Open Source vs Free Route Planner: An Ultimate Guide to Choose the Right Solution

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Open source route planners offer customization and community-driven development.
  • Free route planners provide basic navigation functionality without monetary obligations.
  • Paid route planners offer advanced features, reliability, and personalized support.

In today’s competitive business environment, it has become crucial to plan a route that is time and cost efficient. To do so, there are various open source route planners and free route planners available in the market.

Route planners not only plan routes for you, but also help you save manual route planning time and reach more stops everyday. Before adopting route planning for your business, it is crucial to choose the right route planner.

In this blog, we have given a detailed explanation and comparison of open source vs free route planner to help you with the selection process.

What is Open Source Route Planner?

Open source route planner is a routing software developed on an open source framework, enabling users to freely access, edit, and distribute its source code.

It promotes collaboration and community-driven development while providing flexibility, customization, and transparency. Taking into consideration the combined efforts of a vibrant community of developers, users can customize the software to their own needs.

While open source route planners have benefits like customization and transparency, they can also bring challenges like varying quality and limited user support. Overall, they offer a compelling alternative for individuals looking for a customizable and dynamic routing solution.

What is Free Route Planner?

A free route planner is a routing software that can be used without any cost or other obligations.

It enables users to schedule their routes, access maps, and get navigation without having to pay. It offers various basic features like route planning, route scheduling, and driver allocation.

Free route planners provide accessible tools for people looking for basic routing and navigation assistance without the need for financial investment. They do not offer the advanced functionalities or customization options of premium alternatives.

Open Source Route Planner vs Free Route Planner

Open Source Route Planner Free Route Planner
Full access to source code for customization and modification. No access to source code, as it is usually not publicly available.
Highly customizable with the ability to modify features and functionality. Limited customization options, primarily offering basic functions.
Encourages collaboration and community-driven development. Limited or no collaborative development possibilities.
Offers a wide range of features, often evolving through community contributions and updates. Provides basic routing features only.
Support varies based on community involvement, with forums and documentation available Limited or no dedicated user support, often relying on community forums for assistance.
Quality can vary based on the expertise and dedication of the community contributing to the project. Reliability may vary, but generally considered reliable for basic navigation needs.
Not necessarily always free of cost. It is free of cost.

Challenges Faced in Using Open Source and Free Route Planner

Using open source and free route planner has their own benefits like ease of customization and no need to pay for the software. But, it comes with many challenges that you should know before opting for one. Those are:

Open source route planners

1. Need of technical expertise

To use an open source route planner, you need technical expertise or need to hire professionals who are proficient in software development. If you are not familiar with various programming languages, using open source route planner could be a mess for you and you may not leverage it to the extent you should be.

2. Limited user support

While using an open source route planner, you might get stuck in some places where user support is needed. In such cases, open source route planners fall behind because they lack dedicated user support. While vibrant communities exist around many open source projects, obtaining timely and comprehensive assistance can be challenging. Relying on community forums and documentation might require additional effort to find solutions to specific issues or inquiries.

Free route planners

1. Limited features and functionality

Free route planners, being a free routing solution, offer limited features compared to the paid route planners. It offers basic features like route planning and driver dispatching. While an ideal route planner has more to offer including route optimization, driver tracking, proof of delivery, and much more. In free route planners, you can sense a lack of flexibility that paid route planners offer. Because of these reasons, it can restrict some convenience and scope of productivity for your business.

2. Data privacy and security concerns

One of the major constraints using a free route planner is its data privacy concern. To plan routes, you need to input a lot of data including your customers’ names, addresses, contact details, and order history. Being a free tool, there are high chances of data getting stolen by the platform and selling it to third-party websites. So, this is the major challenge to be looked after when opting for a free route planner.

How to Overcome Known Challenges Using a Reliable Route Planner?

Now that we know the challenges faced in using open source and free route planners, it’s time to look for a solution that overcomes those challenges and provides seamless route planning experience.

It is advisable to opt for a paid but reliable route planner to avoid getting into any problem while routing. One such reliable solution is Upper Route Planner. Upper is a route planning and optimization software that is renowned among delivery, pickup, and service business across the globe.

Upper has something that your business needs and open source & free route planners lack. Here are the factors of this route optimization software that overcome the challenges of open source and free route planners:

No technical expertise needed

Using Upper doesn’t require you to have any expertise or knowledge of technical stuff like development or programming languages. All you need is your data ready, import it to Upper, and Upper will give you optimized routes for your business.

Unlike open source route planner, Upper Route Planner doesn’t need you to hire coding professionals to make it customized for your business needs. Upper is customizable and you can customize it as per your business’ needs.

Plan Multi-stop Routes in Less Than a Minute

Try Upper Route Planner’s 7 days FREE TRIAL to explore its advanced capabilities and their impact on your business.


Free route planners do support multi-stop route planning but with many limitations. It allows you to add a few stops only. For example, Google Maps is a free route planner but it allows you to add up to 10 stops only. If you want to plan routes with hundreds of stops, a paid route planner is advisable.

The main features of paid route planner are route scheduling, route optimization, proof of delivery, reports & analytics, one-click dispatch, and API integration. You may not get all of them on open source or free route planners.

Yes, one of the advantages of open source route planners is their flexibility for integration. You can integrate open source route planners with other applications or systems by utilizing APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or by customizing the source code to suit your integration requirements. This allows you to combine routing functionality with other software or services to create a more comprehensive solution.

Concluding the Topic

The comparison between open source route planners and free route planners reveals distinct characteristics and considerations for users seeking navigation solutions. Open source route planners offer transparency, customization, and the potential for community-driven development.

They empower users to modify the source code, tailor the software to their specific needs, and benefit from the collective expertise of a vibrant community. However, they may require technical expertise, face challenges in user support, and exhibit variations in quality control.

Additionally, for users seeking a comprehensive and feature-rich navigation experience, a paid route planner presents a compelling alternative. Ultimately, considering the specific needs and priorities, users may find that a paid route planner offers the most comprehensive and tailored solution for their navigation requirements.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.