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Story 8 - Helen the Traveler

· 6 min read

Hello there!

We would like to present You with a new interview, which is not quite ordinary. Today we will talk to a representative of the female travelers, to Helen! She likes visiting the cities of European countries and Russia. For her, it does not really matter whether she goes on her own, or with a tourist group, for in any case, she will have a great time. Helen does not have a car, but it has never stopped her. In fact, it gives her an opportunity to get around as if she was local! Not only does Helena walk a lot, but she also uses public transport, which, definitely, has a certain charm of its own.

'I live in Belarus, so it is the starting point of all my travels. I like Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Cracow, and Barcelona.'

When one returns from their adventures, they are very likely to bring a souvenir or two. Some will bring back a set of photos, others will collect a stone, shell or coin - whatever will remind them of their voyages. Helen has some hobbies of her own. One of them is collecting WiFi hotspots for

'My WiFi hunting takes me places! I see the sights, the ones that are hidden from an average tourist. OsmAnd helps me to navigate, the maps have a variety of traces and tracks that are not marked on other maps.'

Story 8

Helen is a huge fan of animals. She has been traveling and collecting photos of cats. Her Instagram account is fully devoted to them. You can see her furry souvenirs on @catism_one for Yourself.


Some of us were lucky enough to start traveling in childhood. Helen had traveled with her parents before finally having set to discover the world on her own 10-15 years ago. She started with Egypt and Ukraine.

'Unfortunately, neither OsmAnd nor Android existed then…'

Had Helen been using any other app before switching to OsmAnd?

'I had used Navitel among others. The maps were outdated, I sometimes noticed the delay only after 6 months. And it does not matter whether You travel on foot or by car - discovering that You have been using old data is never a pleasant surprise! There is no wonder why I do not like it!'

Helen’s adventures with OsmAnd started back in 2011.

'A friend of mine bought an Android that used MIPS. Navitel did not work on it. Other navigators were not compatible as well. He found OsmAnd and showed me. I liked it for it used online and offline maps.'

Rarely does Helen prepare the maps herself? And why should she? There is always OsmAnd to back her up!

'For instance, when I went to Vienna, I did prepare the map. OsmAnd provided me with the map of Austria, and I did not need that much. It took too much memory on my phone as well. And, by the way, this is the thing I wanted to ask You to work on, to create independent maps for big cities. I consider it will be much more convenient for all kind of tourists. For example, if a group of Chinese tourists come to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Vienna, or Minsk, they won’t need the whole regions or states covered. They just won’t have enough time to visit the countryside!

Since I have already been drawing maps at work, I have set to do the same with OsmAnd. 8 years ago, however, JOSM was not as user-friendly as it is today. I did not have a photo to base my details on (it is not licensed to use shots from Google, Here, and DigitalGlobe). The only accessible photos had bad quality. Now it is much easier. One can get their own pics using a quadcopter.

Today, when I want to change anything, I just leave notes in redactors for others to upgrade or confirm.'

Actually, Helen creates the tracks by herself using a smartphone or a tablet that she has used since 2011. Android 2.3 is her first device. This one has a strong battery. Her phone Android 5.0, on the other hand, does not last for long - it has to be charged every day. Helen has two Xiaomi power banks. She also uses two versions of OsmAnd: OsmAnd 1.9.5 on her tablet and the latest one on her smartphone.

'In 99% cases, I do not use all the functions of the app. Collecting WiFi, I have a layer with data on. That is how I keep my track and avoid visiting the same places more than once. I, therefore, have no need for long and time-consuming tracks. With OsmAnd it is easy to get some info on sights. I read Wikipedia as well. I use “favorites” to highlight the most interesting places and spots where the tour bus will be waiting to pick up the tourist group.'

If You does not have OsmAnd with You for some reason, there is a good chance to stumble upon people who have it on the street! Once Helen and her friend were having a walk around a small Italian town. They got lost. No people. No maps. They had spent 20 minutes trying to work out their location before they met two fellow travelers from Asia. Helen gave them the name of their hotel. Just imagine her astonishment when they turn on their OsmAnd apps to show the way!

Helen has already mentioned that she wishes OsmAnd narrowed the locality of the maps. Another thing she asks for is to create a function of creating short tracks through a limited number of tourist attractions, such as monuments and landmarks. She also suggested that we tried to make the interface more user friendly, which might contribute to making OsmAnd even more popular among users.

Helen wishes us good luck. We, in return, want to thank all of You for being with us! Good luck to all the travelers out there! Go for it, try something new - set new goals, while we will be there for You. While we are making it more captivating and easy for all to travel. Thank You!

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