Here in the US, I use Google maps all the time on my iPhone, not only for navigating, but to locate myself in the midst of a new-to-me place. (Remembering the days of having to find a corner, and street signs, and pulling out an awkward folded paper map and then searching for that corner among the cross streets….. )
In contrast, today we just look at our phone and the infamous blue dot shows us exactly where we are. The thought of NOT being able to do that on my travels was an inconvenience I was prepared to deal with, but happily did not have to. More on that later…..
City Maps 2Go is a wonderful map app. Before I left, I downloaded a map for every city that I would be visiting. They offer over 6,700 maps from all over the world. Within the app, you simply select the country, the city, and tap “download”. Your maps are collected on a page where all you need to do is tap the one you want and there it is, on your phone … an OFFLINE map to use (like using a paper map)… no data, no cell connection necessary to view your maps. A perfect travel companion.
To add a new map, just tap the plus sign:
Scroll through oodles of countries, tap on any to see a selection of cities to download.
Traveling outside of your own country can be tricky business with your data plan, and this is something you have to monitor carefully (and plan for!) so that you don’t rack up ridiculous charges on your phone.
Therefore, I had my cellular data turned OFF, and so I was fully prepared to use my maps in the old fashioned way, looking for street signs to determine my location.
Imagine my surprise, when I pulled up an offline map in Greenwich, England, and I saw my location on the map, indicated by a blue dot! I was flummoxed …. how could this be?
I instantly wondered if my cellular data was back on, and I momentarily panicked until I checked my settings. Nope, cellular data was OFF…. no data allowed.
So, how was the blue dot finding me? Apparently, I have since learned that the GPS in your iPhone is actively working even without the cellular data.
Some google searching taught me more. Here is what Google says about their offline maps:
“As long as you have GPS activated, you’ll see your location as a blue dot on the map. Note that Wi-Fi and cell-based My Location will not work. Features which require data connection–such as directions and Navigation–aren’t available offline.”
I have not ever tried downloading Google maps for offline viewing since I have been so pleased with City Maps 2Go, however, the point is the same …. the blue dot works, even if you are offline. Yay!
City Maps 2Go is $2.99 in the iTunes store. (occasionally this app is offered for free for a limited time. Seldom, but sometimes)