On a recent trip through Yuxi, Honghe, Puer and Xishuangbanna, I noticed there are sometimes big discrepancies between Google Maps, Baidu Maps and Tencent Maps in terms of the accuracy of locations, navigation routes and new roads. They all seemed to have their strengths in different places...although I'm not using Google services much these days: maps app is too slow through VPN and no longer supports offline maps in China. And the web app has been stripped of many of its useful features like elevation profiles. Google earth resolution is often not high enough to be useful in rural areas (can't find small roads on the satellite imagery because it's too blurry), and also suffers from slow connection problem.
So has anybody studied this in a more systematic way? What's the best mapping application to use in Yunnan? Or do you have recommendations about where and for to what ends to use different products?
Oh and also, any thoughts about which navigation software has the most comprehensive and up-to-date speed trap database? I've mostly used Baidu for navigation in the past, but I find that even on relatively major roads it often contains speed traps that do not actually exist and fails to notify of actual speed traps.
One more question. Anybody have any idea what is the difference between the big speed traps that extend all the way across the lanes of travel and the small camera/radar stations that are installed on poles on the side of the road?
I use Osmand app. It is by far the best mapping/GPS app out there. I use it all over the world with no problems.
I tried open street maps years ago and even chipped in a few times to make corrections and additions to the database. But I ultimately found it to be really lagging behind the pace of change in Yunnan. Lots of roads and streets missing, etc.
Sounds like it might have improved. I'll give it a whirl.
I use Autonavi for GPS navigation. Used it in Yunnan a few times. Chinese mapping data so sort-of up to date! You've got to be careful with some of its route suggestions though. When driving from Shuanglang zhen to Shaxi guzhen it tried to take me the direct route. Which must have been one of the original mountain tracks of the old horse & tea road! iPhone version is available in English, not sure of the Androud version.
Apple maps uses the same mapping data but has a lot less functionality
Osm has gotten a lot better for china, but still trails on detail level to the others outside of major cities. But it can offline cache easy. It was usable for navigating wenshan, but again, not the same detail level as gmaps or baidu, and if you go more rural osm isn't useful detail wise.
Apple maps is similar to gmaps on detail level but routes a lot better since it's autonavi. Also, I think you don't need a vpn, but you do need an ios device.
You can get gmaps without the vpn but no pinyin. Just use your browser.
Gmaps app will cache parts of Yunnan offline. Just anywhere around Vietnam border, as Vietnam doesn't have that stupid policy preventing Google from caching offline. Also, you can always cache certain amount by manually scrolling your next destination and then turning on airplane mode. But you lose lots of points of interest and some street name detail.
I think Nokia maps were suppose to be good for China, but i don't have a Nokia phone to play with.
Any windows phone users can comment on their map app and if it's better than Gmaps for china?
I've been using 高德地图 (Gaode Maps). I haven't tried it in more remote areas, but it works great for Kunming, the few prefecture-level cities I've tried, and the highway network.
I recommend maps.me, offline map available
@ Jitkah. Are you in China yet and used maps.me?