Google announces full offline mapping mode for Android smartphones

Google announces full offline mapping mode for Android smartphones

Summary: Google is finally taking a major step forward with Google Maps for mobile by providing full offline map usage with no data connection required.

TOPICS: Google

One of the main reasons I always take a Nokia Symbian device with me when I travel overseas is for the fantastic offline Nokia Maps experience. I use Google Maps all the time on my Android devices, but with the online requirement for navigation I have left them behind on trips. Thankfully, Google finally announced that offline maps are coming in the next few weeks. You will be able to preload maps for other countries, up to 100 countries, and use the maps down to the finest level of detail.

Offline mapping is not just for foreign travel, but also great for summer time trips to the ocean, forest, or other places away from cities where you may not have a data connection. Google had some basic offline support for cached routes, but it was nothing like having full offline access like they will be providing soon. My HTC One X just became a much more useful device.

In addition to offline maps, Google revealed some other upcoming features, including Street View Tracker, Map Maker expansion, and adding 3D models to Google Earth on mobile devices.

Thanks to Android Central for the heads-up.

Topic: Google

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  • Great for those watching their data usage!

    This will cut down a good chunk of data used for those with limited data plans in the 100's of MBs range. From personal experience and some data tracking I've noticed that Google Maps can use up a lot of data fast. Of course not like streaming music or video, but still a significant amount.
  • Compare with other Offline Products

    I have used CoPilot for offline navigation. It will be interesting to compare Google offline with CoPilot when I head to the beach later this summer.
  • I have an Android Tablet...

    ... and I'm wondering how much internal/SDHC external memory this offline feature will require...
    • About 2 GB needed

      I'm estimating 1-2 GB depending how much you download. CoPilot's USA maps and data take up about 2 GB on my phone.
      • Not much to worry about

        It fairly cheap to upgrade the storage on a phone, certainly cheaper than any data plans.
      • hmm


        not on an iPhone. :-)
      • Ignorance..

        Peter Parry, you can use SD cards with an iPhone if you buy a $2 adapter.
      • @Informative

        Except that only affects the photo roll. Music and apps still have to go into internal memory.
    • How big an area do you need?

      I have an empty 32 GB microSD card in my Galaxy SII just waiting for stuff like this. If the laptop based apps I've used in the past are any indicator, having the South-West USA pre-loaded should take less than a gig. A fine investment if it helps me avoid running over my data limit in the future and also spares me the need to update my aging Magellen unit.

      What would be good to go with this is a docking station with a bigger screen to use for navigation and passenger entertainment.
    • Google navigator has become the best point to point GPS solution there is..

      With the exception of not being able to plot your contacts and use it off line. This article, imho a bit misleading. You can only download maps for a specific area at a time and you cannot use it with navigator. I'm very upset that Google is choosing to keep this data under lock and key. It makes no sense what so ever. Navigation is key and when you cannot use it due to storms or travel into no service or you cannot use both phone and GPS at the same time is terrible. They could be a lot faster with requests for places to eat or any request if the bandwidth not eaten up by Navigator. If they are getting pressure from the carriers to milk the bandwidth then give it only to people with unlimited bandwidth plans.
  • very nice

    I tried pre-caching some maps for my recent trip to India and that worked pretty well, but this should make such operations even easier. Looking forward to it.
  • About. Time.

    Maps is handy in a pinch, and we are an all-Android household. However, I have had it fail me on many long trips, lose details in non-urban markets, and it was absolutely useless when we took a trip to Joplin last year to help clean up efforts after the tornado. Three cheers from our house! Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah!
    • and yet

      It still maps more of the world than any other solution on the planet and that includes Apples new toy.
      • What are you talking about?

        Are you comparing Google maps which is currently used on the iPhone and iPad to an unreleased product from Apple?

      • Not by any means an Apple fan but have to agree

        Can't make a fair comparison, and given that Google has had YEARS to get their sh1t together with Maps I find it p1ss-poor to say the least that this has come so late and only after more and more competitors are leaving them behind and more consumers get fed up with all the errors and limitations (especially outside the US)...
      • @kaninelupus

        When it comes to the iPhone Peter Perry is anything but known for making fair comparison. If the info doesn't favor or can be twisted/lied about to favor Android he doesn't mention it.

        Now in regard to the topic at hand, I do hope that Apple offers off line maps like this in the near future, great feature.
  • All I have to say is...

  • Neat!

    Oh sweet... this would have been really cool last month when i was in Japan!
  • how much memory

    I can't say, cuz I don't know either however, it may not be as bad as one might think for maps. I have DeLorme's Street Atlas USA and Topo USA on computer and the data files are less than 3 gigs for Topo and less than 2 for Street Atlas. Because I don't travel outside the USA often (1996 last time) I'm not too interested in that capability but, if they can get the Sat view overlays for the US, or even down to state levels. That would be exciting. All that being said, I can see this as a pretty awesome capability for other worldly types. Avoid Iran if you have maps of it on your phone... spying charges are wicked over there.
    • Wonder If...

      Google has the mappings for the atomic weapons plants in Iran already? :)