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offline maps androidNot long ago, Chris covered three of the best offline GPS apps The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android Google Navigation for Android is one of the best map solutions you can get in the palm of your hand, but what if you don’t have a data connection? Whether you’re traveling abroad, using a... Read More available on Android. Since then, many other GPS apps released or received major updates. Do these newcomers compare favorably with those reviewed by Chris?

To answer this question, I evaluate the apps based on four criteria – first, how effective is the app at helping users navigate offline? Second, what are its top features? Third, how data efficient is the app? Fourth, is the paid version worth purchasing?

Maps With Me Lite

Effectiveness: Maps With Me feels much faster than most of the other navigation apps. However, it does not provide turn-by-turn directions or route guidance of any sort. You’re forced to determining which route to take. I would recommend Maps With Me for foot traffic.

Top Features: The ability to download maps by region gives Maps With Me an edge over navigation apps that don’t provide access to larger map databases. It also includes GPS location functionality, so it’s not very difficult finding your way around.

offline maps android

Efficiency: Maps With Me Lite on first run requires that you download 51.7 MB of data. It also offers the option of downloading the map of your surrounding region. It’s the second most data efficient out of all the apps available.

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Pay: The paid version of Maps With Me adds two main features: a location searching component, which permits you to find locations on the map through text input, and a “bookmarking” feature which allows you to geotag regions with a marker. Unfortunately, at $4.99, Maps With Me Pro might be a tad overpriced, particularly compared to ForeverMap 2.

ForeverMap 2 – Offline Maps

Effectiveness: ForeverMap 2 doesn’t provide turn-by-turn directions, although it does give route guidance and it can search for locations. As a fast, easily accessible map for overseas travel, ForeverMap offers a great deal of utility, although it is overall a very Spartan experience with relatively few features.

Features: Maps With Me virtually offers the same features as ForeverMap. However, ForeverMap stands out by offering route guidance and a highly detailed search feature. One of its more interesting features is the ability to go offline without turning off your wireless radios. Simply tap the red dot in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and your phone toggles between on and offline modes.

offline maps android gps

Efficiency: ForeverMap by default attempts to download maps for the entire contiguous 50 US states, which takes up 1.5 gigabytes. You can select each individual state, although unselecting 50 individual check-boxes can prove a laborious task. The California map alone fell within the 200 megabyte ballpark.

Pay: At less than a US dollar, ForeverMaps provides stiff competition for Maps With Me. However, on the downside, there’s no free version. If you feel comfortable with Google’s 15 minute refund grace period, then try the app out. If not, Map With Me should give you a good idea of what this app is capable of.

Google Maps Offline Update

Google Maps is now available offline, although Google didn’t make this feature particularly obvious.

After its most recent update, Google Maps finally offers some form of offline guidance. Unfortunately, the guidance doesn’t offer full turn-by-turn directions. For example, if you miss a turn, and venture into territory not stored by the application, you will no longer receive full turn-by-turn directions.

By the way, in case you have interest in taking Google Maps offline, check out GMapCatcher or, for a physical hardcopy, try Google Maps Buddy Take Google Maps Offline & Get Maps You Can Print using Google Maps Buddy Take Google Maps Offline & Get Maps You Can Print using Google Maps Buddy Read More . Also, be sure to go through Chris’s ten tips for Google Maps Get There Faster - 10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips Get There Faster - 10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips Google Maps is still the most powerful mapping service ever, despite what Apple might say. Whether you’re using Google Maps in a browser on your desktop or an app on your mobile phone, Google Maps... Read More . I found it extraordinarily useful.

First, when you have an active data connection, open up the maps application and click on the settings icon in the lower right hand side of the screen. Second, in the context menu that pops up, choose make available offline. In this window, simply move the framed region to encompass the region where you want to save the map offline.

offline maps android

Effectiveness: Out of all the offline maps apps, Google Maps offers the greatest effectiveness. It’s both extremely fast and loaded with outstanding features.

Features: The primary features of Google Maps are its layers – most importantly its ability to predict traffic – and its route guidance capabilities. To date, no third party app matches the raw power of the Gmaps app. Unfortunately, none of its standout features function properly in offline mode, other than turn-by-turn directions. Turn-by-turn only works if you stay within the region of the map that was cached to your phone’s storage.

Simply put, if you miss a turn while offline, Google Maps will not reroute as it usually does.

Efficiency: Google Maps offers the most data efficient offline mapping feature out of all the apps available. Creating an offline map of my city only took 2 megabytes. However, I’m told that offline maps are stored in the cache, which means they are eventually destroyed, requiring that you periodically redownload the offline map.

Pay: If Google Maps charged for its service, I would pay for it. The fact that it’s free means most of the other paid navigation apps are overcharging.

Conclusion

The best offline navigation app for Android remains Google Maps, provided that you use the app within a major Western country. In other locales, or if turn-by-turn directions aren’t important, a dedicated offline map application should better fulfill your needs. For this specific purpose, I recommend ForeverMap 2 because of its inexpensive price and solid search capabilities. It compares favorably in some ways to the extremely well put-together MapDroyd, which Chris reviewed The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android The Top 3 Free Offline GPS Apps For Android Google Navigation for Android is one of the best map solutions you can get in the palm of your hand, but what if you don’t have a data connection? Whether you’re traveling abroad, using a... Read More .

For more reading pertaining to using offline travel guides and maps, check out my review of three offline apps Hitchhike Your Way Around The Internet With Three Free Apps [Android] Hitchhike Your Way Around The Internet With Three Free Apps [Android] Everyone who has heard, seen or read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy remembers the eponymous Guide, a source of vast and questionable knowledge, which bailed out or confused the travelers, time and again. You... Read More that are out of this world.

Image Credits: Maps via MorgueFile.com

  1. Andrei
    May 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    For Eastern an more Western and Central Europe more popular Gps apps (with turn directions,points of interests,and alternative routing ) are Navigon,Sygic Aura and many others.
    You need those feature two lower fuel consumption,rich POI for traveling .The interface is more user friendly,and easer to create tracks for your travels.
    Here you have what I think might be 4-5 alternatives wich gives you best routes,and many other features : http://gizpoint.com/5-best-gps-apps-for-android/

    • Kannon Yamada
      May 15, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Thanks Andrei! I'll be sure to give those apps a looksie!

  2. Aleksandra Huey
    March 12, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you for this article. I'll finally be able to carry map with me on my tablet witch only has Wi-fi

  3. Steve Wenzel
    March 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you for this article. It is surprising how many dead spots there are in Los Angeles and this information is very helpful

  4. macwitty
    March 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks for information about Google maps offline. As you say they have not make this feature particularly obvious - I haven't seen it but will try it out now

  5. Palina Kavalchuk
    March 12, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I use MapsWIthMe Pro
    It has a lot features, offline search and bookmarks are very useful)

  6. null
    March 12, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Yes, I know about this app!
    Use it all the time while travelling.
    Yesterday bought Pro version and more than satisfied)

  7. Nevzat Akkaya
    March 12, 2013 at 7:18 am

    I'm in the need of a good map app, for one. Thanks for this valuable article.

  8. jeh
    March 12, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Osmand deserves a review for being one of the best offline nav apps...

    • Alberto Lerma
      March 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      And it's open source!!

    • Kannon Yamada
      March 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks jeh! I've been evaluating this one over the past few days. It's so far easily the best offline GPS app I've had a chance to use yet. The offline component is comparable to Google Maps.

      I haven't had time yet to look at the paid version, but it's looking like a really good buy. Thanks so much for they heads up!!

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