Whether you are headed to an unknown place within the city or are traveling across the world, Google Maps is definitely one of the most reliable mapping services, one that can easily guide your way through even the most confusing routes. Yes, it is not perfect and can be a little erratic at times but all said and done, nothing even comes close to Google Maps when it comes to virtual mapping of the world.
But, while the application can ensure you find the way to your destination, it generally needs the Internet to do so. Now, there is no way to make sure that your smartphone will be always connected to the internet while traveling (the network could be erratic, roaming charges could be insane, etc.). Once you are offline, the application generally stops working, leaving you stranded — every traveler’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, Google Maps has a feature that can let you use it even without an Internet connection. The app allows you to download a route offline, so that one can refer to it regardless of their Internet connectivity.
This is what you need to do:
Download and Open Google Maps on your smartphone
First things first, you obviously need a Google Maps app on your smartphone to use it, online or offline. If you cannot find the application on your smartphone you can easily download it on your Android and iOS device for free from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively. Once you have downloaded the application, launch it.
While Google Maps does not really require you to sign in with a Google account when you are generally using the application, you would need to sign in if you wish to download a map offline. So, if you do not have a Google account (which is highly unlikely), create one!
Select your destination
Once you have signed in, you can now enter the destination you would like to go to on Google Maps.
Tap on the destination name
Once you are through with entering your destination, you will find the destination name written on the base of your display with a “Directions” icon (and a couple of more icons, if you are using an Android device). Resist the temptation of clicking on the blue icon and tap on the destination name written above it instead -this is a tricky bit because it does not appear as if the destination can be tapped but relax, it can.
Tapping on the destination name will lead you to a new window where you will find some general information about your destination along with four main options in blue, namely, “Directions”, “Save”, “Share Place” and “Download”. Here you have to hit the “Download” icon.
Select the area
Hitting the “Download” article will take you to another screen, which is going to ask you if you want to download a map of that area, showing the area and a region around it in a rectangular box — basically whatever area comes in the highlighted rectangular box gets downloaded. Make sure your starting point is also there in this box. The window will also tell you how much space downloading a certain map will take on your device. Remember, the app only allows you to download a certain section of an area when you are downloading maps offline. So for instance, you want to download the map for the route of New Delhi to Mumbai, you would have to break the maps into pieces and then download them.
Once you are happy with the area that you have selected, you can hit the “Download” icon present on this screen and your map will start getting saved offline. Google Maps usually downloads a map offline over Wi-Fi but you can change that in settings and allow your device to download the maps over a mobile network too, if required.
Head to your destination…and forget the Internet
Just use your Google Maps normally and ask for directions to your destination – relax, it will work irrespective of the Internet status. Just remember that the downloaded region’s map will stay on your device for a year, after which you will need to update it or download it again. No, there’s no payment involved. Enjoy.
Traveller’s Tip: Using Google’s offline maps consumes a lot of battery as the application uses the GPS functionality of the phone, without any information from the Internet. Also you will not get traffic information when you use the phones in offline mode!