Google Maps for Android already lets you download maps to view later, even when you don’t have an internet connection. But right now offline Maps have limited functionality.

Later this year Google plans to roll out an update that lets you download a map for a region and then search for places and even get turn-by-turn voice directions without an internet connection.

maps offline

Notice the airplane mode icon in the image above? Yep. That’s a phone in airplane mode showing driving directions on a phone that’s not connected to the internet.

Google is positioning the feature as something that will be useful in developing nations where internet access can be spotty, at best. But I’ve certainly driven through parts of the United States where I’d appreciate a directions that work when my phone loses its internet connection.

In addition to search and directions, Google’s new version of offline maps will support auto-suggest results when you start to enter a search term, and it will offer details about the places you search for, including phone numbers and reviews.

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17 replies on “Google Maps to support offline navigation”

  1. It’s an improvement – but will I be able to download more than a city-sized region at a time? Will they remove the stupid limit on the number of regions you can have? Nokia lets you download states/countries at a time, the only limit being storage space on your device.

    This is extremely useful for roaming too. I used Nokia Here maps in the US last year without needing to use any data.

    1. I’ve been using Nokia Here as well. I like that you can just download the entire US and it actually works pretty well compared to most of the navigation apps.

  2. This would be very useful in Europe, where data is still fairly expensive. Also useful out in the boonies, or if you have T-Mobile, just about anywhere. 😉

    1. here maps has been doing this for several years now…get a windows phone

      1. Huh? I know someone who has a Windows phone and they recently said there aren’t any decent GPS apps for it.

        1. They said wrong. Try Nokia Here maps (it’s available for Android too now).

          1. Nokia Here is a terrible navigation. You can also get it on Adnroid but why would anyone do it if you can get great navigations like Mapfactor Navigator, Be-On-Road or OsmAnd for free. All these navigations with free offline maps for the whole world existed already before the first Windows Phone was released.

            Nokia Here is missing even basic functions like avoiding certain roads or using waypoints. Also their maps are terribly outdated and are missing a lot of details. That is probably why Nokia is trying to sell this division.

          2. I’ve tried all the navigation apps on android and (other than Google maps) Here is probably one of the best. As for OsmAnd, it tried to navigate me in circles every time I used it.

          3. I’m using OsmAnd every week without any problems. And I’ve never seen anyone mentioning such problem in the application mailing list.

  3. There are also plenty of us who still don’t have a mobile data plan…

      1. I would ask that too. How many people own a smartphone without a mobile data plan? They would be pretty useless without a data plan.

        1. Not at all, I have WiFi most of the places I spend any time at and I couldn’t care less about tweeting, updating Facebook or any of that other rubbish if I’m out and about. No cloud storage either, I keep my stuff on MicroSD. I think of it more as a PDA that can make a phone call if it has to.

          So I pay H2o as little as $10 per quarter for the occasional text or important phone call. In other words, in a year I pay less than most people pay for a month of service with a data plan. If I get too many calls where I have to spend a half hour walking someone through a tech support problem I might have to top up early, but most of the time it works out, and I have never spent $50 in a single month like most people’s plan start at.

          Granted it isn’t for everyone. But for those of us with the discipline to avoid wireless data and generally minimize airtime when disconnected from WiFi, it works.

    1. More to the point, there are those of us who would prefer to not use our data for GPS on long trips. Especially if we’re on a pay-for-data plan like Ting.

      1. Google Navigation doesn’t take all that much data, at least with satellite images turned off. Your other apps (email, etc.) may require more data. That was part of my problem with Europe–being afraid to turn on the data connection for fear of what else might download (e.g. the 5.0 update to Android). Not sure if Ting is as bad as Verizon’s Europe data plans–$25 per 100MB!

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