Google added map downloads, offline navigation and other capabilities to the most recent version of its maps software Google Maps.
I'm still looking for a travel app for my trip to Asia next January that allows me to download maps to the device in advance so that I can use the mapping app even if I don't have access to Internet.
The new capabilities were reason enough to take another look at Google Maps.
Please note that you need Google Maps version 9.17 for Android. The update rolls out gradually to all users which means it may take a while before you get it on your device. The new features are enabled from the server side which means that even if you have version 9.17 of the app, you may not have access to some or even all of the new features.
How to download map data on Google Maps (old way)
The feature is somewhat hidden and not easily discoverable at all. Here is what you need to do to download maps for offline usage.
The new Google Maps on Android highlights downloads for offline use so that it is less likely that you will overlook the functionality.
The option to download maps for offline access is welcome and helpful, for instance if you are in an area with bad mobile reception or don't want to use mobile data at all in a location.
You may notice however that some areas are not available which may limit the usefulness of the feature depending on where you need it.. I tried Tokyo, Bangkok and Peking and all three are not available while Berlin and San Francisco are.
That's rather unfortunate as I cannot use Google Maps for my Asian trip because of it. Google's explanation for that is the following:
Downloading offline areas isn't available in some regions because of contractual limitations, language support, address formats, or other reasons.
Now You: Which map software are you using?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.