RouteBuddy - GPS on Mac

RouteBuddy is a new GPS and mapping program of Mac OS X. It looks really slick, with a nice interface. They even promote the use for in-car navigation and mapping.

It's a little expensive, at $100, plus about $50 for each set of maps you want to buy for it. It seems like for $100, you should at least get 1 set of maps for free to start. This kind of pricing isn't really aimed towards a hobbyist or someone who just wants to 'play around' with maps.

There are numerous other mapping solutions for the Mac, none with as smooth an interface, but run much cheaper with similar functionality. Here is a quick list as well as their own blurb and pricing.

USGS Topo!
View any point on the topographic map in 3D or draw a route and see a 3D fly thru of your route. $60


GPSUtility displays GPS data including speed, bearing, position and satellite information. Free


connects your Macintosh to a broad range of Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational units and has advanced mapping, logging, and data transfer features. $50

TrueNav GPS and Go

Expand your digital hub by connecting global positioning system (GPS) devices. Experience the wealth of information that GPS devices are able to provide to your Macintosh. Include location information with your data. $50

MacEnc (by GPSNavX)

charting and navigation application that allows the use of the free NOAA S-57 ENC marine charts on your Mac. $99.95


auto-sequencing GPS route navigation application for Mac OS X. Full support for GPSd, import/export Google Earth KML files, import/export GPX files, create your own routes and waypoints, even use your laptop with Google Earth driving directions to give you spoken, "turn-by-turn" driving directions! For a more complete description, check out the feature list.$29


for the boater that wants to take the Macintosh aboard for real-time display of position on full color marine Softcharts and BSB raster charts.$60

Mac GPSPro

transferring Waypoints, Routes, Tracklogs, and GPS satellite Almanacs. MacGPS Pro works with almost all brands of GPS receivers for a real-time display of GPS information on a moving map on the Macintosh screen. It allows import of maps from a wide variety of sources. These maps can be viewed with no GPS receiver connected, or used in real-time as a moving-map display of your current position and velocity. $50


allows you to draw new waypoints and tracks directly onto a 2D map simply by pointing and clicking. You can also use TopoDraw to present navigation data gathered with your Garmin GPS unit on a 2D map.$12.95


contains more than 6,500,000 streets in the US & Canada, ROUTE 66 Route USA 2004 contains no less than 4,000,000 Points of Interest in over 60 categories like hotels, restaurants and petrol stations, most of which together with their addresses and telephone numbers. What is more, ROUTE 66 Route USA 2004 also provides support for GPS, enabling you to establish your exact location using satellite navigation and ensuring that you will never lose your way again.$40


Terrabrowser is an internet browser for satellite photos and topographical maps which are obtained from the Microsoft Terra Server. $15

Roadnav is an in-car navigation system that can run on a variety of operating systems like Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.
Roadnav can obtain a car's present location from a GPS unit, plot street maps of the area, and provide verbal turn by turn directions to any location in the USA. Roadnav uses the free TIGER/Line files from the US Census Bureau to build the maps, along with the GNIS state and topical gazetteer data from the USGS to identify locations. Free

Trail Runner X

TrailRunner is a route planning software for all kinds of long distance sports like running, biking, hiking, inline-skating, skiing and more, with geographic display of your workout area. Exports to cellphone or iPod Nano. Free

There are also some nice frameworks and utilities for working with GPS:

utility for converting between GPS formats
Cocoa Framework for interfacing with GPS devices
daemon that allows multiple connections to a GPS unit, GPSdX is a Mac-specific version
interface to the Garmin Forerunner


GPS to GoogleEarth converter


LoadMyTracks downloads Tracks, Routes, and Waypoints from GPS receivers (including those from Garmin, Magellan, and Timex) to your Macintosh. From these, it can create GPX files (for use in software that understands GPS output) or KML files (for use with Google Earth and Google Maps).

I'll try and do an overall review of the various applications later.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.