Monday, February 6, 2017

Using Google Maps offline

Quick and dirty tutorial on downloading and searching coordinates on Google Maps. It's not totally intuitive, and it's changed recently.

This guide is written for Android, though iPhone I would hope is similar.

Open the Google Maps app. Tap the 3 horizontal lines in the upper left of the app (I've heard this symbol called the 'Hamburger')

Touch the 'Offline Areas' menu option
Touch 'Custom Area'.
Use the box to download a selected area. Pinch to zoom or expand the area as needed. Touch 'Download'
Watch the progress of the download.
Once the area is completely downloaded, you can test the process by going to your phones settings and putting it in 'Airplane' Mode, even in airplane mode the GPS should still work (if not, go to the settings option 'Location' and turn just that option back on). Search for a known GPS coordinate within your downloaded area, and it should display on the Map. Even without cell service you can use maps!

While this doesn't give you turn by turn navigation, it does give you the ability to search coordinates.

Other mapping software uses similar methods for offline use of maps. Personally, I have the paid version of Gaia GPS, which has USGS maps, as well as some open source hiking trail maps.