If you’ve ever been off the beaten path, you’ve probably thought about buying a GPS device too. Finally you can find your way in the wilderness without a cell phone or the internet. But what many don’t know is that you can also navigate with the Google Maps app without internet or cell reception. It even worked great for us in Namibia this year. The so-called Google Maps offline maps are stored on the device and help with navigation. Either with GPS reception or manually without – analogous to a paper map. How this works, we explain to you in this article.
In this article:
Download Google Maps App
No matter if you have an Android smartphone, an iPhone or a tablet: Download the Google Maps app from the respective app store (Android: Play Store, iOS: App Store), if you don’t already have it on your device. When the download is done, then open the app.
Select the section of the Google Maps offline maps
Let’s take the example that you want to download areas in Namibia. Navigate there either manually on the map or enter "Namibia" in the search. Then click on the menu at the top left (three dashes on top of each other) and select "Offline maps" there. Now click on "Custom Map" at the very bottom until you get to the "Download Map" screen?"you get to the.
You can now move the map section or zoom in or out. Unfortunately there is a maximum size for Google Maps offline maps, which you will see as soon as you zoom out further. But don’t worry, you can store several offline maps on the device and thus also larger sections resp. Download whole countries.
Once you have selected the section, you will see below how much memory the map is expected to take up on your smartphone or tablet. In addition, you will also see how much space you generally still have free on your smartphone or tablet. If everything is ok, you can click "Download" to start downloading Google Maps offline maps.
You will now see that the map is being downloaded. Depending on your WLAN speed this may take a while now. At the bottom of the screen you can see what percentage of the map is already stored on your smartphone or tablet.
Rename or delete Google Maps offline maps
If you have many maps stored on your device, you can now rename them in the upper right corner. Click on the pencil and give it a name. Click "Save" to assign the new name to the map.
As soon as the map has been downloaded successfully, you can remove it from the device by clicking "Delete". This makes sense especially if you z. B. need more space for photos. Google Maps deletes the maps but otherwise after 30 days also automatically from your device again. After a vacation, you may well forget to take the cards down again and then be surprised that the machine is almost full.
Navigating with Google Maps Offline
The maps are now on your device. If you now set your smartphone or tablet to airplane mode, you should also be able to navigate between two points of your selected downloaded section. So search for a city and take as destination another one in the section. When you are done, start the navigation. Google should now start with the announcement of the way. Pretty cool or?
Even if the Google Maps Offline are quite handy and have served us well in many a situation, we still recommend that you have a paper map with you. On the one hand, your phone can always get lost or give up the ghost and on the other hand, the battery is also empty at some point – and a power outlet is not always within reach. Then a paper card can become important.
We can tell you an anecdote about navigating with an offline map: When we were on the road in Saxon Switzerland, we suddenly had no GPS reception anymore and it got noticeably darker. Finally we wandered for hours in the dark over hill and dale in the middle of the forest until we found a place where we could orientate ourselves again. Phew, at that time we were quite under power. Today we just have to laugh about it&