I use Google Maps almost daily. Whether it be to scope out the quickest route to get somewhere or just to figure out where exactly I am when I’m visiting a new area, it’s an indispensable tool that I’ve come to rely on. But I often find myself in situations where I either have no cell or Wi-Fi reception or would incur huge roaming costs, and Google Maps becomes impractical to use. However, there are a few ways that you can get your maps offline so that you don’t need to consume data each time you want to look at them. Update: Video tutorial added.
To make a map available for offline viewing open Google Maps and search for your desired location. Once you've found the location/area you want to save for later, type “OK Maps” in the search bar, or tap the microphone icon and say "OK maps", or tap the search bar and hit "save map to use offline". Here's a video for you more visual types:
This will prompt you to save the map, and you can pan or zoom the view so that it displays all of the information you require. Unlike a mere screenshot, the maps can be zoomed into, so even if you can't see all of the street names or detail in the widest view, they will still be available after you've saved the screenshot.
Another way of saving maps is to tap and hold on a location and the Google Maps red pin will drop there. After that, scroll up from the address at the bottom and "save map to view offline" will be available for you to select.
Once you have saved the file to your device, click on the 'person' icon and it will take you to your profile page. Now even when you are now connected to Wi-Fi/roaming data you will be able to access that map under "offline maps".
A downloaded map doesn’t require a huge amount of space, in fact. New York, for example, took up only 13 megabytes when completely downloaded. However, just for the sake of saving data, you might just want to be connected to Wi-Fi before you start downloading all the maps that you want.
There are some limitations to the functionality of the offline maps, mostly to do with the size of the location you’re looking for. For example, New York and surrounding areas would be a bit too much for just one cached file and you will receive a message saying it can't be saved. In this scenario, it would need to be broken into smaller, surrounding areas. Also, offline navigation is not available, nor is the ability to conduct a search within the offline map file. The maps you download will be stored for thirty days and after this they are automatically deleted, so don't presume they will last forever.
The online functionality of Google Maps obviously cannot be replaced, but for those who are on the go and travel quite a bit, this may provide a small solution to the problem of always attempting to find a cell reception area or a place where you can leech a Wi-Fi signal. As well, just having a portable offline version of a map is always indispensable, especially when exploring a new area.
Does this work for you?