The last years have seen the advent of Amazon, e-commerce, and direct to consumer business models. We will cover which is the best truck GPS App This article will not be to cover traditional physical GPS devices such as the ones on this list of Best Truck GPS from the Drive.
Rather, we will look to answer the question “What is the best Truck GPS App?” On that point, we will go step by step to guide the user. We will start by doing a review of the functions of a GPS, and what specific functions a truck driver needs. Then we will cover some of the main benefits and features to look for in a GPS app. Finally, we will review 7 of the top apps on both platforms.
Table of Contents
What is a Truck GPS App?
What is GPS?
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a navigation and geopositioning system that allows us to accurately pinpoint locations and driving directions on earth. It is a satellite-based navigation system composed of at least 24 satellites and is owned by the United States. There are many applications for GPS from botanists identifying specific locations to plants to truck drivers planning routes. Today’s GPS system is extremely accurate.
What is a truck GPS?
Truck drivers have specific needs compared to other drivers. This is the reason there are many GPS devices and applications that are designed specifically for truckers. A truck GPS will often take into account specific factors that are relevant to a trucker, such as truck stops, heavy traffic, and route planning.
Traditionally, we have traditional physical GPS devices. There are three main companies that still manufacture these types of physical GPS devices. Rand McNally is the oldest such company. They have been developing navigation tools since the 1800s. Garmin and TomTom are more recent companies, started in the late 20th century.
What is a Truck GPS App?
Steve Jobs launched his famous iPhone in 2007. Since then, we’ve been living in a mobile world. Smartphones dominate both our businesses and our lives. A truck GPS app is the next iteration of tools for truckers. It integrates many of the features and benefits from the physical GPS devices they have traditionally have had in their car. The advantage of this type of app over a GPS unit is that it’s smaller and software can be updated more easily and frequently.
Benefits of a Truck GPS
The GPS app is now an essential tool for the truck driver. Here are some of the benefits :
- Efficiency: A good application will be able to create truck routes, and get a driver from place to place as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Safety: The worse thing would be to have an accident. Included in the GPS is crucial safety-related information. Safety measures include weight limits, speed limits, height limits,, and more.
- Reliability: An electronic device with updated maps is generally more reliable than a paper map.
- Stress reduction: The job is quite stressful. The assistance of having a reliable source of information reduces some of the stress on the job.
- Save Money: A great application will allow the user to reduce their fuel expenses, as well as any other expense related to the truck delivery trip (such as meals)
- Save Time: Getting to a destination using the shortest routes means that the trucker and the company save time. Quicker deliveries mean less delays, more client satisfaction, and better ratings for the company.
- Know the condition of the truck Navigation is not the only feature of a good truck GPS app. It will also provide information about mileage (e.g. the hours and miles are driven), fuel usage, and tire condition. These are components that are related to fleet management.
- Driving Habits: A good app will also help track driving habits. What everyone wants to avoid are bad habits and dangerous driving. This is a solution that helps both drivers and managers.
What are the Top Features to Consider in a Truck GPS App?
- Route Planning and Route Optimization: The number one reason to consider is the driving directions in the most efficient and optimized way. A good application will be able to optimize using a variety of features such as tolls, traffic, and weather.
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What is Route Planning?
- Fuel Tracking: When synced with a vehicle, the truck GPS can accurately track fuel data, miles per gallon. Certain apps will allow to identify any fueling locations that provide cheaper gas prices. Also, a great application will allow drivers to avoid traffic and find quicker routes. Less time on the road means less fuel used, and more money saved.
- Speed and Driver Monitoring: Another feature of many GPS apps is the ability to monitor driver performance. This is to identify any bad driving habits or reckless driving. This is especially useful for fleet owners who can monitor these behaviours as well as other factors like engine idling. Reducing these costs can mean a lot to the bottom line.
- Turn by Turn Navigation: The big advantage of a modern app is the voice turn-by-turn navigation. A GPS allows you to have peace of mind and not have to look at the map. All a driver needs to do is listen to the directions.
- Truck Navigation: On top of turn by turn navigation, truck drivers have specific needs when it comes to navigation. There are specific instructions that are required to allow the truck driver and their cargo to get to the final destination safely and efficiently.
- Traffic: Downtime in traffic is costly for the trucking industry. Having a real-time traffic report enables drivers to avoid it and reduce time and money expenses. This includes any delays relative to road construction or traffic incidents.
- Toll roads: Another feature is toll road information. The main questions are a) where are they?; b) how much do they cost?; c) if we avoid the toll road, what is the estimated time length of the alternate route.
- Height: Identity the low bridges and overpasses that are below the height restrictions.
- Logging information: Every trucker knows they need to keep an electronic log. A good app will help keep the ELD full of up to date information. Certain apps are able to track information in real-time and for multiple trucks at a time. This gives the fleet manager an eagle eye’s view of all the operations.
- Updated Maps and Information: Routes and maps are constantly changing. There are new roads constantly being built. In the age of the paper maps, a driver had to get a new paper map every year, and even then, it might have been outdated. Now, software updates allow for over-the-air and real-time updates to any changes on the map.
- Approved and Allowable roads: Large trucks and semis have many restrictions on where they can drive. The types and weights of loads will affect these limitations. The best navigation systems create a detailed route while considering all these factors. Certain applications allow for a 3D map as well, where truckers can visualize a low bridge for instance. Therefore, it is important to know and follow these route regulations. This will help avoid fines as well.
- Points of interest: Certain applications allow us to highlight specific locations that are of interest. These points include grocery stores, hotels, rest stops, repair, towing facilities, hospitals, and restaurants
Top 6 GPS Apps for Truck Drivers
Now, we’re going to look at some of the best If you are a professional truck driver looking for a GPS app that will run on your Android tablet or phone and work in Truck mode, here are the best out there:
Some of these are truck specific, some are not.
1. Google Maps
As most of you know, Google Maps is not a truck specific app. We do think it’s useful to include it here because it does offer a large variety of useful features. Because Google (or Alphabet) is such a large company, the Google Maps app gets updated very frequently. This means that a lot of roads, businesses, points of interest, and traffic data get frequent updates. What many truckers do is they use Google Maps in conjunction with other truck-specific applications (see below).
Platforms: Android, Apple (iPhone and iPad)
- Most updated application
- Good routing options
- Live traffic data
- A large collection of POI’s – from restaurants, stores, hospitals, and more.
- Explore nearby function
- Frequent Update;
- Save routes in advance function;
- Google Maps requires mobile data connection. This is not always possible for truck drivers;
- Does not include truck specific data (height, weight restrictions etc.)
Wave is another useful application that is not truck truck-specific. The main usefulness of Waze is to identify upcoming hazards on the road. Waze boasts a great user interface, and gives drivers a realistic view of the road. It will identify things such as traffic congestion, dead animals, and road blockages. This is possible because of the social aspect of the app. As reported by Wired, the unique feature of Waze is that it comes real-time mapping with social media. This unique approach of user-generated content can be very useful. It can be with the broad public, or with specific co-workers. It can be used on both the smartphone or the tablet.
Platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows.
- No cost to use
- Social media and real-time mapping integration;
- Crowdsourced information on traffic, routes, closures;
- Real-time warnings of roadblocks, and other incidents
- Automatic rerouting;
- Although this application is not very successful on the navigation side because it does not create optimal driving routes, it is useful for the real-time alerts it offers with the users on the road.
- Not Truck specific
- Requires internet connection. Not useful for truckers who do not have mobile data usage while on the roada.
3. Sygic Truck GPS Navigation
Sygic Truck is a well known and well-used application. It is known as a very international application with maps in North America, South America, Europe, Russia, Africa, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Australia. The application allows us to store maps offline (useful for those who can’t use mobile data). It offers standard features such as turn-by-turn navigation and points of interest. The application does cost $79,99 euros per year. This puts this application on the high end of the scale in terms of pricing. It is considered a “premium” offering in this space.
Platforms: Android and Apple (iOS)
Pricing: Free trial for 14 days. Premium upgrade costs 79,99 euros per year (price can vary based on location)
- Maps for North America, South America, Europe, Russia, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
- Offline maps
- 3D cities and landscapes
- Professional truck routing with hazardous materials
- Offline maps with free map updates
- Points of interest and highway resting areas;
- Voice instructions for navigation, lane assist (lane guidance), and road indication.
- Settings for truck size and load type;
- Syncs with Google Maps API.
- Premium routing app.
- More expensive
- No speed traffic alert
- Sometimes crashesç
- Route errors – sometimes restrictions are ignored.
4. PTV Navigator
PTV Navigator is designed for truckers, and we can see that focus on the design. The first job is to create routes. These routes are created to help the driver at each stage. When creating routes, the app will take into account all useful parameters such as size, restrictions, the weight of the vehicle, as well as other factors like traffic. The route optimization feature will then create an optimal route using these specifications. PTV also has other feature such as parking assistance, a
Pricing: 14-day free trial, then $26.99
- Routes across Europe;
- Real-time traffic alerts and information (from TomTom)
- Parking assistance ( over 20,000 truck parking spaces and parking places)
- Tolls feature
- Monitor fuel costs;
- Takes into account truck restrictions
- ELD functionality and mileage
- Only available on Android
- No lane indication
- Imprecise data
- Settings missing (MPH)
- Inability to save locations
- Reported bugs
5. Trucker Path
Trucker Path is destined for professional truck drivers. It is considered a favorite among truckers. The main features allow a truck driver to find weigh stations, shopping centers, truck washing stations, fuel stations and more. Another powerful feature is the fuel price comparison tool to save on fuel. Trucker Path is available on both major platforms (Apple and Android).
Platforms: Android and Apple
- Identify points of interest like
- TruckStop Locator: Easy to find popular truck stops
- Includes smaller stops
- Visualize truck parking in real-time
- Overnight parking locations such as Walmart
- Fuel Station Locator
- Trip Planner feature.
- Does not include advance navigation
- Few truck settings
- Lack of traffic reports, bridge heights, road conditions, and road closures;
- No integration with backup cameras
6. CoPilot GPS
Copilot GPS (known as copilot truck) is another truck-specific app that’s been around since 2014. It has similar features to many other apps in that it offers navigation and guidance and allows for input of restrictions. Restrictions to avoid are things like dangerous turns, low bridges, and allowable roads. One of its strengths is the offline maps that can be download. This means the user does need to have mobile data. This is especially useful in very rural areas in dead areas where cellular data may be limited. Much like Trucker Path and other apps, it shows points of interest such as rest stops, CAT scales, rest stops, and more. There is a loyal following and in total there are over 16 million users of this app. It is available on the app store and Google Play.
Platforms: Android, and Apple
Price: 14-day free trial. Navigation starts at $8,99 a month.
- GPS designed for Truckers
- Offline Maps capability
- Reliable Guidance
- Good Route Planning options
- Route optimization with resequencing
- Ability to input Vehicle-Specific Restrictions
- Easy to read 3D maps
- Issues in finding addresses.
- Not free.
- Not suitable for Smaller screens.
- Lack of traffic information
What is the best truck navigation app?
The best truck navigation app depends on your location, language, cost, and features you require. Generally, truck-specific applications are more suitable as they take into account restrictions. If you are looking for a free option, Waze and Google Maps can get the job done.
Can you set Google Maps for trucks?
It is advised to use a specialized trucking application because trucks have restrictions such as truck dimensions, weight, and height. A good truck app will include these features whereas Google Maps currently does not.
In conclusion, we hope you have found the right GPS for truck drivers after reading this. As you can see, there are many applications that have either similar or complementary features. The problem that technology reviews often have is to cover the right dimensions, as there are lots to review. Our plan was to give you some waypoints and add value to this article. We hope we did our part. Please let us know if there’s a product, products, services, or sites we missed. Also, please contact us to let us know if we’ve missed anything. Until then, safe driving!