If two things on the smartphone have become an inseparable part of our lives, I’d say one of them was 3G/Cellular data and the other is Maps on my iPhone.
You just can’t think of an iPhone without a data plan of any kind because most people use iMessage, check emails, connect to social websites and do much more through the network. So, when you go abroad on travel without a good roaming data plan, you’ve got to keep it down to save money.
But then, how would you use Maps when there’s no connectivity? After all, when you are away from your city, the Maps app would be one of the coolest ways to find out POIs, go to places you want to go, find routes to take you there and much more.
That’s where Offline Maps come as a totally useful service. Having offline maps is akin to being online with Maps: although there are certain limitations.
Using Offline Maps
Most offline Maps are made in such a way that you can download or cache a city, a place of interest or a part of the map to your device. This makes it available even when you are not connected to the network. Of course, to download the data, you’ll need to be online.
The Only Downside
Unlike most online maps like MapQuest or Waze (through Safari, because Apple threw Google’s Maps out in iOS 6), offline Maps are usually going to cost you some money. It’s cheap with most of the apps selling for $2.99 or less and if you go on tours frequently, it would be a worthy investment.
Here are some of the best and the most-popular offline map apps for iPhone and iPad:
This is a really simple, neat and clearly focused offline maps app. The best thing about this is that unlike many other apps, there is no in-app purchase: it’s all yours. You just buy this one, select patches to download and it all gets saved to your iPhone.
Much like World Maps offline, this too is a very simple and effective app. With a huge database, this one covers almost every place on earth that you’d want to visit. As an added-advantage, this app also has travel guides which can be quite useful.
City Maps 2Go should actually be on top of this list but then it’s on the list anyway. City Maps 2Go has been voted as one of the finest offline maps by many leading journals and quite a lot of travelers use this. There are over 7800 maps – and the reason we’ve got this third on the list is because the maps are focused on cities across the world – most notably in Europe and the Americas.
MapPocket is yet another cool offline map app which is focused on simple use and it combines data from a variety of really good services like MapQuest, Google Maps and Bing. The best thing about this is that you can try out the Lite version for free before you buy the full-featured one. There’s also this feature of recording maps at various zoom levels at once so you have a complete map support.
Okay, this should have been on top because it’s totally free and does almost everything that the others do – but with one important difference. It works based on cache, which means there’s no concept of downloading maps here. You just take a look at the map which you want to have for offline use and it gets cached at all the zoom levels that you see it on. Read full review of Galileo iPhone app.