beauty of the surroundings would blow away anyone’s mind. But be extremely attentive: enter to the Haiku Stairs may be prohibited because of some reconstruction. If you both will climb these long, long stairs, who on Earth would be able to prevent you from living happily ever after like in Heaven? We believe it’s a brilliant place to start your long way together.

Ice Hotel (Sweden)

Using 31,000 tonnes of ice and snow from the nearby frozen Torne River, this Ice hotel was one of the first of its kind when it was originally built in 1990. Each year it opens in December before melting away in the middle of April. So you have a wonderful chance to say important words on Feb. 14, until the hotel is gone again. The houses made of ice are as unusual as cold, but that’s where hearts are melting for sure. Besides, if your fiancé(e) agrees to stay with you in such a frozen place for the whole night, why not spending the whole life together? :)