Google Maps: No internet, no problems

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. On a recent outing to a remote area, my smartphone's Google Maps app stopped functioning because we drove out of range for internet and cellphone service. Is there a reasonable solution to this type of problem?

A. The Google Maps app provides options for saving sections of maps to your smartphone before you venture to remote areas. The easiest way to do this is to first log in to your Google account, display the section of map you want to save offline, enter OK Maps in the map's search box, and then click the Search button. This action will display the Save this map? option, as pictured below, to the left.

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To complete the process, select Save in the bottom-right corner, enter a name for the map when prompted (Carlton's Motorcycle Trip to Dahlonega in this example, as pictured above to the right), and click Save. The result will be a zoomable offline map saved to your smartphone's screenshot folder (or the Your Places folder) that is then available even in the absence of internet or cellphone service. (Note: The resulting zoomable offline map will not allow you to generate driving directions, and the Google Maps app automatically removes offline maps from your phone after 30 days.)

As alternatives, several offline mapping apps are available for free download, including the Offline maps & Navigation and MAPS.ME apps pictured at the top of the next column.

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The Offline maps & Navigation app allows you to download maps by state (as pictured below to the left), and the resulting offline map provides navigation tools for plotting a specific trip, an example of which is pictured below to the right.

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About the author

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor. Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2013, 2010, and 2007 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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