Perhaps next time you’re out of range of data connectivity, you’ll be a little less lost.
Google Maps is now rolling out offline search and navigation. Now you can download an area of the world on your mobile device and, if you’re unable to connect to the Internet, you can still search for specific locations, business information, and turn-by-turn directions.
Google Maps downloads searchable locations to your device while on Wi-Fi by default in order to save on data. People can choose how big or how small an area to download, but a spokesperson for Google Maps told the Daily Dot the maximum download size for one map is 2500 MB, or 2.5GB. The company announced the new Maps features at Google I/O earlier this year.
To download a map area, search for the location and tap “Download,” on the place page. There’s also an “Offline Areas” menu you can add to manually by pressing the “+” sign.
Offline Maps will make Google Maps much more useful for many users. Not only will these new features benefit people in parts of the world who have limited or spotty data connectivity, but it will also be hugely helpful when traveling abroad, on road trips, or while doing outdoor activities that take you to the middle of nowhere. (I wish I had this feature the last time my friend and I got lost on top of a mountain.)
Offline Maps capabilities are coming first to the latest version of Android, and soon to iOS.
Illustration by Max Fleishman