We absolutely love the libre, open source OsmAnd offline mobile navigator. But we missed Google Map's live traffic. Here's how to add it to the superior navigation app!




Lets be clear; you need an active data connection for this to work as OsmAnd is an offline map navigator with online capabilities when the network is available (LTE, 4G, GSM, Wifi or whatever).

OsmAnd uses what is called an Overlay Map on top of the main road map much like any other map navigator. You can download all sorts of supplemental information relevant to your needs. These can be customized if you know what to specify. If you change OsmAnd's Map Source (from the Configure Map sub-menu under Menu), add the secret sauce you will see the live color-coded traffic indicators from Google Maps.

You can see in the example below that the US Route 101 towards the Interstate 80 interchange sucks and is jammed packed at a typical crawl. Cutting through the Mission District would be the way to go. If you would have used Google Maps, it would have first commanded you to take the 101 and then once you were within 5 minutes of the carpocalypse suggest re-routing you. Dumb!

osmgoogle traffic

Steps (within OsmAnd):

  • In the Settings accessed from the lower left hamburger menu select the plugin manager and switch on online maps.

  • Back on the default map, select the Globe Menu to access (the now available) online maps.

osm globe menu

  • Select overlay map.

  • Switch on "Use Internet" (otherwise it will never work). Go Back.

  • Select the Globe Menu at the top left corner of OSMand.

  • In the popup, select the bottom option Define/Edit (see image below). It will give a (default) name NewMapnik; change this to Google Traffic (or another meaningful name).

osmand menu options


  • In the URL type the complete google address.

  • Min zoom/max zoom are predefined.

  • Set expiration time(!).The section controls update frequency. You can set it lower for faster live updates if you have an unlimited data plan. It was set to 10 since a lot of people have a charge-by-minute mobile plan.

  • In the Map Layers, switch on Overlay map and select the Google Traffic layer (or whatever you named it).

osm live google map overlay

This is the code specification you will need for the Overlay map:

[url_template] http://mts0.googleapis.com/vt/lyrs=m,traffic&x={1}&y={2}&z={0}&style=15
[ext] png
[min_zoom] 5
[max_zoom] 17
[tile_size] 256
[img_density] 16
[avg_img_size] 32000
[expiration_time_minutes] 10

At the time of this post, OsmAnd lacked the ability to auto-route you around traffic jams for various reasons. It has been brought to the dev's attention several times including this bug report, #1432. You can easily use the overlay information to plan your trip; once you hit the bad spots simply drive towards any of the green areas on your map and OsmAnd will re-route you as heads towards your destination.

Remember to always drive safely, always wear your seat belt and avoid all distractions including any cell phone, navigational or infotainment equipment!

Google Maps? Do you like them tracking every single step you take 100% of the time? Yeah, that's called the Play Store. Don't be a schmuck. We can teach you and your company how to stay safe online and use superior libre, open source software. Start with subscribing to our blog's RSS feed and be sure to contact us for a consultation!

About the Writer
Chris Lessley
Author: Chris Lessley
A server admin, dev ops warrior and website designer since 2002, Chris is a lover of all things Linux and open-source! Each blog topic has been tested by fire in the real world and shared with the hope to help others. Need more help? Hire me! Chris' other interests include fine art and the humanities in the classical tradition and can be found writing for our friends over at gripfastart.works. If you like this content, kindly consider donating to keep this website free to all, without ads.

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