How to create and save an offline Google map on your iPad

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Offline-Google-Map-iPad

I don’t know about you, but in my line of work, I often find myself off the beaten path in the middle of nowhere. In times like these it’s super helpful to have maps that I can still reference, even without an active internet connection.  For the most part, if you don’t already have the poor coverage area pre-loaded in your map program, you won’t have the ability to interact with the map.  This can be a huge inconvenience when I am trying to pin-point specific particular lat & long coordinates.

I really wanted to be able to accomplish this in Apple Maps.  However, after some searching around, I just couldn’t figure out how to make it happen, nor could I determine if it is even a possibility.  No worries, though, Google Maps is a perfectly good alternative, and even a preference for many iPad users.  Just in case it’s not already obvious, though, you will need to have an iPad capable of connecting to a data service (LTE + Wi-fi) in order to track your location on a saved offline map, since the Wi-fi only versions do not have built in GPS.

Offline-Google-Maps-Your_Places

To create an offline Google map on your iPad first–launch Google maps.  Next, in your current location view, click on the three stacked lines in the upper left corner.  This will open your map settings where you will be able to select Your Places.  Once opened, all your saved locations will be listed.  When you scroll to the bottom of your list (if you even have any saved locations) you will see the option to save a new offline map.

Save-a-new-Offline-Google-Map

Once selected, you can zoom out to capture the maximum extent of the content you wish to save in your view. If you pan out too far, the save button will become inactive, and you will have to zoom in a little further.  After you have the map view you wish to save, you can now name the offline map for future recall.

Offline-Google-Map

As an added bonus, Google will prompt you to update your map ~once/month–which is especially nice to keep track in areas of more active development and sprawl.  Of note, though, the offline maps that you create and save are a “snapshot” of sorts, and by definition cannot be searched or used for directional instruction.  You can, however, still pan and zoom around the map–which, for me, is the most important feature I use anyway.

Save-Offline-Google-Map


Renkman

Son of the Windy City, and proud Father to two awesome boys. Rob is a displaced Chicago Bears fan living in the Orlando Florida area. When not obsessing about everything Apple, he can usually be found outside boating across Florida's natural resources and taking the road less traveled.

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4 thoughts on “How to create and save an offline Google map on your iPad”

  1. That’s a cool feature I didn’t know about. I’ve been known to save a screen capture, just to have that one view later.

    Of course, as soon as I tried this, I couldn’t figure out how to delete my test map. The in-map help advised me to go to My Places as you do to create the map, scroll down to your Saved Maps, and just below those is View All and Manage – touch that to view all, then the three dots to the right ofo the map you want to Delete (or Update) and go.

  2. I think that you’re completely wrong about Apple Maps’ off-line capabilities: firstly, regarding its caching of maps, and secondly, regarding its ability to track GPS location when not connected to wifi or 3G. I use Maps all the time when travelling overseas, pre-loading the area I’m going to travel when connected to wifi, then using GOS for my roaming when I’m off-line. It works faultlessly. For the technical explanation behind this, go to http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/10/05/apples-new-ios-6-maps-support-automatic-offline-use-for-a-wide-area.

    1. Thanks for your comment, David. You may have missed it, but I said in the very first paragraph that you had to have your maps pre-loaded in Apple Maps in order to be able to navigate and use off-line maps. In addition, the WiFi models of the iPad do not have GPS, regardless of whether it has a WiFi connection. WiFi can provide limited geo location by using the known location of nearby WiFi access points, but that is not GPS by any means–and it most certainly will not give you true navigation. The Apple Maps app uses passive GPS modes when there is no constant Wifi or cellular signal, so if you pre-loaded your map or route, you can track your location on your pre-loaded map.

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