Google Maps Lets You Download Areas of the World for Offline Viewing

Chris CrumTechnology

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Google Maps can be quite an incredible tool for people trying to figure out where they're going. For many, it has replaced the traditional GPS navigation system in their vehicles as it offers similar functionality.

Unfortunately, there are times when you just can't get a good connection, and that can really get you into trouble if you have no idea where you are or how to get to your destination. That changes now as Google is now letting Maps users download entire areas of the world so they can access these places whether they have an Internet connection or not.

The functionality was actually first unveiled earlier this year at Google I/O, but it's now gradually rolling out to Android users. iOS will soon follow.

The company explains in a blog post:

Now you can download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity—whether it’s a country road or an underground parking garage—Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly. Whereas before you could simply view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings.

You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping "Download" on the resulting place sheet, or by going to "Offline Areas" in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route. By default, we’ll only download areas to your device when you are on a Wi-Fi connection to prevent large data fees.

Google says it plans to introduce additional offline features for Google Maps, though it doesn't get specific.

Images via Google

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.