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Best free offline map apps for Android

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 2 months ago

There are a number of reasons why offline maps are a good addition to your smartphone arsenal. For starters, you can't always rely on network access or Wi-Fi. Usually when you want maps, you've found yourself in an area you're not so familiar with which may also have poor reception or none at all. To save you from some weird calamity in far flung regions, these are the best offline maps on Android.

1. Maps.Me - for ease of use

I've been a fan of Maps.Me for years, since back when it was called Maps With Me. Things have only improved since then and Maps.Me is a worthy contender for the title of best offline map app on Android. You don't even have a limited number of country downloads – you can download the entire world if you want to.

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Maps.Me has a nice clean interface and is the easiest to use offline map. / © ANDROIDPIT

Offering free offline global maps based on OpenStreetMap data, Maps.Me has all the essentials covered: clear, easy to read maps (including street numbers) without too much detail, no roaming charges or need for online data transfer, searchable points of interest and addresses, offline navigation, location sharing and more, this app is a one-stop offline map solution. It's also the easiest to use and nicest looking.

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Maps.Me shows street numbers, good detail and offline search and navigation. / © ANDROIDPIT
MAPS.ME –Offline Map & Routing Install on Google Play

2. OSMand - for every detail

I came across OSMand a long time ago and was floored by its offline navigation possibilities. While many offline maps allow routing these days, OSMand has been doing it well for a long time. Based on the same OpenStreetMap data as Maps.Me, OSMand provides the same level of accuracy but in a very different package. If anything, OSMand provides a little too much map data.

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OSMand is a little more complex and detailed. / © ANDROIDPIT

OSMand provides rich offline navigation, including turn-by-turn voice guidance, re-routing and search. OSMand comes in both a free and paid version. The free version limits you to 10 map downloads (one of which must be the world base map) and some map ''add-ons'' like contour lines need to be paid for. Others, like trip recording, audio/video notes and distance calculator simply need to be enabled.

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OSMand shows individual buildings, street numbers and also has offline navigation. / © ANDROIDPIT
OsmAnd Maps & Navigation Install on Google Play

3. City Maps 2Go - for the minimal version

City Maps 2Go is nowhere near as detail-heavy as OSMand, which, admittedly, might be too much map for some folks. City Maps 2Go provides the bare-bones version of offline maps. You won't get as many building outlines or street numbers and you can't zoom in as far as some of the other offerings, but for those that need more of a general reference map than a step-by-step index will appreciate City Maps 2Go.

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City Maps 2Go is more of a reference map than detailed index of a city. / © ANDROIDPIT

City Maps 2Go allows you to search for addresses, points of interest, restaurants and so on, all offline. It doesn't have the offline navigation options some of the others have, but it's is very much tied into Wikipedia and offers more information by default (several other map apps require you to download Wikipedia entries separately).

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City Maps 2Go shows far less detail, but this can be a good thing. / © ANDROIDPIT
City Maps 2Go Offline Maps Install on Google Play

4. Google Maps - for the familiar

Of course, no offline maps list would be complete without mentioning the fact that Google Maps allows you to cache certain map areas for offline usage. You won't be able to cache entire cities and the data will expire after 30 days, but a fully offline Google Maps will appear later in 2015 alongside Android M.

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Once you save a map offline in Google Maps it's as familiar as always. / © ANDROIDPIT

The good news about Google Maps offline is that most people are already very familiar with it and have it on their phones already. All you have to do is go to the map area you want to cache and either type or say ''OK maps'' and then save the amp with a name. You won't have access to offline search and it's pretty slow, but you will have a decent level of map detail, depending on how much you cached.

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3D views in Google Maps are great, but you can't search or navigate offline. Yet. / © ANDROIDPIT
Maps Install on Google Play

5. HERE Maps - for something a little different

Nokia's HERE Maps is a great addition to the Android offline map apps family. Coming from Nokia, it's a very different experience to most Android maps and you'll need to register if you want to download maps for offline use. Once you've done that though, you'll be able to download unlimited free offline maps.

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Nokia's HERE Maps has a very different look to most Android maps apps. / © ANDROIDPIT

HERE offers turn-by-turn navigation, search, satellite and traffic imagery, and altogether just a completely different feel to an offline map. You can even set HERE to stay offline, meaning that even when you are connected to the internet again that it doesn't suddenly start consuming data again. If you're looking for a fresh take on offline maps, especially one that looks very different to the others, give HERE a try.

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Nokia's HERE Maps are very easy to read with offline search and navigation too. / © ANDROIDPIT
HERE Install on Google Play

Bonus tip: Did you know there's quite often offline maps for a specific city in the Play Store too? You can also download zoom-able PDFs for transit, city streets or points of interest for most major travel destinations in the world. They're a great alternative to occasionally rather large offline maps if storage space is at a premium.

Which offline map app do you use? Any we missed?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

8 comments

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  • Achdya Kusumah 2 months ago Link to comment

    i used route 66 navigation lately..i like it

  • Blue Carbon Analog Watch Face 2 months ago Link to comment

    All of them are great help to you especially if you are always on the go and want to avoid hustle and bustle of life in the city.

  • mythicalspace 4 months ago Link to comment

    I prefer to use Google Maps for online navigation and searching locations as it is the best in the world. Its offline maps are not very detailed as they are kept small in file size to minimize downloading times.

    For high detail offline maps, I prefer to use Appxis (www.appxis.com) as it can save high detail offline maps of any place in the world easily and conveniently.

  • Ulmon 11 months ago Link to comment

    You should consider featuring CityMaps2Go in this article. It's the most popular offline map (more than 13.000.000 downloads) and also a complete travel guide for 8.000 cities, packed with millions of POIs and a lot of information. And it's also free :-)

    For more information go to http://ulmon.com

  • Kris Carlon
    • Admin
    • Staff
    Jul 10, 2013 Link to comment

    Google Maps has just released the new update for Android that makes it a very viable inclusion to this collection.

  • r math Jul 9, 2013 Link to comment

    Or you could just save the map on google maps for offline viewing

    • Rahul Patil Feb 5, 2014 Link to comment

      but can we navigate or find something using those offline maps?

      • Kris Carlon
        • Admin
        • Staff
        Feb 5, 2014 Link to comment

        Hi @Rahul, you can't search Google Maps if you've cached a portion of the map for offline viewing, but OsmAnd does let you search offline as well as get voice navigation - brilliant!