Google Maps Goes Offline

Google Maps is great – a GPS system that’s pretty much always with you.  The problem is when you don’t have an internet connection, then it is kind of useless.  I would love to use Google Maps overseas, but there’s no way I’m paying my Australian Providers horrendous international roaming fees.  And there’s still some spots where I live where there’s no mobile wireless coverage.  Well, the latest Google Maps for Android fixes that issue with the addition of offline capability.

If you’ve got some idea where you’ll be going, bring up the relevant location and save that area offline before you set out. The app will tell you approximately how much storage space you’ll need depending on the zoom level you’ve chosen. A high level view of London (as per the video) takes about 27MB. If you haven’t planned ahead enough, just zap into a free WiFi hotspot and download the offline map. Google Maps just got a lot more useful. 🙂

It is worth noting that for some countries and areas you do get “Offline maps is not available in selected area”.  For example, Singapore and Bangkok aren’t available, and yet Hanoi is available. Mmmm, wonder why?

Available from the Google Play Store for free.

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10 comments… add one
  • David July 5, 2012, 8:51 am

    Now that’s something i would have killed for when i was in China, lost in these country-sized towns….Well done google for this, defenatly one of the top apps on android.

  • Jackie Cheng July 5, 2012, 11:08 am

    Wish we can get this in iOS. But I doubt it since Apple is tossing Google Maps in the next update.

    • Julie July 5, 2012, 11:31 am

      @Jackie me too. This is one area where Android really blows iOS away (at least for now).

  • Bill July 5, 2012, 12:01 pm

    I think the offline feature of Google Maps requires Android version 3.0.

  • chriszzz July 5, 2012, 12:43 pm

    I’ve not tried this yet, but how is this different from Google Map’s pre-cache map feature ? “Pre-cache map” has been available for a long time, and seems to be doing the same thing : saving the map onto the phone for offline access.

  • chriszzz July 5, 2012, 12:50 pm

    David : It would have been useful for most countries, but China isn’t one of them. Google maps ( and as far as I know, any non-Chinesel maps provider ) *must* offset their map data from the actual location. What this means is that your location on the map is several hundred meters away from your actual location, which makes the map rather useless for navigation. I was really frustrated by this during my trips to China in the past.

    OpenStreetMap seem to be exempted from this requirement, however their maps for China are accurate but not as detailed as Google’s.

    Lastly, other map applications on Android have been providing offline Google map unofficially for years. Oruxmaps (which I have been using for the last 2 years) for example is one of those.

  • Calvin Wankhede July 8, 2012, 6:35 am

    Pre-cache maps have been present for a long time now!! This is just “highlighted”

  • Ian Lim July 8, 2012, 9:05 am

    I believe that pre-cache was a Google Labs feature and this is the official version. The offline features handles more data and saves it to a much more granular level than the labs pre-cache version.

  • Luis July 30, 2012, 1:37 pm

    This feature does not work in Brazil as in many other countries, even in Adroid 4.0.3 (ICS). So it’s useless for most of us.

  • chriszzz July 30, 2012, 2:58 pm

    @Luis : this feature was not available for Singapore when I tried it in early July, but I tried it again yesterday and voila, it works. Looks like Google is rolling this out pretty quickly, unlike, say, Navigation, which is still unavailable in most countries outside USA.

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