Google Maps is a must have application for Smartphones as it helps you find new places and directions. You need cellular data connection or wi-fi to browse Google Maps on your phone or tablet devices which makes this awesome application not so useful in areas where you don’t have data connection. This is very common issue if you travel a lot in remote areas where there is no mobile tower or connection. In such cases, again the traditional hard-copy map or travel guides comes handy in finding directions and certain locations on maps.
Now Google is planning to provide offline browsing of Google Maps on Android phones which will enable you to search, browse Google Maps even if you don’t have cellular network or data connection. This way you can enjoy the benefits and features of Google Maps even in remote areas. Google is already having offline access feature for application like Gmail using Gears and Google Calendar.
According to the official Google blog,
People have been asking for the ability to use our maps offline on their mobile phones. So today we’re announcing that offline Google Maps for Android are coming in the next few weeks. Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries. This means that the next time you are on the subway, or don’t have a data connection, you can still use our maps.
Google Maps for Android is already having offline capability with limited features and restriction through add-on. You can enable that and enjoy Google Maps offline for certain area (very limited).
Google Maps team announced this upcoming capability of offline browsing, 3D building models (demo video) etc. just before the Apple’s WWDC scheduled for next week. Apple is planning to get rid of Google Maps by launching their own mapping application through iOS 6. According to the rumors and leaks, it seems that Apple Maps is also having 3D mode which enables you to roam around a city and see the building and parks in three dimensions.
Anyway, offline maps on Android phones is definitely a cool feature as it will especially those who don’t have network availability or data connection to find places and directions.
We will have to wait for next few days to see how offline Google Maps work on Android.