In the early days of consumers GPS, you always have an offline copy of the map with you. Mobile internet is not yet available, so you must update the map when connected to your computer or take it to the dealer to update. Direct traffic? Forget it!
Nowadays, almost all of us use smartphones for GPS navigation, and thanks to the ubiquitous mobile internet, we put our maps online. It’s a great time for technology, but there are still times when you need offline GPS navigation.
These nine apps offer free offline GPS services for Android phones and cover everything from driving in the wilderness to hiking in the wilderness.
This is the GPS app you almost certainly already have on your Android phone, but it’s also a great offline GPS solution. You can preload your local area or specific regions so that navigation continues to work when your connection is down.
While you won’t have access to all the great features the cloud has to offer, such as live traffic information, you still get the same Maps app. With walking, cycling, and driving support and an industry-leading interface, this should be most people’s first stop.
You’ve probably never heard of the oddly-named OsmAnd, but the app offers a lot of value for its incredibly valuable free money. The free version of the app allows you to download up to seven maps. Much more and you will have to register.
However, most people won’t need more than a map for their country or region, so that shouldn’t be a huge limitation.
Voice and visual navigation is included, and there are special modes for cycling, walking, hiking, and public transport. The software itself is Open Source, so if you decide to upgrade to the paid or subscription version, it goes towards the open maps project.
Sygic is one of the most popular GPS apps on Android. In fact, this author uses it as a backup when Google Maps can’t get an active connection. Maps can be downloaded for offline use, with turn-by-turn navigation.
There is a paid option on Sygic, but the features exclusive to the paid version are not important to most people. These include HUD mode, dash cam recording, live traffic information and route correction. Only the last one might appeal to the majority, but the premium features are really geared towards drivers who make a living, such as delivery drivers and truckers.
While Sygic feels a bit dated compared to Google Maps, you’ll find a solid and reliable navigation product here, perfect as a backup when the Internet goes down.
Maps.Me not only provides offline GPS map service for Android as an extra feature, but also specializes in offline maps and navigation. With the ability to download worldwide maps when you need them, you can navigate while driving, biking, or walking. All are free, but you have to bear the ads.
Maps.Me has also been enhanced with content from Wikipedia, to give you instant contextual information about locations, and it has suggested itineraries built in. It even looks pretty nice when you don’t have to pay anything to use it.
This app is almost universally recommended by users all over the world and it should definitely be on everyone’s pick list to try before choosing your favorite.
This app from Here Apps is specially designed for city navigation. So you will find more detailed information about, for example, public transport. You can also order a taxi directly from the app or easily get detailed information about attractions.
The route planning is also one of the best for urban commuting we’ve seen. The app will show you the best routes for different modes of transport, including the best routes for bicycles. It also has great walking guides, which will also tell you when and where to switch to public transport.
Of course, the main reason it’s on this list is because of the extra offline maps. The app has just over 100 countries in its list of downloadable maps. It also has public transport information for more than 1,300 cities, so it’s really a must-have for urbanites no matter what type of transport you use.
There are two versions of this GPS app, a free version with ads and then a paid version that has no ads and comes with a few extra features. However, for most people, the free version of Polaris will be more than enough.
Unlike most of the apps on this list, Polaris is not intended to replace apps like Google Maps. Instead, it is a specialized tool for outdoor types. So, if you love hiking in remote places, but don’t like the idea of becoming a missing person statistic, Polaris GPS is a great choice.
There are special hiking, hunting, boating and fishing features and maps. Polaris also offers a compass engine and lots of sensor data to help you survive from civilization. If that sounds like you, download this app today.
Turn-by-turn navigation is a paid option with Genius Maps, but the free version of the software lets you download maps to your device and use them for route planning.
The maps themselves have been praised for their detail and innovative route calculations, but if you don’t want to pay for the professional navigation component of the service, you’ll still need to use another app if You want live traffic updates and turn-by-turn directions.
However, it’s worth comparing the maps Mireo has compiled for Genius Maps with those you’re currently using. You can discover routes and information that you have never seen before.
You will find three different versions of GPS Handy on the Google Play store. The free version, the subscription version, and then the premium version with a prepaid price tag.
The free version does not include offline maps, however it provides basic offline GPS services for Android without internet connection. Specifically, it will show you live data about your position, altitude, speed, direction of travel, etc. You can save your position, log your movements and perform actions Other technical exercises like showing you the location of the GPS satellites.
Handy GPS is really handy, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a pure GPS app and not a guided navigation tool, this could very well do the job. It could appeal to surveyors, explorers, and anyone else who needs access to raw GPS data.
The last app on our list is hugely popular, with over thirty million installs. It uses the same Open Street Map resources as many other free offline GPS apps, but offers an overall package better suited to paid apps.
In fact, the only things you’ll miss out on using the free feature set are alternate routes, HUD modes, and color themes. You’ll also have to put up with some advertising, but that’s roughly par for the course in the world of free maps.
The list of features included is pretty impressive, so the advertising dollars go somewhere. There are 3D modes, points of interest, routing models for different types of vehicles, the option to block certain roads from your navigation, and more.
It’s obvious why this one gets so many installs. With almost a million reviews and an average rating of 4.6 stars, it’s clear that the folks at MapFactor are doing something very right.