Google just announced that Offline Google Maps and offline turn by turn navigation are now going to be available. While this is going to be hugely important for areas in the world with unreliable or extremely slow connections there are a lot of reasons why it is important for areas where connections are plentiful. Several of those reasons really stuck out to me.
Since the announcement of Android Auto the single largest prohibitory factor for adoption is mobile connection consistency. Android Auto uses your phones signal to run the apps on the dash display of a compatible car radio unit. This includes Google Maps and Navigation, two functions that are a huge selling point for Android Auto.
So how does this announcement and this functionality work together? Google just solved the problem of functionality (reliable Google Maps and Navigation) with the announcement (Offline Maps/Turn-by-Turn Navigation).
When taking road trips to anywhere that is not directly off of the U.S. Interstate System there is a great possibility that you will lose reception at some point. Luckily for most of us that break is service is rare and usually short in duration. Having the ability to cache your entire route for offline use and turn by turn navigation is huge. Gone are the days of getting hung up if you miss a turn as your route could not “re-calculate” and give you new directions. You will be able to continue, full use of search, routing, and re-routing throughout the trip. This also works well for those in the transportation business.
There is nothing more aggravating than being near a location, missing a turn, and not having reception to even call the potential client or customer to get back on track. This is something I experienced when I was driving in rural South Carolina delivering a mattress from my business in 2013. I lost reception about 10 minutes before I got there and while the GPS kept me on track most of the way there was an accident that prevented me from making a turn. I had to use the phone of a complete stranger, a super nice young lady, and call the customer for an update. I was able to make it to the customer and sell him the mattress but I was lost, without reception, or a map, to find my way around. Google has now solved this problem as well because I will be able to still use the search feature in Google Maps.
The other side of transportation is passenger transportation. In areas like rural South Carolina there are a lot of companies that utilize government services and medical services to move patients around. This will allow for companies to begin to rely on Android Auto (with compatible phones of course) and not just stand alone GPS units. As an Uber driver there have been times where a rider’s drop off point has been outside of Uber’s market. This has required me to go briefly without reception. They were awake and alert the entire ride but I have had riders that were rather inebriated and have actually passed out during rides. Now by caching the maps for cities around Columbia, SC I am going to be covered whether I have a connection or not.
Finally the question of “How do I save a Map Offline?”
Follow these screenshots and you are good to go! What are some other uses for Offline Google Maps and Navigation that will work in your life?