Today, smartphones are arguably better navigators than those traditional GPS units that sit on the dashboard, thanks to real-time map updates and an infinitely searchable database. That’s as long as you have internet connection, of course. But what happens when you’re in a remote region here in the States without a signal — or are trying to save cash with no data plan abroad? We rounded up a few downloadable maps that allow for perusal and turn-by-turn routing, even when you’re offline.
Sygic: Available on iPhone, Android, Amazon, and Windows Phone products, this is one of the most robust offline navigation apps on the market. The parent company sells a variety of regional apps. They have some of the most elegant interfaces out there, offering everything you’d expect from a turn-by-turn service. Before you leave, be sure to fully download the most up-to-date maps, so that once you arrive you can use the app on airplane mode as if you were connected. Prices range from $20 for Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau app; $34 for all of Europe; to $70 for global coverage. It’s not the cheapest, but consider that international data roaming can easily cost $80 for a week, anyway, and the app can be used again and again.
Nokia HERE: Nokia’s mapping capabilities are amongst the most sophisticated in the world, with streets for more than 100 countries available for download. We’d recommend this option for those who routinely travel to less popular locales. After all, it’s fairly easy to find an app that’ll handle offline navigation in a place like France or England, but Morocco? That’s tougher. Best of all, HERE is free to download and try, so there’s no harm in giving it a try and seeing if it suits you.
Maps.me: This app, which previously ran $4.99, has recently become free. While it doesn’t support turn-by-turn navigation, it allows you to download street maps of virtually every nation on Earth. Plus, it’s one of the smoothest applications to use offline, with no lag or stuttering that you’ll routinely find elsewhere. The detail is fairly stunning, too, and offline search allows you to find major points of interest without a connection. Plus, you can create bookmarks before you leave, so that they’re easy to spot once you’ve arrived.
Have any other apps that you’d recommend for offline adventuring? Let us know in comments below!