New app gives Google Maps some competition

The navigation startup Skobbler has just released a mapping app for Android devices that offers users more information offline, so it doesn't have to eat up your data plan.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read
Skobbler's ForeverMap2 offers map information both online and offline. Skobbler

If you're looking for a mapping app that won't eat up your data plan and will give you results lickety split, Skobbler's ForeverMap2 may be that app.

The navigation technology startup hopes to give Google Maps a run for its money with its ForeverMap2 app that works both online and offline. The company today launched the ForeverMap2 app for Android devices.

The app uses mapping information from the open-source project OpenStreetMap, which has built maps via crowd-sourcing. OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world started in 2004 that allows anyone to view, edit, and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere in the world. It's a lot like Wikipedia for maps.

Marcus Thielking, co-founder and chief marketing officer for Skobbler, said that using the OpenStreetMap data offers more granularity for its maps and allows people to find more accurate local information.

One of the key features of ForeverMap2 is the fact that it can be used both online and offline. While Google Maps also allows users to view map information offline, ForeverMap2 allows users to search and zoom in using offline maps.

"Google Maps is mainly used online," said Marcus Thielking, co-founder and chief marketing officer for Skobbler. "It has some minor offline capabilities. But Google is inclined to keep users online for as long as possible. We give people a choice so you as a user can interact with maps either online or offline."

The app costs 99 cents and online maps are freely available to users. But maps that are downloaded for offline use can be purchased within the app. The company is allowing users to get access to one country map for free for offline use. The app is currently only available for Android devices. But will eventually introduce a similar app for the iPhone 5.