DIY Map GPS is a nav app that lets you create your map experience

DIY Map GPS (US$4.99, universal) is a GPS navigation solution for those who like to create or annotate their own maps. While it can use the open source Open Street Maps to download mapping data with an Internet connection, it also lets you create your own maps from JPEG or PNG files. DIY Map also lets you use atlases created by Mobile Atlas Creator that run on Macs and PCs. You can also use maps you have scanned in.

Using downloaded maps means no data charges, so if you are on metered plans that is an advantage.

I tested the app with Open Street Maps data, which does require a data connection. It worked OK, but I did not find the data as complete as Google or the Apple Maps solution. I did like the local weather, sunrise / sunset times and moon phase information that was built into the app.

You can download POI information for your current location, but I found it lacking compared to what Apple or Google supplies. For example, I looked at the POI data while I was sitting in a restaurant, and it showed the closest place to eat as nine miles away.


On the other hand, this is a good app if you are a hiker, or someone who is going to an area where mapping data may be sparse. The average person won't want to be that involved in the creation of maps, but some people will relish the idea.

The app includes city maps for 3,788 cities, and the maps look reasonably complete. The "DIY" in the app name is a clue that this is not a hands-off app. If you want to really get involved in personalizing your mapping, you'll like this app, and to make the most of it, you'll want to go through the tutorials on how to turn a scanned map or image into something that works with the app. You can view a YouTube tutorial on how to create your own maps here.

For the average person looking for the nearest burger place or pharmacy, this is not the app for you. But if you have specialized scientific or geographic uses this app is a great place to bring your data together.

DIY Map GPS is optimized for the iPhone 5 and requires iOS 5.1 or later.