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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Google Maps and Offline Navigation

imageby Chris Guld,
I recently heard about a new way to download Google Maps so they are accessible offline. I’ve used offline Google Maps before, but we couldn’t search or navigate. It’s search and navigate that makes Google Maps so useful! Now, I’m reading that maps saved offline can be used for search and navigation. Hooray! So, I immediately opened my Google Maps to try it. It didn’t work. I couldn’t find the “Download” button anywhere and that is what the instructions told me to use.

Update Google Maps to get Offline Navigation

Ooops, I hadn’t yet updated my Google Maps app to the latest release. Once I did that, the offline map feature was available. To do the update, you go to the Play store on an Android device, tap Menu, then My Apps. Any apps that have an update waiting will be listed at the top. Tap the App, then tap Update, then OK to accept necessary permissions.

Our last trip where we were often offline was the UK. So I tried searching for London, UK –> tap on London, UK at the bottom of the screen, the next screen shows a “Download” button and an outline of the size of the map section that I can download. I can get all of London, but not all of England in the downloaded map. It’s a large download, you need to use free Wi-Fi or at least be aware of the data that will be used. While you have the blue outline on the screen you can expand and adjust the part of the map that is being saved. Notice there is also info on how large the download will be. For Colorado, I can get the whole state from East to West, as a slice along I70. That download will be 1.5 GB. If I just capture the Denver area, it’s 500 MB.

So then, I searched for Havana, Cuba because that is where our next trip is! No Download button appeared. Ok, what did I do wrong this time? A little more research and I found the small print, “Downloading offline areas isn't available in some regions because of contractual limitations, language support, address formats, or other reasons.” Darn! Cuba must be one of those areas.
But, next time we find ourselves exploring roads thru the Rocky mountains, you can bet we’ll download the offline map and we will have Google Maps Search and Navigation available even when we don’t have a data connection.

wdtbdadiPhone and iPad Google Map Features “coming soon”

The ability to search and navigate offline is first rolling out to the Android version, the iOS version has been announced, but is not yet available.

Want to Learn More?

Episode #14: Doing Updates

Episode #26: Google Maps

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Highway Travelers–Learn what Facilities are Available at the Next Exit

iExit LogoWe are fulltime RVers, and this past week we’ve had to travel cross-country, starting in Nevada and ending near Washington, D.C. It’s no surprise that we’ve stayed on the Interstates most of that trip, so we decided to check out iExit ( If you’re familiar with the book “Next Exit” you know the basic concept, a listing of all services available at each Interstate Exit. Now, put that on an iPhone/iPad or Android device so that it knows where you are, make it easy to simply tap on an Exit number to show all the details, and you have an extremely useful app.

Campgrounds are Listed

I expected to get good info on gas stations and restaurants, what I didn’t expect is to get nearby campgrounds as well. I have been using Allstays RV and Camp for most of our campground-locating needs, but, on this trip we were interested only in campgrounds that were very close to the Interstate Exits. iExit came thru.
The App
Now, if it would only combine the GasBuddy price information, I’d be all set! Such a bother to have to switch back and forth between apps! Woe is me.