Sunday, March 18, 2012

Offline GPS App Provides Walking Directions



There are a lot of different choices for GPS apps if you’re looking for navigation on the highway. From Google Maps to Waze or even some of the more expensive applications like Sygic Navigation. However, while these apps all have their own pros and cons, most of them don’t offer a lot in the way of street navigation and all of them use your phone’s data.

I know I have talked about the fantastic little app MAPS.ME before as it’s my current favorite mapping program for those moments when I’m out and about with friends or family and don’t have my GPS on me. The app is free to download and provides some pretty good maps powered by OpenStreetMap and my phone’s admittedly not the greatest GPS. However, it looks like MAPS.ME recently got a huge upgrade in the form of walking directions.

4Unlike other GPS apps, I think MAPS.ME is one of my favorites because it works 100% offline and doesn’t hit my phone’s data as hard as other apps do. The catch is that you have to download the maps ahead of time and it needs to be done on Wifi as they can be pretty good. However, once that’s done all of the routing and turn-by-turn directions are done offline.

The walking directions provide more specific instructions such as “walk 100 paces and turn left at the big rock” and the like. It can be used both in urban and rural areas, although I admit I haven’t tested it extensively in rural locations yet. Still, personally I find getting lost downtown is far more likely for me than needing directions than in the woods–I don’t feel weird carrying a dedicated handheld unit in the woods, after all. But a pub crawl? Totally different story.

As far as street directions goes, the app is pretty basic and functions much like Google Maps with spoken directions. There are no lane assists or anything that you’d get with a traditional GPS–but for an app, it’s not bad. The routing can be a little odd but panning and zooming around the map to set your own route is pretty simple so I still prefer it–especially if I have a passenger who can read a map.

MAPS.ME is available as a free download for Android and iPhones and is also available on the Amazon App Store. To check out more features or to get more information, you can visit the MAPS.ME website.

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